She is someone whose level of confidence shifts depending on what’s going on around her. In certain conditions there is a feeling of confidence but in others there is discomfort and uncertainty – shyness, self-judgement, fear, unworthiness, or uselessness. Therapists classify this as External Confidence or Situational Confidence, i.e. it does or doesn’t exist depending on influences from the outside world – the general circumstances of our lives and circumstances in each individual moment.
In contrast, therapists say Core Confidence comes from within and is not reliant on outside sources. When we are confident from the core, we are not paralyzed in the face of new, uncomfortable, or unusual circumstances, and we don’t base our actions on our fears of what others will think. Regardless of the situation, we know that we have something to offer, that we are worthy, and that we have been and are able to be successful.
How does the girl in the mirror build her core confidence?
She needs to stop comparing herself to others:
We all come from different walks of life. Each and every person is born unique and has had their own individual experiences throughout their journey thus far. No one shares the exact same story and we are not meant to. There’s no sense trying to compare apples to oranges. There is no better or lesser, only different.
If the girl in the mirror wants something to compare herself to, she should compare herself as she is now to the way she used to be and not compare herself to others in the world.
She needs to trust herself:
No matter what happened in her life up to this point, she has made it through each and every challenge that life has thrown at her, and she is still alive and standing here today, looking at ways in which she can improve herself. That, in its own right should give her a strong level of belief in her own strength. It does not matter how gracefully she did it, all that matters is that she did it. It might not be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be, and if she does not believe in herself (yet) and doesn’t trust herself (yet), she should give it a try. She needs to set one small goal and stick to it. Just do it . . . one step at a time. She will gain a sense of pride and confidence in herself, and the more she does it, the easier it will become in tricky situations.
She needs to live in the moment:
When we live in the moment we are only concerned with what is presented to us right then and there. When we are in action we are confident – we have made a choice and acting on it, that is what confidence is – the ability to take action. As soon as we slip into worry or judgement we’re no longer living in the moment. Judgement comes from a place of remembering what went wrong before and comparing now to then. Worry comes from a fear of what might happen not what is actually happening now.
When the girl in the mirror finds herself worrying or judging herself, she needs to shift gears. She needs to do HER best, in the moment with what she has – that’s all she can do. She needs to stay present and focus on what’s here now, and use what she has to offer.
She needs to learn from the past:
Shame and negative self-talk are the enemy of confidence. When we are demoralized, we cannot access confidence. We all do things we wish we’d done differently, but when we get caught in self-judgement and relive situations it amplifies negative thinking and creates negative and/or anxious feelings.
Continuing to replay an incident means there is something she needs to accept in order to move on. The girl in the mirror needs to accept that she is fallible or maybe the lesson is that she needs to stand up for herself – connecting with confidence so that next time she can say or do the things that will make her feel good about herself. When she finds herself obsessing about a past incident she should:
- STOP the instant replay
- Pick one small lesson from that experience . . . just one thing she will do differently next time
- Thank herself for the lesson and breathe in self-compassion, giving herself the courage to do that one thing differently next time
She should be open to possibility:
If the girl in the mirror has already decided who she is based on who she may have been in the past, then she has shut down her POSSIBILITIES, but if she lets that go and allows herself to be who she is in the moment – she has the possibility to be anything she wants to be. She should not judge herself based on her past and she should not hope for liberation in the future. Right now, be here. She should believe that she is capable of anything at any moment. She is capable of change, but only if she is not defined by her past or bound to the future.
The girl in the mirror needs to practice, be disciplined and follow-through:
Core confidence cannot be achieved overnight, it takes work and practice for core confidence to become automatic. When she finds herself in a situation where she feels she lacks confidence, she should remember how she feels when she IS confident and know that confidence is possible for her.
She needs to set small goals and stick to them. It takes time and discipline, but the more she follows through on things the more pride she will feel in her abilities and the more confidence she will build.
When she reminds herself of her strengths in other situations it will be easier to carry that strength over into new situations and gradually into ALL situations.
She needs a higher purpose:
When setting a goal, the girl in the mirror needs to shift her focus to the journey. She needs to pay attention to WHY she is working towards her goal and HOW she is doing it. She needs to ask herself:
- What do I really want from achieving the goal?
- Why did I choose the goal?
- What is my purpose?
- What desired qualities do I hope to achieve which lie beneath and beyond the tangible goal?
The girl in the mirror needs to keep her focus on her greater purpose – why does she have the goal she has? WHO does she want to be and how does she want to be?
Confidence exists in the here and now, and the core confidence she has when she connects with this purpose cannot ever be taken away from her.