The word ‘confidence’ can send shivers up the spines of people who fear speaking in front of a crowd, the people who walk with their heads down and the people who are extremely shy in formal situations.

Confidence is defined as ‘the state of feeling certain about the truth of something’, but to most it means being unapologetically ‘YOU’, and that’s enough to be afraid of.

When someone says ‘be yourself’, they’re basically telling you to be comfortable and brave in everything you do. And to me, confidence is an extremely important part of day to day life. To get ahead in career’s you may need the confidence to stand up in a room full of people and give a presentation or speech. To get ahead in your social life you may need to introduce yourself and speak to new people. It pays off.

Confidence doesn’t necessarily mean wearing extremely ‘zany’ outfit and walking around with a ‘I don’t give a f**k’ attitude. There is a fine, fine line between confidence and cockiness and most people cross it without even realising. Meeting someone for the first time, it can be made clear whether you’re a confident person or a cocky person. I had once made that mistake, but have now found a comfortable balance where the line is well out of sight.

Here’s a few tips I’ve learned to help you try to overcome your shyness and find your inner confidence:

One:

Take some time out to learn more about yourself.

It may seem a little bit cliche in more ways than one, but it works. We all have a large list of pro’s and con’s about ourselves. For example, one of my pro’s is my passion for writing, and one of my con’s is that I’m a perfectionist.

These two clash at times. When I’m writing an article or a column like this, I take too long worrying about the small things until I feel it’s perfect.

It’s important to identify these things before they clash and become a problem. I’m currently learning to let the Pro’s outweigh the con’s. Take a few hours identifying yours and focus on the good things and use them to your advantage. It will pay off.

Two:

Most of us look through fashion magazines and catalogue’s looking at clothes and items we only wish we could wear.

This is something that can stop you from getting some confidence. I’m not saying that confidence is something that can be found from physical appearance, because it’s not always the case, but for some people, a new outfit or a new haircut can help build it slowly.

A while back, I was too afraid to wear the clothes that I wanted to wear in fear of what people may say, but after taking my customised studded denim jacket for a test drive, not only did I feel more confident in myself, but people started to notice it, too.

I’ve never turned back since then. If you are too afraid to wear something out of fear of others’ opinions, I would advise ignoring the voice in the back of your head and wear whatever it is you want to wear. Be brave!

Three:

Sometimes, it’s good to step outside your comfort zone.

It’s usually where the fun happens. Lack of confidence usually stops you from doing things that your friends are usually doing. It isn’t always the case, but it happens. For example, if you’re enjoying a night out and your friends take to the dance floor leaving you behind, it might be a good idea to ignore the fear of people’s whispers and dance like nobody is watching.

You’re not auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent, you’re having fun with your friends. As long as you have the people around you who love you for who you are, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Stepping outside your comfort zone could even open up some new opportunities. Once upon a time I used to write a lot and not show anyone. I was too afraid. Then, I started a blog and less than a year later… I have my own column.

If anything, I’m living proof of what living outside your comfort zone can do! Chase your dreams!

Four:

*whisper, whisper*! What’s that?

Oh, it’s just your brain making you paranoid that everyone around you is judging you when actually, they’re probably discussing last night’s episode of Eastenders.

It happens to the best of us. Not a day goes by where we feel like someone, somewhere is whispering or gossiping about us. It’s probably a natural feeling. But what’s important is letting your mind rest and blocking out the negative feelings, which is probably one of the hardest things to do. Nothing is impossible, though.

I like to think about it this way: through life, there will always be people who like us and hate us, and as long as you have the right people with your best interests at heart, the people who hate us shouldn’t even come into the equation.

You’ll never get anything done by worrying about what others may think. Another thing to remember is that they probably feel the same too. We all have flaws in which we’re constantly fretting over, and nobody is perfect. Just remember to be nice to people and the whispers will stop.

Five:

The right attitude is essential. I’m not a firm believer in Karma, but sometimes it’s true. If you’re nice and kind to someone, the favour is usually returned.

I always like to smile at strangers when I’m walking through town, because sometimes a smile can change somebody’s day. I love when people smile at me. It makes me happy. Smiles make me smile. It’s just a nice gesture. And also, everybody loves a nice person.

You’re more likely to score respect that way, rather than walking through the streets with your head down and a face like thunder. A high head and a legitimate smile shows your confidence, too.

Wake up every morning looking at the day with a positive thought. I do this every morning and it helps with day to day activities. I like to think that anything is possible and the day holds hundreds of oppurtunities that are just waiting for us to discover. It gets me through the week with a smile.

That’s all I’ve got for now!

These are some of the things that have helped me become a more confident person. It can change your life and make you a more positive person. But try to remember that confidence can easily lead to cockiness.

I can’t stress enough how easy that transition is to make. It’s vital you find a balance until you’re happy being you. I hope the people who read this can wake up every morning, look in the mirror and smile because they’re happy to be them.

Learn to love yourself and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. Be brave!

– Josh

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