This is one of those times when something in your day sparks a train of thought and it seems like one of those things you could blog about, and today it happened to be the idea of being self-assured.
Frankly, this is a quality that I had to develop in the period between roughly 2013-2015. I’d say I lacked confidence in my early teenage years, but there came a time when I had a lot of people to report to and to organise, I had a lot of different activities, a lot of reasons to need an opinion, and a lot of things out of my control as well.
If you find yourself in a position like that, or a position with a lot of responsibility – whether it’s to yourself or to others – I think you end up with two choices: you either develop self-assurance, or you give in.
My mum has always said to me, that when she was starting out, she didn’t really know a lot of stuff. She had a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. I’m not really talking school here, but more real world-type things. And I don’t think her parents were always that helpful, especially with her being the penultimate child in a large family. So, she made a decision to ask her questions, even if others thought they were stupid. And she soon came to the conclusion that other people had those questions too.
After that, something else became clear to her – and this is some advice she’s always told me: people respond to confidence, but most people don’t see themselves as confident. And if that’s you, you basically just need to fake it ’til you make it. Act confident, even if you don’t feel it. Ask the question nobody else is willing to, because they think they’ll look stupid. If you’re in a group project and everyone’s sitting there awkwardly not knowing what to do, be the one who makes a decision.
If you say something with enough self-assurance, people will respect it.
For my part, the process of learning how to be self-assured took a lot of coming to the understanding that you can’t live by other people’s judgements. If you do, people will expect more and more from you, and give little back. You’ll get swamped by things if you don’t make certain boundaries clear. A lot of the time people are scared of ‘letting others down’ etc., but really, people generally just respect you if you have the guts to be straight with them, tell them as it is, and just be cautious enough to not insult them in the process. (I feel like that’s an important point to make. A lot of people think self-assurance verges on arrogance. Or that they’re the same thing. You can be polite and self-assured, I promise.)
Another thing about developing self-assurance is that it often comes a lot easier if you have your priorities sorted. As soon as you realise what’s important to you, and what needs to be important to you, certain things in life will fall into place a lot faster. Plus, having a direction makes decisions far easier.
So that’s basically where my head took me today. Personally, I’m the person who will make big decisions with a sort of ease. Small decisions are a doddle. It’s really medium decisions I struggle with – what diary should I get for the next year, that sort of thing. Basically the stuff that matters less. But try it out – act confident, and people will assume you are. They’ll look to you for decisions, admire you for your opinions, and respect you for asking your questions. All it takes is a little self-assurance.