In my last blog post, I shared a little back story on how I came to view confidence through this lens of being and experiencing rather than as a thing to have. This post is all about tangible strategies you can practice to lean into and become more of yourself.
While it can be challenging to let our true selves out, the more one goes on and benefits from this kind of journey the more motivation there is to keep staying the course.
So, what helps? How can we be unequivocally ourselves?
While I don’t have ALL the answers, I have a few.
1. Practice non-judgmental observation as a standalone skill.
It may be hard to apply this to yourself, your feelings, thoughts, behaviors, so start with something as basic as your bedroom. Try writing a non-judgmental description of what you see, hear, smell, feel in your room.
Work with that for a while then, up the complication factor – try describing an interpersonal interaction you had. Notice where judgment comes up. No need to shame yourself for it, just notice and see if you can edit it.
Keep working on that and when you’re ready consider observing and describing your own feelings or reaction to something in the same level of detail.
2. Get curious about your reactions and see what you can learn from them.
When you have a big reaction to something, whether the outcome of that reaction saved the day or burned bridges, get curious about it.
When we are in the space of reacting to something we are often focused on the situation. If we can notice and get curious about our reaction, then we can gain some insight into our own behavior, projections, patterns, fears, values and so much more. These are rich moments for learning about ourselves.
3. Consider these reactions as parts.
To be unequivocally yourself is to own yourself. But the idea of “owning yourself” can feel a little daunting at times. However, if we view ourselves as a collective of parts – like the confident part, the insecure part, the type A++ part, then it can be easier to own.
4. Adopt a dialectical lens.
Dia-wha? So, a dialectical lens is one that holds two seemingly opposed truths in balance. Expanding on the use of parts, the dialectical view creates space for holding “I am confident” and “I am insecure” in balance with one another. They are both true and both of value and don’t mutually exclude one another.
In case you missed it, the opening line of this section makes use of this. *BOOM* There’s pedagogy for ya.
5. Invite compassion to the party.
This space of self-awareness can get heavy at times. Heavy with analysis, difficult feelings like guilt or shame, remembrances of THE PAST. So, if it’s feeling anything like this, see if you can drum up your compassionate side.
You might start by imagining a moment when you had compassion for someone or something else. Then, see if you can turn that toward yourself. Ask, “what would my compassionate side say or do right now?” See what happens. Practice often.
6. Finally, if you are going to follow anyone, follow someone who leads you back to you.
This is SO important. A lot of people are experts at a lot of things, but no one is an expert at you. You are the expert of yourself. And that is what this is all about. She who is unequivocally herself is someone who stays connected to and continues to learn from her FULL self. From there, she leads herself.
And if you need help in the process? Reach out to a therapist. Therapy is a great place to work on all of this. In fact, one could argue that this is one of the primary goals of therapy. Just sayin.