Where Does Confidence Come From?

Today I thought I’d start with a prompt I didn’t have an immediate answer to:

Where does confidence come from?

Confidence, an unassuming little word, encompasses and impacts more of our daily lives than most of us would probably care to admit. But what is confidence? Where can we find it? Can it be bottled, captured, or taught? And why does it matter…?

Confidence can be seen from a mile away.

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror, given a speech, or had to work with a team, then you likely already know the basic concept here. Confidence, in the best terms that I can describe, is the assuredness in one’s own thoughts, being, or actions. And it really is so powerful and so important in achieving our dreams, because it lifts us up into a state of believing in which anything is possible–as long as we are driven and determined (ie: Confident) enough.

Confidence can be seen from a mile away. It’s in a person’s smile, their stride, the way they dress or how they behave around others. Confidence makes us better individuals, because instead of turning to dark or bitter thoughts, we gravitate towards the positive in life. Yes, confidence itself lives in the very realm of the positive, and it’s always waiting there, for whenever we happen to venture on by.

I don’t suggest trying this.

You don’t need to be flawless–or fearless–to be confident. You don’t even have to be confident all of the time (I know I most certainly am not). Confidence, like all things in life, has its cycle – its time and its place. Some of us have too much (raise your hand if you know someone); others could use a bit more (give yourself some credit!). But I wanted to delve more into the finding of confidence here, and how we can work to build and maintain a healthy dose of it.


Step One: Say Good-bye to Your Negative Nancy.
Each of us has a negative voice in the back of our minds; usually a fearful, timid little voice, whispering “What if’s” and “should have/could have’s” in our ear. And believe me, it’s not a bad thing. In fact, that worried little voice just might function as a survival instinct. We rely a lot on our perceptions to tell us what (and who) is a danger to us. So the first step here, is really, learning not to be afraid. A confident person isn’t a person who won’t recognize dangers or experience fears, but rather acknowledges all of these, and then chooses to express that they themselves are unthreatened.

You should definitely be like this kid, though.

I hate to go off on a tangent here, but consider if you will for a moment the behavior of dogs. If you see a dog that is barking at everyone that walks past, lunging at other dogs, and not listening to its owner, you might just assume that it is either badly behaved, or aggressive. The fact of the matter may be though that the dog is merely scared and not reassured of its owner’s leadership abilities. Neither of them have any confidence in what they’re doing, and so the dog goes on the offense (another survival instinct). In contrast, a confident dog owner will provide greatly needed direction for their pooch, and a dog that has a confident owner is going to be more self-assured in their actions as a result.

It’s all about attitude – which brings me to my next point.

Step Two: Fake It Until You Make It!
If you’re not naturally confident in a project, a person (yourself), or a situation, the very best thing that you can do is pretend that you are anyways. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back; you can smile or keep a calm countenance – whichever you prefer. The important thing though is to tell yourself (and others) through the use of body language that you are assertive… that you really know what you’re doing. Confidence inspires confidence. And what I mean by that is, if you appear relaxed and assured in your circumstance, it will help other people to feel more at ease as well. If you seem to have a firm grasp on what’s going on, you inspire others to feel confident in your character and your abilities.

It’s really a positive, self-rewarding system.

Step Three: Embracing a Better You


Human beings are truly incredible creatures, and our ability for adaptation and change is nothing short of remarkable. Have a trait you don’t like? Guess what: you can change that. Unhappy with your personability or how you present yourself to others? It’s all something you can work on and improve. Anything, from our behaviors to our personalities, can be re-shaped and molded into something exciting and new. And this can definitely be applied to our topic of choice.

The biggest step you can make in coming into a brighter, happier self is changing your mode of thinking. Try to compliment yourself, quietly or out loud, as often as you like. Reward yourself with praise when you know you’ve done well, and don’t be afraid to accept praise from others. The instant we accept that we can be as amazing as we want to be, the whole world just opens up to us. As if to say: “Here it is! Anything and EVERYTHING you could want is at your fingertips. Please, just reach out and take it!” My advice? Take it. And don’t let that little demon called doubt try and hold you back.

Roar and thump your chest. Get a little proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. And if there are things that you still want to accomplish, go out there and do them! When you erase limitations from your mind, you put yourself in the very shoes of Confidence itself. And nothing is better than being the very thing that you want.

 

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Why You Should Sing Badly

“Oh no, I don’t sing.”

I hear this so often. Along with the matching comment, “I don’t dance.”

Personally, I know I don’t sound like Celine Dion and I may never be Dancing with the Stars, but marching to my own drummer has been a life-long resolution of mine; even if, as Nietzsche said, others can’t hear the music. Life isn’t a party, it’s a flipping parade. We share our stage with so many other bright stars, and because of that, we tend to lose sight of our own spectacular selves. We lose the fun-loving freedom of our youth. Growing up, for so many, equates to giving up.

