All Articles Tagged "confidence"
We’ve all heard the phrase “Fake it until you make it,” but sometimes it can be easier said than done. If you’ve worked hard and waited longer than you would like to reap the benefits of that hard work, it can be hard to “fake it.” Sometimes life can put you in a situation where you don’t feel great about the way things are going and you’re struggling to get the ball rolling. And while you can’t pretend your way though every part of life, faking it until you make it in the following situations really can work. When it comes to these things on your “want” list, acting like you already have them in your possession can help to bring them your way.
We all know that people smile when they’re happy. But did you know that smiling can even make you happy? Studies show that cheesing even when you don’t mean it can actually help change your outlook.
People don’t always realize the power of words. You may not think that you do much harm by putting yourself down because just because you say something bad about yourself, doesn’t make that bad thing true—right? Well. Yes and no. When you say negative things about yourself, you start to push your own ideas of yourself on to other people. But what’s more is that, when you hear yourself say negative things about yourself out loud, those ideas slip even deeper into your subconscious, and come out in your behavior. In other words, putting yourself down can be a form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s worse is that this behavior can attract the wrong people. Like men looking for women with low self-esteem who they feel they can control and mold. It can also attract sad, unstable people because they believe you’re just as unstable. A lot of people don’t even realize they put themselves down.But if you’re regularly saying the following things you’re doing just that.
Even though Black Women are the most educated group in the United States, we still don’t occupy nearly enough slots in the higher ranks of the corporate world and major organizations. Of course, this is due in large part to racism and sexism, but there’s another culprit: Black women are not flexing their talents and are afraid to shine, some experts say.
And that is exactly what business strategist and success mentor Allyson Byrd wants Black women to stop doing. Byrd, who calls herself a Profit Accelerator, works with women to not only take control of their finances and careers but also their self-esteem, helping them accept their brilliance and not to hide their talents and achievements.
“I think first of all that people in general like to hide their brilliance, so it’s not just a Black thing but I think that Black women are taught to been seen and not heard and not get involved in ‘grown people business,”’ Byrd explained to us. “So we have to realize, for one, we are grown up, and two we don’t have to be apologetic about our gifts.”
Women in general, not just Black women, sometimes think they need to hide their talents. According to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson in an article for Psychology Today, women “judge our own abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than men do.” Furthermore, from a young age, found studies, young girls, as young as grade school students, are made to seem “unusual” if they are “too” smart, and this makes them feel more vulnerable and less confident. Even in school, noted Halvorson, boys are encouraged by teachers and parents to excel more than girls are.
“We continue to carry these beliefs, often unconsciously, around with us throughout our lives. And because bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves–women who will prematurely conclude that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena, and give up way too soon,” she wrote.
Add to this the societal norm of not bragging, and women become very slow to boast of their achievements. “All people don’t want to be seen as braggarts, but you need to own your achievements, own your skills,” Byrd said. “We all have a stage in life and if we don’t take center stage in our own life, then others will–or family or circumstances–and when this happens you are not living your life for yourself.”
Byrd knows what she is talking about. She went through tough times when she didn’t own her brilliance. At one point in her life she was living on food stamps. And this happened soon after she started her own company, the Byrd Agency. Obviously something wasn’t working and Byrd had to revamp her business strategy. Now, as CEO of Money Movers International, her company does business worldwide–from Thailand and Sri Lanka to Moscow and the British Virgin Islands. Before she became a success, Byrd had to not only revamp her business plan, but also her way of thinking, as the way you think can hinder your brilliance, she said. Primarily, you have to get rid of “occupational thinking,” she advised, which is staying with what’s safe and not taking career risks.
“First you have to identify the way you think, and if you have occupational thinking, you need to identify a way to get out of your safety zone. Think about what you really want out of life, if you could have everything you want. Then you have to take the steps to reach those goals. But also think outside of the four walls of school; there are other ways to learn new skills and get experience, such as a life skills group.”
When it comes to your career and your industry you also need to ask, “Do you hear me?” “Do you see me?” And “do I matter?” If the answer is “no,” you have to work on making yourself visible, not invisible, Byrd said. Do this by flexing your skill sets–start a blog, go on the speaking circuit, comment on social media about issues in your industry. In other words, speak out and speak up. Next, look at who you have around you. Does your social circle include a lot of naysayers, who shoot down your ideas? If so, it’s time to weed them out. “Evaluate who is in your community. If you hang around people who don’t want to hang out in the sunlight, then you will feel uncomfortable talking about achievements and goals,” noted Byrd. Surround yourself with positive and forward thinking people who design their own futures. They will understand your career and life desires and encourage you.”
