Confidence is hard to come by and if you have it, people try to take it away. Being confident is not the same as being arrogant no matter what someone else might try to tell you. It’s okay to feel strong, powerful, and confident in yourself and your body’s abilities.
Dealing with negative comments though is a minuscule problem in comparison to actually trying to grow our confidence. It’s not even that we’re taught to be insecure, it’s that being confident takes a lot of work.
And I’m not saying we’re lazy or unwilling to put in work. I’m saying we don’t know where to start with all that work.
Being confident is hard. It’s a complex issue, it really is. When we look at it, we think about losing weight, eating better, standing up for yourself, wearing a bathing suit, standing on top of a mountain at sunset with our arms outstretched.
These aren’t at the core of what confidence is. Confidence is not self-love. There are two different words for a reason.
The definition of confident, as in a confident person, is someone who is self-assured. This means you know your abilities. You know what you can do and what you are capable. It’s the same as saying, “I’m confident that if I let go of this ball, it’ll fall.” You have confidence in that because you know that.
In a similar way, do you think we can be confident in ourselves without knowing ourselves? Without being able to do things?
Do you think that if you sit around all day and do nothing, give half of your best efforts at your job that you will feel confident?
My personal answer is a big fat, no.
I’m a confident person. Where do I get my confidence from? My workouts. My work ethic. What I manage to cram into a full day’s work. I’ve had a lot of self-love issues…a lot. And I used to confuse that with confidence. You can love yourself and not be confident. You can hate yourself and still be confident. It’s weird.
Obviously, we want to love ourselves but that’s a different article for a different day. I like to think that we should all be confident. I’ll say it again: we should all be confident. But I also think that confidence is earned.
Not in a way that excludes people or groups but in a way where each of us has to earn our own confidence. And learn about our own selves. I don’t think it’s fair, or reasonable, to expect to do nothing or put in minimal effort all across the board and expect confidence.
It’s not a reasonable expectation. As we get into this new year, we need to evaluate our expectations of the world and ourselves to see if they’re reasonable and fair or else we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
And there are two big things that are unreasonable:
- Expecting to get your confidence while coasting through
- Expecting others to give you your confidence
Whether you like it or not, confidence comes from you and your perception of yourself. Confidence comes from achievement and from work.
Remember, you can be confident and not like who you are…but confidence does lead to self-love. At least, I think so.
So where does yoga come into play? At what point do we say, “I need to cultivate confidence”? What do we do from there? Because, and I know it well, confidence isn’t easy to obtain.
Well, first things first we have to get up and do something productive and healthy. One great way to do this is yoga. And no, I’m not just saying this because I like yoga.
Yoga isn’t easy
For one, yoga asks you to look at yourself. It asks to spend time with your breath, quiet moments with your thoughts, sweaty moments on the mat, and empty moments of peace. It’s hard. It’s a lot like running in that many people say it’s boring, and I’ll debunk this later, but what it is is that we are unwilling to do what yoga asks.
We have to quiet down and push through with stillness. When you keep falling out of a tricky pose or you aren’t strong enough yet to stay in a pose very long at all, you get really frustrated. That’s the natural reaction. There’s a little voice inside you doubting if you can do it, if you can ever do it. It’s telling you’re going to keep falling.
But what yoga tells you to do, is to focus on your breath instead of your thoughts and come back to the posture. That’s not easy. What that does though is cultivate a sense self-assurance. The longer we do it, the more we realize that we can do it. Even if it feels impossible, we begin to understand that we can continue to push through and we’ll get there.
Yoga makes you work
And it makes you work hard. That effort doesn’t make you think you’re bad at it or that you can’t do it. That hard work tells you that you can do it. You can be determined, hold yourself accountable, push through discomfort. The soreness, the fatigue, the desire to not roll out your mat are all there discouraging you.
But when you keep coming back to the mat, when you keep pushing yourself to be better at yoga, at work, at eating and exercising, at life you feel better. Your brain starts to realize that you can do things. It has a reason to believe in your ability and give you that confidence.
That doesn’t seem unreasonable, does it?
All right, this is my last point even though there are a million and two more. In my latest video (click here), I do a lot of chest openers which are considered power poses. There’s scientific evidence that not hunching over and instead opening up your chest helps cultivate a sense of worth and a feeling of confidence.
Test it out, try it out! If not the video, try rolling your shoulders back and breathing deeply throughout the day. See if it helps you…I sure hope it does!