I don’t quiet down in a car full of strangers. I belt loud and proud, smile stamped firmly on my face. And generally, that kind of attitude is contagious. Before you know it, a whole room has joined in. Freedom to be ourselves is supposedly apparent in our current society. To a degree, at least; until it becomes too uncomfortable for others to bear. It’s so odd to me that as we grow older, we are required to “mature”. Not just mentally or emotionally, either; but in a repressed kind of way. As if aging is a reason to become reserved and surrender all spontaneity.

I burst into laughter wherever I go. I try not to dampen my personality just for the sake of others. And yes, sometimes I get a dirty look or three for deigning to be happy in public. Ridiculous! 

The short time I’ve been in this world, the one thing I’ve observed universally is people trying to control each other. I’ve been hurried along and told to slow down–instructed to seize opportunities of my youth and commanded to wait. Whatever decisions I’m making always seem (in the eyes of one person or another) to be the wrong ones. And at 25, I’m done taking orders. Please leave all life advice with my secretary. I’m no longer available to take calls.

Get silly, before you forget how! Pack a bag and go on a freaking vacation. Buy something outlandish, just to let yourself have it. Storm through each day like there’s theme music playing just for you–and never let anyone take away your will to let go and have fun. If you’re not out there taking risks, what’s the point anyways? Don’t. Hold. Back. If I could give myself one gift to claim at the end of it all, it would be the memories I’d went out of my way to make, despite everyone who told me I’d regret them. Those things you worry you can’t or shouldn’t do… they’re the ones you’ll always be grateful you did.

How to Hog the Bathroom, Effectively

Men are great. Truly, they are. But if there is one thing my man will never understand, it’s that sometimes, a girl just needs her privacy. The sound of him banging on the door is one I’ve come to loathe. Such is the way of things when you live in a two person household with only one bathroom. Usually, this isn’t something that bothers me. I’ve lived too long slapping an outfit together or some concealer on my face though, and I won’t do it again…  never again.

To quote the greatest video game of all time:

So how do you hog the bathroom, effectively?

Perhaps I should rephrase that. The real question becomes: How do you get the space you need for your morning/nighttime ritual, without offending the person you share half of your life with? And truthfully, that’s a hard question to answer. The key here, though, is in compromise–and some very careful planning. As Sun Tzu said, the path to victory is in knowing one’s enemies, as well as oneself.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.    -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you want the upper hand, then play to win. Getting to know my spouse’s schedule has been key in working around these little incidents. If I can anticipate when he’s most likely to need time to get ready, or wanting to shower and shave, less stress abounds for us all.

I know what you’re thinking… Should it really be that hard though?

Sometimes you give up certain privileges for companionship. And being in a couple means learning to live around each other. There are reasons people stay single; usually, finding happiness with someone just outweighs the little benefits of living alone. (I may revoke this statement periodically.)

The last piece that you need is: Communication. If there’s an issue, try talking to each other! I know if I just approached my guy and explained that I wanted time for some personal things, he’d be more than happy to give me that courtesy. Respect is a big part of a solid relationship, and one that you both should work to build upon. I think as girls, we fall into this mindstate of needing to look flawless all the time. It’s difficult, having someone see all your imperfections–especially when it’s someone who you only want to show your best to. Just be open and sincere. Homeostasis… that all comes in time. 😉

And to leave things off on a lighter note, Andy Grammer!

Living in a Dreamland

Exciting news… I picked out a new engagement ring!!

Spur of the moment, my boyfriend decided we should swing into a jeweler’s and try on rings for fun. We’ve been engaged a while, and I already had a small solitaire ring he’d gotten me after proposing. I thought it was just for entertainment; until he turned to me seriously and said, Why not get one?

Like a true rollercoaster ride, I’ve been down so long lately the sudden rush of being on top has successfully taken my breath away. Life is good; it’s better than good. I felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone as I tried to talk him out of the purchase. In the end, though, my will just wasn’t strong enough… 😀 It made my heart sing when I put it on. And walking out of the store wearing it, I noticed that he too was grinning from ear to ear.

It makes me feel good, he told me. He gets to see the symbol of our love and feel proud of the fact that he gave it to me. And I adore it beyond belief. This is the ring I’ve dreamed of since I was a child — a ring fit for a fairytale. I just had to share!

 

♥ Jenn

Ladybug on a Cloudy Day

Today was so busy I barely had time to catch my breath.

Here’s everything at a glimpse. Step 1: Ladybug Lipstick by Mac

LadybugL   MacLadybug   LB2
I’m not one to commonly wear red, but I picked this little beauty up the other day as a personal challenge at a more daring look. Mac cosmetics are great quality; let’s just say it and get that statement out of the way. Back to this shade in particular… Ladybug is a nice vibrant color which seems well suited for both paler and darker skin tones. Takes a couple passes to get a solid coat, but I’m in love with the shade for that POP! Also, I could see working this into a great retro 50’s look.

