This isn't exactly a *fashion* post but it can certainly have an effect on the way we showcase fashion and style in our everyday lives.
I've been somewhat of a reserved person throughout my life, and it wasn't until I moved away from home a few years that I broke out of my shell and learned to be a social butterfly, feeling more confident with myself. I still actively work to improve my social skills and self-confidence, qualities that I feel everyone should possess to their greatest capacity. This isn't easy, of course, especially with the media nowadays and how it can alter one's perspective on self-image; but it is definitely doable / fixable.
I've compiled eight useful tips on how to become more confident in the way you feel and how you present your self, as well as when conversing and interacting with others. I hope these pointers benefit you in some way or another - please let me know if they do or if you have any methods of your own that you'd like to share!
Practice confident body language.
Body language can make a huge difference in the way others perceive you as well as how you feel. Even faking confident body language will eventually lead to actual self-confidence - I've tried it, it works. This means you should strike your Wonder Woman / Superman pose, stand up straight, push your shoulders back, puff up your chest, and throw your hands on your hips (how many times have you heard a few of these remarks from your parents?! I know I have plenty). I'm serious, though; take up as much space as you can. This strong, powerful stance will make you feel confident even when you aren't. Don't slouch or drop your chin or you may lose that confidence and it will show.
Make eye contact and hold it.
I've had someone say that I look at people too much when I talk to them, but I never understood this or saw it as a negative thing. Where am I suppose to look? Off in the other direction? I find that awkward and quite rude. Don't be the first person to look away in a conversation. It might sound strange to just stare into someone's eyes, but I'm not telling you to do it as if you're reaching deep into their soul. What actually IS creepy is making eye contact and quickly looking away. This will make it seem like you're lying about what you're saying or you're nervous/ashamed. (you know those with 'shifty eyes').
I've also had someone say I smile too much or at random times / people; and again, what is wrong with being a pleasant, happy person?! I don't see any harm in smiling often so long as you're not... well... being a creep about it (super long stare + eerie smile = eh, no). With that said, be sure to smile, not only with your mouth, but your eyes as well (someone once told me I had smiling eyes which I found to be the absolute sweetest remark!) This is not something you should fake, however, like body language, because one can easily tell a fake smile apart from a genuine one. For instance, can you tell which of the above is my genuine smile versus a fake one? I really hope so or this is just awkward... But the key to displaying an honest smile is to actually have something to smile about. For me, call it cheesy but I smile about, well, life, which is probably why I smile so often! I don't exactly need a specific reason; but when there is one, you'll get a huge one from me. Think happy thoughts. Kittens (that gets me big time). Your love. Your favorite vacation spot. You get the idea! If that seems too difficult for you, fake it until you convince yourself you are happy (it has to work).
Don’t nod and fidget.
A confident person doesn’t fidget. You don’t see James Bond playing with his cuff links. Similarly, don’t nod your head so much when someone is talking to you. It makes you look desperate to appease them. Instead, keep eye contact and smile.
Pause before speaking.
This is something I need to work on more. It's not that I intentionally want to interrupt someone, but I get so excited with my thoughts at times that I tend to blurt them out before waiting (oops). We need to process what our sender is saying before we proceed to respond. Take two seconds to sort out what has been said, and let yourself react afterwards (facial expressions tell all). You will come across as more sincere and a great listener, instead of a passive one who is simply waiting for your turn to speak (which is a big no-no!)
Let others impress you. This will in turn impress them.
Everyone likes to feel good about themselves. That's the whole point of this post after all! I make it a priority to ask about others' day and not be shy about giving out compliments. Make it a priority of yours to actively listen to what is being said as well as how it's being said, and respond accordingly. Practice this when you're ordering coffee or buying groceries by asking the cashier how their day is going and/or complimenting them on something. If you mangle the interaction, no worries, you try again next time!
Dress nicely, walk like you own the place.
American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics once said "While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence, which, I believe, does make the woman". I couldn't agree with this more and they're words I (do my best to) live by everyday. Whether you like it or not, people make their initial judgements about you based on your body language as well as what you're wearing, so... you better make a damn good impression! Fashion (or rather, style) is something each individual possesses uniquely, though, so wear something that you feel comfortable in. Now this doesn't mean you should slack off and wear sweatpants everywhere you go because they're, well, comfortable (seriously, don't do it). Don a new pair of heels or a classic LBD and own every step you take in them as if you're walking a runway show (I love how supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio - above - always makes a grand entrance on the runway with her hands in the air, pretty much demanding attention - in a good way of course). Not saying you should strut around in a bikini, but demand the attention of others and don't be afraid to show own it and show your confidence. I'll go more into detail on dressing to feel more confident in another post since that's a very lengthy topic that I'd love to dive into!
Another goal of mine that I have quite the difficult time sticking to is exercise, mostly because I'm very picky about which forms I decide to partake in. I promise you though, if you stick to some sort of routine, you will look better (obviously) but feel incredible as well, which is the key here. Exercise is one of the greatest ways to boost your self-esteem, as it does a great job in making you look great as well as stay energized, releasing endorphins to make you happier and feeling more alive. Start with the basics by running, doing some sit-ups and even meditating or practicing yoga (which I love).