It allows us to express ourselves, to take risks, to go out into the world and have healthy relationships. Yet for so many of us, this is something that we are desperately lacking. Whatever the reasons (and there are many), the good news is that there are also lots of ways to re-build that confidence, and we want to be part of that journey!
Number one: Change the way you think
When we fail at something, we are trained to feel bad about it. Confident people make just as many mistakes as we do (if not MORE), the only difference is that, when a confident person embarrasses themselves, or makes a mistake, they don’t treat it as a setback. They’re probably already thinking about what a funny anecdote it’ll be later. When that job you applied for doesn’t call you back, or you gain a few kilos on that week bender in Bali – chalk it up to life experience. Some things are out of your control, but how you react to them next time will be defined by how you treat yourself at this stage; are you going to obsess over the fact you spent half the morning in the office with pastry on your face? Or are you going to wipe it off and it eat it?
Changing how you think may seem insurmountable, but just think – you’ve already trained yourself to be negative, so we just need to turn the tables. What would you say to your closest friend? We often see in the studio, that when someone looks at their own photo, they are drawn to the negative almost immediately. However, when a loved one looks at our photo, they see all the positives just as quickly, and are almost completely ignorant of the things we nit-pick at constantly. See yourself through different specs.
It’s important to note, that no one is asking you not to desire positive changes for yourself. If you want to lose weight, or you want to stop biting your nails, then that’s great. But it’s much easier to grow into the person we want to be, when we start loving who we already are. The things you don’t like about yourself, do not diminish all the things that are already wonderful.
Number two: Stop idolising other people
If I were to put money on the one thing that sucks confidence out of women faster than anything else, it’s this. When we feel our least confident, t’s usually because we’re comparing ourselves to someone else – or worse, some photo shopped, unrealistic representation of a human being. Our rose tinted view of others pushes everyone else above you mentally, leaving you down at the bottom, where you definitely don’t deserve to be.
Of course we should always be willing to see the beauty in others, and be inspired by them (this is a valuable trait to have if we are to empower each other), but it shouldn’t be at the cost of seeing our own beauty and our own ability to inspire others. Idolisation is pitfall of womankind. When it comes down to it, all these celebrities and icons of beauty, they’re flabbergasted by our awe of them. When women come to the studio, it’s hard to imagine themselves looking like the women that have come before them, but these are all REAL women, and so are you.
Number three: Stay flawsome and take risks
This has officially become my new favourite word, ever since Tyra Banks coined it some months ago. Though a little over used, I can’t think of a more empowering, and confidence building word than this.
Whatever you are, whoever you are, whatever you look like, believe, read, listen to, watch etc.: it’s you, and it’s wonderful. Cheesy, yes. Accurate? Also, yes. You don’t have to fit into a stereotype, you don’t have to be anything at all if you don’t want to – that’s the beauty of it. Whatever your quirks, or flaws as you might see them: LOVE THEM. Love yourself.
When we edit photographs at the studio, we make a point of keeping any retouching minimal, and the reason is because we want women to see themselves. We want them to see, whether for the first time or not that who they are, how they look right now, is absolutely beautiful. Beyoncé doesn’t look anything like Marilyn Monroe, but they’re both equally beautiful, as are you.
The other thing that these women share, along with the countless others, is that they’ve taken risks. It seems almost backwards to suggest this as a confidence building tip, but the truth of it is, when we take risks, we feel more confident. We have never once had a woman leave our studio without a buzz. I can’t believe I just did that! Nothing Wonderful will ever happen in your comfort zone, and that includes feeling better about yourself. When women come to the studio, they’re taking a step towards seeing themselves differently, and funnily enough, that change is something that’s on the inside…