Updated: Mar 29, 2022
I've been coaching for 14 years now, and the biggest thing I've learned - both for me and for my clients - is that aligning with your true self is the key to it all. Aligning with your authentic self and loving yourself as that authentic self, is the foundation that inspires inner confidence.
Inner confidence provides the light that shines from within you when you share your gifts and talents with the world.
There are all kinds of strategies, ways of thinking, patterns of behavior and practical tips for improving your life and feeling better about yourself, but they're all redundant if the foundation isn't there.
That foundation is accepting, and following, the real you, the you that you know deep down you are - flaws, imperfections and all.
The trick is that it takes confidence to face your true self.
The first step is to give yourself permission to bring out who you are, and then allow as much love, self-acceptance and allowance as you can muster, to flow freely towards your inner-being.
Here are the keys to inspiring gradual self-love:
1. Know Your Gut Instinct Guides You to Know Who-You-Really-Are
Your true self might be buried ten thousand feet down inside you.
Sometimes it may take a little digging to get to the very core of who you are.
Your belief systems are the building blocks, the foundations and cornerstones of the way you live your life, usually imposed on you by your caregivers, friends and society at large. Some of your belief systems are working for you, and some are working against you. More specifically, working against what you believe are your current life goals. Once you identify your beliefs, you have the power to change them, and you can use this process to your advantage.
A belief system provides framework for your values. Your values are the concepts that you identify in yourself, in others, or in the world - that feel important to you.
Often we confuse external validation, or adherence to externally imposed values, with following our authentic path because of our belief systems. This causes us to fill our days pursuing validation through achievement or acceptance (school, career, role within the family or community).
When we are living authentically, we get both inner satisfaction as well as harmonious collaboration with society, family and social circles as we engage in activities that truly support our real authentic selves (mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual).
Let's go a little deeper into the concept of identifying the role of emotions as messengers that guide us on the path to alignment.
When you think of the words family, fun, nature, achievement or freedom - what emotions come up for you?
Why is it that some people and situations leave you feeling angry, frustrated, demotivated or deflated?
Many times, it’s because one or more aspects of your true authentic self is being denied, suppressed or repressed – and you perceive that as a negative experience because it’s denying a fundamental piece of who you are.
Think back to those times when you’ve felt really alive, amazing or buzzing with joy.
Those are the times when you are living in alignment with your true self, and you can get more of that by living in alignment more frequently.
Your true self - your inner being - is all you at your most unfiltered, joyful, satisfied self, and no matter what happens, no one can ever take that away from you. You may have spent years, or a lifetime, listening to the cues of society or family as a means to find acceptance, or achievement, or happiness. The truth is external cues will never bring the same level of satisfaction, and won't help you cultivate self-love.
You gut instinct, however, WILL guide you towards who-you-really-are. When you are doing or thinking of what brings you curiosity, excitement, joy, energy, or a feeling of being 'in the flow' - you are following your intuition towards who-you-really-are.
Out of whatever choices you may have at any moment, choose to follow through with the option that gives you the most curiosity, excitement, happiness, or energy. Activities, people, places and things that drain your energy, give you a feeling of dread, constriction or unease are the opposite of who-you-really-are. It is your job to listen to your gut instinct, as it is a powerful messenger guiding you towards happiness and true life satisfaction.
You can have absolute confidence in your gut instinct because it's there all the time just waiting for you to notice and use it.
When you begin to focus on what makes you the happiest and most aligned out of the choices you have available - you start to make choices that align your life around what is truly most important to your real authentic self. As you cultivate you new mindset, do your best to avoid complaining about what you don't want. Know that what you don't want is creating extreme clarity within you about what you DO want in life. Your job is to align your focus with what is going well currently, and then allow the activities, people, places and things that give you the most authentic feeling of satisfaction, curiosity, energy or joy to guide your decision making throughout the day.
Continue to follow through with the commitments that you have given your word to, but aim to delegate, outsource, find or ask for help with the tasks that drain you, constrict and/or repulse you on an energetic and emotional level.
You will learn to trust your gut instinct more and more once you get started. It feels amazing to allow yourself to be who you really are as you center your life on what truly aligns with your authentic being.
2. Exercise Confidence in Your Gut Instinct
Confidence is a muscle, and like any muscle you need to exercise it so that it doesn’t shrink and waste away. The problem is that unlike your biceps or glutes, which tend to stay in the same place, your confidence muscle can be harder to find. How do you develop your biceps or firm up your glutes? By doing exercises that are designed to work that muscle over a period of time until you see the results you were looking for.
It’s just the same with confidence in your intuition/gut instinct. Let’s say that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t take many risks, the kind of person who goes through each day doing what needs to be done and doing it well, but not really stretching yourself. You might talk yourself out of doing something because it’s too scary or because you think to yourself ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘that’s not who I am’ or ‘I don’t really want it anyway.’ That kind of person lives within what they know and what keeps them safe and comfortable.
Taking fewer risks requires little confidence. But it traps you in an endless cycle because the less you exercise confidence to lean on your intuition - the less confident you become in trusting that your gut instinct is right.
To work your confidence muscle you need to be prepared to take risks – big or small.
You need to be willing to stretch yourself in an unfamiliar direction, to try something new or try something in a slightly different way.
You need to open yourself up to the possibilities around you and push yourself to increase what you know, what you do and who you are.
The more open you are to risk, opportunity and possibility the more confident you need to be, and so the more confidence you’ll develop.
So confidence truly is a muscle – the question is, what are you going to do to exercise it?
A great way to start to is aim to do something that scares - but that you've always wanted to do - you every day. Reframe your fear as excitement, knowing that the same chemicals that are causing your fear (sweaty palms, chest constriction, butterflies in your stomach, racing thoughts) are actually giving you the strength to overcome the challenge the lays before you. You are being prepared for something that will help you grow and evolve when you are feeling curious and excited - so learn to view your anticipation for the new and challenging as fuel, and know that you are being given permission by your inner being for you to unleash your inner badass.
Continue to reach outside your comfort zone. This will help you face more and more discomfort which in turn builds your resilience. Resiliency over time, builds confidence!
Stay vibrant beautiful friends!