Struggling in your love life robs you of confidence.
Whether you’re single and wish you were happily coupled, or you’re in a relationship that’s hurting, you start to wonder if you’re defective.
You torture yourself with comparisons to other women who are younger, thinner or shapelier. You may even attack yourself and your looks with harsh criticism.
You fear that you’re never going to be loved the way you want to be, or be able to shut off the fears in your head about how love is a competition that you’re losing.
Self-doubt creeps in and camps out in your head.
Whether you’ve been cheated on or fear you will be, that insecurity is like a compulsion that’s hard to shake, especially when other people tell you to, “Just believe in yourself!” or, “Believe you’re worth it!” or, “Just be yourself!”
How in the world do you do that, anyway?
Here are 6 specific ways to become secure and confident.
1. Choose The Outcome You Want
Focusing on the words that describe what I want instead of what I don’t want has improved my feeling of inner strength immeasurably.
Let’s take the name of this blog as an example.
So many women have written to me asking how they can “stop feeling insecure” that I wanted to write on that topic.
But this blog’s title doesn’t sit well with me because “Stop Being Insecure” is focusing on insecurity, which is not what anybody wants.
What we all want is to feel more secure. So a much better title would be, “How to Be Secure and Confident,” for example.
See the difference?
Saying to yourself, “I don’t want him to cheat on me,” is focusing on what you don’t want. What you focus on increases. Saying, “I want to be trusting,” is focusing on what you want.
Wanting to make sure the kids don’t hurt themselves becomes wanting the kids to be safe and healthy.
Not wanting to gain weight becomes wanting to stay fit.
You get the idea.
2. Master Something You Love
Marie’s husband had an affair and told her he was leaving her.
Her worst fear came to life.
Instead of resigning herself to a divorce, she committed to becoming her best, happiest self, including doing things she loved to make herself happy.
That meant getting out her paints and easel again. It meant exhibiting her paintings. It meant putting herself up for critique and feedback so she could improve.
Marie described it as massive self-care that brought her both joy and a sense of mastery. That gave her inner strength.
Painting occupied her mind with brush techniques and color combinations instead of self-pity and fear of the future.
Being good at something gives you confidence.
The impact on her relationship was that her confidence showed, which made her more attractive–and her husband noticed. Some of their first communication after he left was him wishing her well on her exhibits, then coming to see her art for himself.
That was the beginning of their reconciliation–all because she was painting again and feeling good about it.
Instead of telling yourself to stop being a certain way, taking small steps toward becoming good at something you love gives you a happy distraction to focus on.
3. Ask Yourself These Questions
One of the hallmarks of insecurity is wondering what someone else thinks of you–whether he likes you or thinks you’re fat or that you just said something stupid.
Of course, we all do that at times.
But here’s what confident people do that’s completely different: instead of wondering what someone else is thinking, they ask questions about themselves.
My favorite two questions to ask myself are, “How do I feel?” and, “What do I want?”
So let’s say you’ve started wondering if someone is getting irritated with you or is upset about something you did, as often happens when you’re feeling insecure.
In the moment you find yourself wondering what someone else is wanting or feeling, turn your attention to yourself and inquire there instead.
One woman was tired of trying to get her husband to snap out of his bad mood. It never worked, anyway.
So when he came home grumpy again, she asked herself how she felt and what she wanted, and wandered off to the backyard to do some gardening, leaving him to grumble to himself.
She was singing to herself when, much to her surprise, her husband came out to join her with his gardening gloves.
4. Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help
I explain all about receiving here, and it’s the fastest way I know to become more confident and self-assured, as well as 10X more attractive.
It’s simple, but can be challenging to do. With practice, it gets easier and even habit-forming.
5. Know Your Limits
Growing up, I learned that nice people were loved, and that the way to be a nice person was to do things for others.
The more I did things for others, the more they would love me, was my understanding.
Of course, that didn’t work.
For one thing, I was already loveable before I did anything for anybody. I overlooked that reality in my search for ways to make sure I had earned enough points to avoid being abandoned.
Another reason it didn’t make me loveable is that I quickly got overwhelmed and resentful of the very people I wanted love from.
I would crash full-speed into my own energy limits in the process, still paddling as hard as could and end up hating pretty much everybody.
I’d be full of rage, acting horribly to loved ones and unlucky bank tellers I didn’t even know.
Then, after behaving so badly, I’d feel terrified that I’d be abandoned and alone.
After all, who would want to live with someone who flips her lid like that?
It was awful.
Fortunately, I don’t do that anymore. Phew!
I describe how I permanently cured my rageoholism here.
The phrase that’s helped me not get overwhelmed and therefore resentful–and therefore, rageful–is, “I can’t.”
It sounded strange at first because it seemed like the opposite of what I was encouraged to say growing up. The mantra I learned was, “I can do anything!”
Which may be true, but only until I’m tired or overwhelmed. Then, I can’t do much of anything and still be pleasant, which I value.
Just knowing I can say, “I can’t,” when someone wants me to work a little harder, stay later, drive further or get up earlier has added so much to my confidence because it helps me keep my cool and my dignity.
Being dignified sure makes me feel secure. It’s much more attractive to be around myself.
I love myself more, and isn’t that what we always hear self-confidence is about—loving yourself?
To be more confident, consider using the phrase, “I can’t,” next time you know you’re about to get stretched beyond your limits.
6. Speak to Yourself Like You Speak to Your Friend
There’s an expression that it’s better to have 100 enemies outside the tent than one inside the tent.
When you start belittling and criticizing yourself, you become the enemy in your own tent.
If you start to notice harsh comments for yourself rattling around in your head, ask yourself if it’s something you would say to a friend.
Would you call your friend an idiot? Would you tell her that her outfit is a mess? Would you tell her she blew it and never gets things right? Or even that she’s clumsy?
Of course not.
You’re a nice person, and that would be unkind. All that harshness would make your friend feel bad. You wouldn’t want her to feel bad.
It makes you feel pretty bad, too, if you’re talking to yourself that way.
Therefore, consider giving yourself the same kindness you would give a friend.
Picture your BFF and imagine yourself saying to her the critical things you’re saying to yourself.
If your self-talk doesn’t pass the “friend test,” consider re-wording the message to yourself so that it does match your standards for her.
Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean–even to yourself.
Because a confident person is more likely to talk herself up than to cut herself down.
And just making that’s one of your habits is likely to make you feel so much more secure.