For close to 15 years I struggled with severe anxiety and self doubt. I was consumed with a constant pressure to seek and expect perfection in myself. One day, while dealing with one of my bouts of rage, I just couldn’t handle the pressure any more and decided that something had to change. Here is part my story and how changing my definition of confidence drastically improved my life.
As a teen who was tall and lanky (5’10” and 110 lbs) I was used to standing out and being different than those around me. When I turned 15, I was introduced to modeling and I became quickly enamored with the idea. Clothing, makeup, travel, what’s not to love? I was so excited to “finally fit in” and have my body type “make sense.” After all, being a good 6-8” taller than all of my friends, always made me feel pretty awkward and weird. The thing is though, the more I became involved in the fashion world, the more I felt uncomfortable in myself. Each photo shoot, fitting and interaction was an opportunity for someone to tell me what was “wrong with me”, what could “make me better”, “more marketable” or more “beautiful”.
Before I knew it, I lost all connection to myself. Who I knew I was, what I enjoyed, what food tasted good, what activity felt fun and began focusing on how to “improve” myself. I began to look only to outside sources for validation and continuously sought for others to define me and give me a sense of purpose. (Think agents, photographers and stylists.)
As I got older, to my dismay, my body began to change. My hips filled out while my breasts remained small and my hair went from blonde and straight to crazy curly and brown… I felt so disappointed that I couldn’t just be what they wanted me to be. As agencies began turning me down, I was devastated. I honestly never considered doing anything BUT be a model. After all, I felt so alive in front of the camera.
The more I got turned away from agencies for being a size 4, the more my confidence plummeted. I saw no value in myself, because they didn’t. I spent years, thinking that if only I got signed to a major agency, life would be awesome and I could finally feel good about myself! I believed that validation of who I was, lied in my acceptance from that world.
When I didn’t get validation from the fashion industry, I began seeking it out in my romantic relationships. If I could convince this guy that I was special, then I would be.
As the years passed and my relationship to myself and my lack of confidence worsened, I developed some pretty nasty and hurtful habits towards myself. I was degrading, angry and just down right mean to myself. One day, as I was running (a way I chose to punish myself for messing something up) I realized that if I continued to run away from my feelings, my past, my story and myself, things would ALWAYS feel like this. And I JUST COULD NOT bare the idea of another minute of my life feeling like this.
So what did I do?
I decided to play around with my relationship to myself and food. I decided to take charge of my life, no more being the passenger, I was going to be the driver. The biggest thing I changed, though, was my understanding of confidence.
For so long I thought confidence meant feeling "sexy" all the time, or knowing you look good, or being outspoken. Sure, feeling good and speaking up are side effects of confidence, but the real meaning of confidence is TRUST!
Confidence, when broken into it's latin roots is:
Con, meaning: with
fidelity: meaning the strict observances of promises, duties, etc; loyalty, faithfulness.
So the real meaning of CONFIDENCE, is about having faith and loyalty in oneself.
I realized that to cultivate confidence in myself I had to build FAITH in myself.
Faith that I would be loyal to my boundaries and needs and follow through on my commitments, to myself.
It wasn’t about getting approval. It wasn't about others admiring me or validating my beauty.
It was about me doing what felt good to ME.
It wasn’t about what my mother, my sister, my best friends or strangers wanted for me. It was about me listening to and connecting to what I knew to be right for me.
As I began to connect to this new meaning of confidence I began to know myself better. Instead of looking to outside sources for direction, I began connecting to my inner wisdom. I asked myself what food truly nourished me. I asked myself what exercise made me feel strong. I asked myself what clothing felt right on my body. I asked myself what type of relationship I wanted and actually deserved. I started to respect myself and demand respect from others. I began to say YES to things I WANTED to do and say NO to things I DIDN’T want to do… and not feel guilty for it.
Best of all, I began to have a loving relationship with my body. I began to care for her, admire her and celebrate her.
When I changed my understanding of confidence, my whole life changed. I stopped wasting time degrading myself, doubting myself and holding myself back. With that freed up time and energy I have accomplished some pretty cool things too.
I found an incredibly, loving and supportive partner, ran a half-marathon with a 16 minute PR, became a Nutrition and Wellbeing coach, started my own business, wrote my first E-book, helped hundreds of women began to heal their relationship with food and create loving relationships with their bodies and most recently, my East Coast College Workshop tour, called Confidence is Key: 10 Simple Steps to Rocket Your Self Esteem.
Of course I still have moments when I feel insecure or unsure, but instead of asking for outside opinions or direction, I know to turn inward. Only I know what it’s truly like to be in this body and I’ve learned how to best care for her.
With great LOVE & COMPASSION,
If you are currently struggling with low self confidence and you'd like support and guidance, I'd LOVE to be there for you! I've put together the 12 week Killer Confidence Bootcamp, group program (that begins April 10th, 2017). It's open to only 10 gals. For 12 weeks, you and 9 other incredible ladies will work alongside each other, connecting to the inner badass inside of you, cultivating serious self confidence, learning what it takes to truly love yourself deeply and how to make a life you are not only proud of, but LOVE living. Over the course of the 12 weeks you will receive recorded video content, workbooks, recipes, have access to a private FB group, participate in group coaching calls, get your questions answered via FB live video and have full access to me for 3 whole months, to help you connect to the confident badass gal you truly are. Oh yeah, and you will have 2 private calls with me too, to ensure you get the most out of this experience. Sound like something you would love to participate in??
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and let's set up a time to chat, to make sure the program is right for you! I can't wait to meet you. xx