What 2018 Taught Me About Confidence
January 16, 2019
You know how when you declare something to the universe, it throws it right back at you to see what you’re truly made of? That’s what I experienced in 2018. I launched this blog and made writing about loving oneself my main focus. Then, the universe decided to be funny and throw new situations my way that really tested my confidence.
It was a tough year full of doubt and questioning myself, so much so that I stopped blogging for the second half of the year. Life threw some curve balls but through it all, I learned new ideas around what it means to be confidently myself. Here are my 2018 lessons…
*Confidence doesn’t cover just one area of life.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I didn’t realize that I had a limited view of self-love. For most of my life I only looked at it through the lens of relationships and physical appearance. That’s where I felt the most insecure (and often still do), so when I thought about self-esteem, confidence, or a related topic, I was coming at it from that angle. Then I got to see another perspective – that we can lack confidence in all kinds of areas!
A great example was when I experienced a failure in my job that totally shocked me and made me question all my years of training, my expertise, and my ability to lead and produce results. Imposter Syndrome started to rise and my confidence in an area where I once felt really strong and capable was dropping quickly. The doubt crept in and I began to question not only what I was doing at work, but what I was doing here in the online community preaching about being confidence when I was struggling to maintain it myself.
It was a big eye opener for me because I realized that I needed to expand my definition of this topic and recognize that many of you are probably experiencing insecurities in multiple areas of life, not just one. I was so focused on spreading inspiration around loving your looks and personality, but last year taught me that there is so much more to explore.
*It starts with you AND you can’t do it alone.
Because of the Imposter Syndrome and self-doubt that I was feeling, I had to put forth a ton of internal work to keep myself from fully crumbling. There were many tears, but there was also a lot of writing, reflecting, and re-framing my self talk. I had to learn to adjust what I was telling myself that wasn’t true (“I’m not good enough”, “I can’t do this”, etc.) and turn that into statements that were true (“I know what I’m doing”, “I work hard to be here”, etc.).
I also had many (and I mean many) conversations with people. I needed to vent, I needed to express my fears, and I needed to hear others’ reminders of what I know to be true. Those listening ears came in the form of my therapist, my friends, my parents, my boyfriend, and my coworkers. Needless to say, it took a village to keep me going, on top of the personal work that I had to do on my own. Everyone needs a support system, you included.
*Some days you won’t feel strong.
Simply put, you’re not going to feel the love each and every day, and you need to be ok with that. Some days I just needed to cry and feel like shit and go through all of my emotions and not find a solution. I allowed myself those days, and once it was all out (sometimes the next day or even the day after that), I would pick myself back up and keep it moving. Give yourself grace, and know that you’ll have bad days and it’s totally normal.
*Celebrate even the smallest of wins.
Sometimes the road feels too far and too long to see the end. I learned that in order to keep myself motivated, I would have to find smaller milestones to cheer for. In my case, there were moments where I did something well at work or was able to display my expertise, and those served as reminders that even despite one failure, all hope was not lost and that I am perfectly capable to fulfill the role I was hired for. Even online, I would receive comments and messages saying that I inspired someone or they could totally relate to what I shared (thank you). I held on to those moments and used them as building blocks to boost myself back up to the level of pride in my work that I use to feel in the past. Instead of waiting for a grand finale, I gave myself a pat on the back for each small win along the way.
In fact, celebrating small wins is how I decided to kick off the new year of 2019 with my Instagram community. I’m hosting weekly shout-out challenges with a focused topic for each month, and for January we’re cheering ourselves on for “Winning Wednesdays”! I’ve created templates for you to share in your InstaStories, so hop on over to my page and check out the story highlight called “Wins” to see what we’ve celebrated so far. Feel free to use the templates below to share one of your own and be sure to tag me with @confidentlydeena and #ConfidentWins!
Let me know in the comments below what lessons you learned in 2018!