Why we need to stop fak­ing con­fi­dence

Quit with the doubt­ing and start be­liev­ing: con­fi­dent women are made, not born, says Mor­gan Rear­don

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

I HAVE a con­fes­sion to make: I’m of­ten the fak­est gal in a room. Not in the boob job, Botox, Bar­bie kinda way (al­though no dis­re­spect if you are). I say ‘fake’ be­cause the out­ward con­fi­dence I’m ooz­ing and care­free na­ture I por­tray is re­ally a com­plete front; in­side I’m freak­ing out and sec­ond­guess­ing ev­ery­thing, from my out­fit choice and my hair­style to whether or not any­one no­ticed me grab­bing that third arancini ball.

And it’s not just me. When I brought this is­sue up with my friends, most of them

ad­mit­ted they’re guilty of it, too. Turns out they’ve been fak­ing it in the of­fice, on dates, in in­ter­views… even at par­ties and fam­ily events. Why, ladies, why?

Ever since we were lit­tle, we’ve been told to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. I’m sure the peo­ple who fed us this lit­tle pearl of wis­dom had the best in­ten­tions but, un­for­tu­nately, some­where along the way, some­body for­got to teach us how to ac­tu­ally feel it.

‘In­stead of telling peo­ple to fake it, I al­ways pre­fer to tell them to make it,’ says per­for­mance trans­for­ma­tion ex­pert Dr Vesna Grubace­vic (Qt­trans­for­ma­tion.com). ‘I be­lieve the only thing that dif­fer­en­ti­ates a highly con­fi­dent and suc­cess­ful per­son from some­one who isn’t is what each of them think of them­selves.

‘If you’re go­ing to use your en­ergy to achieve some­thing, you may as well use it wisely – it takes a lot of en­ergy to pre­tend to be, or feel, some­thing you’re not.’

Stop be­ing so faux

It seems our ef­fort to fake it is do­ing more harm than good. In a re­cent global beauty and con­fi­dence re­port*, four out of five girls said they weren’t con­fi­dent and, of the 13 coun­tries sur­veyed, Aus­tralia ranked 11th on the self­es­teem scale. News­flash: con­fi­dence fak­ers – like my­self – come in all dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes – and they’re im­pos­si­ble to sin­gle out. Even the women you’re look­ing to for in­spo on so­cial me­dia can be crip­pled with self­doubt be­hind their sup­posed picture­per­fect feed. Ac­tress and well­ness blog­ger Cleo Massey, 24 (Pas­saround thesmile.com), landed her first ma­jor act­ing gig on TV show H20: Just Add Wa­ter in 2006, but de­spite ap­pear­ing to have it all to­gether, she was the tar­get of cruel on­line bul­lies who broke her con­fi­dence.

‘On the show, I played a bratty, con­fi­dent, pre­co­cious char­ac­ter, but peo­ple didn’t seem to re­alise that it wasn’t me; I was just act­ing,’ says Massey, who has a 40k­strong In­sta fol­low­ing. ‘My feed is a snap­shot of my life and, just like most peo­ple, I share the best and hap­pi­est parts. This makes peo­ple think I’m pos­i­tive and con­fi­dent 24/7. But I’m not. We all have mo­ments of self­doubt and in­se­cu­rity, and that’s OK.’

Listen up, ladies!

So can you ac­tu­ally learn how to be con­fi­dent? ‘Ab­so­lutely,’ says Dr Grubace­vic. ‘The num­ber­one way women sab­o­tage their con­fi­dence is be­ing too judge­men­tal of them­selves. They need to learn to be kin­der to them­selves, love them­selves and be their own best friend.’

I’ve tried that morn­ing pep talk in the mir­ror, but it’s yet to give me enough con­fi­dence to ap­proach that cute boy at the bar at af­ter work drinks – be­fore I’ve had some liq­uid courage, that is.

‘When you look in the mir­ror, fo­cus on who you see rather than what you see. And point out your pos­i­tive qual­i­ties, your strengths and your skills in­stead of what weight you are, what you think you should look like or where you think you should be on the ca­reer lad­der,’ says Dr Grubace­vic. ‘Learn to ac­cept com­pli­ments from oth­ers and your­self – and feel good about ac­cept­ing them.’

It’s time to make nice

Here’s the clincher: we need to stop wor­ry­ing so much!

‘Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search, peo­ple who worry about work­place re­jec­tion or sab­o­tage can bring it upon them­selves; it can be­come self­ful­fill­ing. Other stud­ies found peo­ple who fo­cused on mak­ing good things hap­pen were less likely to suf­fer from anx­i­ety than those who fo­cused on pre­vent­ing bad things from oc­cur­ring,’ says Dr Grubace­vic.

The take­away? Con­fi­dence be­gins and ends with you. So if no one is cheer­ing you on, be your own cheer­leader.

‘I found my con­fi­dence when I learnt to love my­self. You have to ac­cept your­self for who you are be­fore you can start at­tract­ing new and ex­cit­ing things into your life,’ re­flects Massey.

Dr Grubace­vic agrees: ‘Our con­fi­dence de­pends on the re­la­tion­ship we have with our­selves. The greater the belief in your­self and your worth, the greater your level of con­fi­dence in your­self and your abil­i­ties.’

Turns out there isn’t any se­cret to it, af­ter all. Now, don’t mind me while I book a solo va­cay to work on this…

‘IF NO ONE IS CHEER­ING YOU ON, BE YOUR OWN CHEER­LEADER’

CON­FI­DENCE 101: WAVE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE!

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