Goes on smooth, easy to apply, fun to wear. The only downside I experienced was that this is a very sheer color, which means it goes on light and rubs off at the slightest contact. I found it fading after about an hour of wear, and unless you carry some gloss (or more lipstick) to reapply, not a very flattering look in the end. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my lipstick long-lasting!

Onto more fun stuff…

BathJoy BathJoy2 BathJoy4 BathJoy3
The bath got a facelift today! Before pictures have been excluded to save you from going into shock. Needless to say, it was a cluttered, bare mess before. And now it’s worth stepping into! Props for finally settling in, albeit four months later. 😛 Total reno was $117 at Target. I’m thrifty–so sue me.

Getting organized was a resolution for me, and keeping all my dailies close at hand while not scattered on top of each other is a big step! Unsure how things will go as more makeup gets added to my collection, but for right now, every polish and extra eyeshadow is finding storage down below.

sushi
The day ended with a well-deserved date night after scouring the streets for apartments. Interestingly enough, all of our looking was for naught. Turns out, we won’t be having to move after all. More good news! I love this location. And let me just end by saying, I’ve got a grab-bag full of goodies I’ll be covering on my blog in the days to come. A few simple products that are readily available, and some highlights I’m very excited to share with you all! Look forward to that and have a great night.

♥ Jenn

The Short Hair Stigma: Learning to Love Your Locks

I had already decided to grow out my hair. Two weeks ago, while staring at my reflection, I turned to my boyfriend and said: “It needs to be long.” I still remember the moment I finally chopped it all off. It was only last summer, after all. And I’d only been waiting to do it for years.

The comment didn’t help any. “Heyy boys…” our bartender greeted. It was so hilarious at the time, I had to stop myself from laughing. My boyfriend didn’t say a word. It was a while after, as we were leaving from our lunch date that I realized that the comment had bothered me.

Short Hair    Short Hair 2

Truly, it shouldn’t have. I’ve made the mistake of buying into other people’s opinions before. You never end up anywhere fun living like that. And I loved my hair; still love my hair. It had been a long time in the making. A choice I’d been talked out of numerous times by stylists who all thought they knew better. A pixie wouldn’t “fit my face”. I should just try something chin-length instead. I’d done it all before, and never been happy with the result. So when I finally let myself have it, when I stopped taking no for an answer, I felt amazingly free. The cut looked fantastic, and beyond that, it was sexy!

Having short hair has this instant effect of helping you stand out in a crowd. It’s so simple to look put-together, cute, and trendy all at once! And honestly, I spent so much less time getting ready in the morning. The downside of being a girl and cutting off all your hair is that people tend to jump to some pretty wild conclusions about you. I’d gotten the lesbian comments more than once; the disapproving stares from older people, or better yet–men. But none of it had ever fazed me.

Until the moment I realized… I was done having short hair.

This would have made for a much more interesting movie…

The problem with going super short is, it’s not as quick to get it back as it is to take it off. It’s something you go into knowing, and yet it still doesn’t change the urge you get the instant you decide you want something new. I no longer wanted short hair. I wanted longer hair again, more freedom to straighten, curl, and style. Up-do’s and beachy waves! I wanted it all back. And the terrible thing was, I wanted it now. Not mid-length hair, either; but down to your chest, flowing locks – which sadly, just don’t come overnight. Believe me, I’ve hoped I’d wake up like Harry Potter, but alas, no such luck.

The thing about making a decision for yourself is that you know you’re doing it for you. It’s something you’re already set-on; eager for, so to speak. But hearing others emphasize the things you lack that you’re working to reclaim… it’s super discouraging to say the least. I felt like a conformist. Like I was changing who I was to please the generalized public opinion. And that’s the worst feeling when all you’re trying to do is fulfill your desires. How had I suddenly grown ashamed of what was on my head? Because of something a man in a bar said, offhandedly? That simply couldn’t be the case. My boyfriend (the only person who matters) thinks I’m the hottest thing on earth, and he tells me so, every damn day. So what was going on here?

In simplest terms, it’s our own insecurities that leave us vulnerable. The moment I decided I no longer looked my best with a cropped ‘do, every oggle and backhanded comment became a missile aimed straight at my face. We leave ourselves open to attack when we’re uncertain of ourselves, and the biggest lesson I learned here is that standing by your choices also sometimes means living with them. Even if it also means suffering through something largely uncomfortable.

In the meantime, I’m just going to soldier on; see my hairstylist frequently, and have some fun experimenting with hats and head scarves! The upside is, I’ve never looked at my hair with so much potential before. This is going to be a truly great time to accessorize, and frankly, I can’t wait.

Stay strong, ladies! And remember, whatever you wear, to do so with confidence.

♥ Jenn