I feel confident
On a recent flight, I watched the romcom I Feel Pretty. Renee (played by the brilliant Amy Schumer) is insecure about her looks. In true ‘Big’ style she wishes that she could be attractive. Then, after a minor head injury, she wakes up and sees she is now extremely attractive! Her confidence soars and she goes and gets her dream job, her dream man, has lots of amazing experiences that are only open to attractive people. She then hits her head again and the spell is broken and she goes back to how she looked previously, and with it, her confidence disappears.
**Spoiler alert** Nothing actually changed other than how Renee saw herself. [The tagline of the film is ‘change everything without changing anything’ so I don’t feel too bad about giving this away!]
Setting aside the superficial focus on looks, I did love the message this film is giving around how we hold ourselves back by our own thoughts, actions and preconceptions. We limit our potential. We stop ourselves going for the job we want, or asking someone on a date, or we let our inhibitions stop us taking the opportunities and experiences offered to us, because of what we believe to be true about ourselves. We let our own self talk and self doubts control our life.
The moment Renee had self-belief, she applied for the job, she talked and flirted with the guy, she got up on stage, she expressed her opinions. She may not have always got it right, but she showed up. Fully.
When Renee had positive self worth she held her head high, she walked with purpose, she wore the clothes she felt good in, she ignored negativity as she assumed it wasn’t aimed at her, she spoke up, she thought the odds were in her favour so she took risks. And they generally paid off!
Yes, I know, this is a film and it is designed to give the feel good factor. But, what you say to yourself, how you view yourself, does have an impact on how you show up in your life.
Your thoughts control your feelings and your feelings control your actions
Have you ever thought about something bad that has happened to you? Have you noticed that by thinking about the event, you start to feel the same feelings again - angry, mad, sad - whatever the emotions were you felt at the time? Does this then affect your actions - maybe you are snappier with your colleagues, maybe your energy slumps?
Now think about a time when something awesome happened to you. Notice how your mood shifts in a positive way; maybe you start to smile, maybe you hold your head a little higher, maybe your back straightens, maybe you get a little twinkle in your eye!
In both these scenarios nothing has actually happened to you - you are recalling events that have already passed, but you can feel how recalling these events can have a major influence and impact on your current emotions and actions. This is what we are doing to ourselves for a lot of the time. We are putting ourselves into a positive or negative state by the thoughts we are choosing to focus on.
At the beginning of the film Renee was focusing on her looks in a negative way, how she felt others perceived her, her lack of dates. After her perception changed, Renee was focusing on her looks in a positive way, she assumed everyone was perceiving her as gorgeous and amazing, she felt sure men would want to talk to her. She moved from assuming the worst to assuming the best (her thoughts), so she felt pretty which made her happy (her emotions) and her actions changed as a consequence.
Do you fear being confident because of how others will perceive you?
We sometimes don’t want to move to being confident because we think in a polarised way - we are either nice or we are confident (for example), or we fear that we will be seen as arrogant and ‘up ourselves’. In the film, it was depicted that Renee became ‘too much’ and lost her friends as a result of her new found confidence. However, I don’t think it needs to be this way. You can feel certain about your abilities, your worth, your qualities - this is confidence - but you can also continue to be your true self and live with integrity and authenticity - you can be nice to people, you don’t have to tell everyone about your accomplishments, if you don’t want to, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t know they are still there and you can have the belief in yourself and what you are capable of.
The opposite of confidence is timidity, pessimism, being afraid, shyness, being uncertain or unsure. Is that really how you want to be viewed by others? Reframing how you see confidence and understanding there is nothing wrong with being positive, courageous, certain, self-reliant and self-assured can help you break the self-talk that stops you feeling confident and fully showing up. It is okay to hold your head high and know what you can achieve. You can be confident and still be a nice person. You can be confident and still be empathetic, fun, goofy, serious, caring, loud, introverted, <insert your most treasured characteristic here>. Being confident is not mutually exclusive to all other traits; it is totally compatible. And, like Renee did so beautifully by the end of the movie, I would encourage us all to show up in our wonderful lives as the bright, brave, bold, brilliant women we are!