5 Ways to Build Long Lasting, Never-Waivering, Confidence in Yourself
When was the last time you felt confident in yourself? I’m talking ass-kicking, not gonna stop confident? You wouldn’t be alone if you can’t really remember. It’s a lot of work for some women to feel confidence after lending out their bodies for babies and giving up the majority of their time (and sleep) for kids.
People often refer to me as “confident” but I haven’t always felt that way. When I became a mom for the first time I was 20. I had no money, no education, no career and a baby-daddy that enjoyed the company of other women. It wasn’t the kind of situation that made me feel empowered. If you like to creep someone's darker days for inspiration, you can check out my story here: HOW I WENT FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING AS A SINGLE MOM ON WELFARE.
To say that I’ve come a long way is an understatement, but I still have moments of uncertainty- In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve already doubted myself today and it’s only 9:23 am.
Who the hell are YOU to think that you can pull this off?
What about you, Mama? Ever feel like you’re not worthy of success, happiness or love? I’ve been there. It’s like an internal video that hurls insults at you on a loop. And as soon as you start to ignore them a bit and feel better about yourself, you think, Who the hell are YOU to think you can pull this off??
Girl, I feel you.
So I Googled “How to gain confidence” and here’s some of the strategies I saw:
- Visualize yourself as you want to be. ...
- Affirm yourself. ...
- Do one thing that scares you every day. ...
- Question your inner critic. ...
- Take the 100 days of rejection challenge. ...
- Set yourself up to win. ...
- Help someone else. ...
- Care for yourself
Hmmm... some good ideas but does any of this shit actually work to build a longlasting, never-waivering, confident YOU? Perhaps. But when I started to really think about my own journey as a mom of four and an entrepreneur, I realized that I’ve learned some strategies to shut down that inner mean girl and boost my confidence all on my own.
There’s no way around it, only through it.
That’s right. I’ve found that the more I have to deal with challenges and overcome them, the more confidence I have.
I eventually took myself out of that baby-daddy situation because it was making me angry, depressed and tanking my self-esteem. So I got a divorce, raised my kids on my own and went back to school to become a nurse. I leaned on a lot of people, but I did it. Even during my son't journey through drug addiction, the only way was right, straight through that mess. (btw- You can read about that whole sitch here: 10 THINGS I LEARNED WHILE RAISING A CHILD ADDICTED TO DRUGS.)
What about you, Mama? What situations are you just accepting because you’re too scared to move through them? Or maybe you're staying stuck because you're just accepting something less than stellar?
A thought ignored is an opportunity missed.
You know when you’re sitting around and you think,
I should really (fill in the blank with a really great idea that will advance your life/ career/ happiness/goals)?
Yes, those. STOP IGNORING THOSE.
Act on those impulses before you talk yourself out of them. Even the smallest action to move you forward will make you feel more confident, I promise. This has been referred to as 'trusting your gut' but I think it's more a matter of: listen, act and don't think.
Some example would be:
I should really workout.
I should really send that email to my boss with my fabulous ideas.
I should really introduce myself to that new prospect.
I should really do the dishes so I don't wake up to a dirty kitchen tomorrow.
Stop hiding behind your kids.
When was the last time you hid behind your kids? You know what I mean…I know you know because I’ve done it myself.
It’s the times when you think about doing something a little bit risky and exciting but you don’t because of your kids. Things like, a trip you didn't take because you couldn't bring yourself to leave your kids behind with your in-laws for a week. Or not accepting a great job because your kids need you too much. Hell, I've even told myself that I can't have entrepreneurial success and kids at home because I'll never be able to balance it all.
But it's all bullshit.
The truth is, it has nothing to do with your kids (unless there's a valid reason you in-laws shouldn't babysit).
You're using them as an excuse.
This may sound harsh, Mama, but you just may need to hear it today:
Your kids shouldn't be the most important part of your life. (I can feel your disbelief and fist-shaking from here, but hear me out!)
Of course they’re important, but it’s YOUR life. They have theirs and you have yours. Our job is to love them, guide them and provide for them but nobody ever said that you had to give up everything in your life for them.
Believe me when I tell you that this has been a really hard practice for me, especially as a mom of 4 kids. But I realize that it’s my responsibility to go out into the world as my best, bad-ass self because my kids are watching and learning.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
This one is the hardest and yet the most critical exercise. Do you realize how often you don’t act on an idea because you’re afraid of what someone will think?
All. The. Time.
The truth is, we give those people far too much influence over our lives for no reason at all.
If you love your body, hair, clothes, voice, sexual orientation, brain, idea, business or hobbies it ain’t nobody’s business. When the woo woo people tell you to “be centered” I think this is what they mean. If YOU love the things that make you unique and beautiful, you owe it to yourself to rock on with your bad self. You owe nothing to anyone else. This brings me to one of my favourite quotes:
You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!
– Olin Miller
Nobody is getting out of here alive.
It may sound a bit morbid, but if you live your life with the end in sight you’ll be braver today. Think about it- the fact that you’re even here is against all the odds so you may as well celebrate every day by giving the world the real, imperfect, vulnerable, authentic YOU.
This is the exact reason I find it so easy to be natural and authentic on social media. When was the last time you posted a selfie without your hair and makeup done, or at least a filter? I did it yesterday. People often tell me how much they love the fact that I show up as a 'real' woman, and do you know how I do it so easily? I remind myself that NONE OF IT REALLY MATTERS. In the grand scheme of life, you're not going to crawl to your death bed and do your hair and makeup.
Ok, Mama. It’s your time to shine! Don't let that voice in your head tell you that you can't do something because I know that you actually can. You're a mom so that means that you've already conquered the world and it's only 10 o'clock in the morning.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!