You should also work on your growth in other areas of life as well, Byrd added. “A lot of career experts leave this out, but if you don’t grown spiritually, then you won’t grow at all,” she explained. “And I’m not talking about going to church. Look beyond the walls of the church for your spiritual growth. It could be doing yoga, meditation. You have to try something you have never done before. Go for the promotion you’ve been thinking about but didn’t dare.”
And most important, realize you don’t have to accomplish any of this alone. “I try to have mentors for every aspect of my life–a mentor for my health and wellness, a mentor for my business, a spiritual mentor, a finance mentor,” said Byrd. “I also recommend changing mentors every 90 days. This is what I do, and it’s great. Imagine having all these great opinions and advice in your circle and your circle keeps growing. Mentors can help you define and find your brilliance.”
Growing up in the spotlight, it’s pretty much assumed that most stars were born with an innate gene of soaring confidence. Wrong. Simply, celebrities are just like you and I, humans who have hopes, dreams and fears, too.
However, after adapting to life in the public eye, many master the art of confidence quite well, portraying a persona many individuals either idolize or are inspired by. For songstress Kelly Rowland, having boss-like confidence starts from within with peace, focus and strength.
“If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else,” the mother and wife said in a recent interview with Allure.
Rowland also chats about the importance of feeling and looking your best, reminiscing on how her short hair days during Destiny’s Child was a statement of her individuality. As she grew older and stepped into the spotlight as a solo star, she switched things up and opted for the sultry and sexy bang ‘do that showed her growth. “I made 30-something happen.” she exclaims. “Yeah, feeling myself!”
Continue watching the interview as Rowland talks having boss-like confidence during a yoga, a pedi and a facial.
Raise your hand if you have goals you’re trying to achieve. Now raise the other hand if you’d get there faster if the struggle wasn’t oh so real.
“Just do it” worked as a Nike slogan, but just putting in the work to accomplish your goals can be harder than it sounds. The trouble? Sometimes willpower can be kind of fickle. It’s right there when you need to wake up early for a morning meeting on no sleep, but nowhere to be found when you walk past the vending machine an hour before lunch and end up buying junk food you have no business munching on.
But there are ways to turn up your willpower whenever you need it to work for you. All you need is a little bit of practice.
Let me start by apologizing to my fellow womenfolk. Yesterday, I was guilty of casting the darkness of my own self-consciousness onto other people, attempting to shame others as they did what I couldn’t.
Here’s how it went down.
It was yet another stifling day thanks to a heatwave that has been going on since last week in NYC. And yet, I didn’t mind breaking a sweat in the gym yesterday. I had eaten myself out of house and home to celebrate my birthday and I decided that I needed to exercise.
As I walked into my gym, it felt comfortable enough. In comparison to the church service I’d just come from inside of an oven, it was pretty cold in the facility. Still, I looked up upon entrance and noticed that one young woman had chosen to run on the treadmill in her sports bra and shorts. “Interesting,” I thought to myself before proceeding to a treadmill. During my workout, I would notice another woman in her sports bra. And then another. By the time I finished doing strength training, another had come in the group classroom to stretch and check out her body in the mirror. On the way out, one more was doing leg presses in her bralette.
It was like the 1999 World Cup all over again.
But because I missed the memo that women in my co-ed gym were going to be forgoing shirts, I couldn’t get on board. I started shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and assuming that they were just trying to be seen by the many men working out in the section of the facility roped off for weight training. Or worse, they were trying to be those people who go out of their way to show off their perfect bodies while everybody else, fully clothed, is still working on their own.
When I went home and talked to my fiancé about it, his response was “Maybe they were hot? It is like 94 degrees.” However, I didn’t believe it, saying instead “The air was on … They were just doing too much.”
But earlier today, while looking at the Instagram profile of Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks and admiring images of her confidently showing off her stomach and representing for “#thickgirls” in this heat, I ran across a recent picture of her in the gym and had a change of heart:
When speaking on why she decided to start working out sans shirt, Brooks said last year that it was to show herself some love:
Hey 💜rs, Today I decided to do something I’ve never done before: Go to the gym with my SHIRT OFF!! 🙊 I thought I’d share why this is significant for me. I’ve always wanted to do this but have felt shameful and have told myself “until my body is perfect I’m forbidden.” Today my inner being told me to turn up the notch on my self-love. I should not be ashamed of my body. I’m not a walking imperfection! I’m a Goddess. Secondly, I’m a confident woman! That doesn’t stop once I take off my spanx. Lol Sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes I don’t like what I see, but I have the power to change the way in which I relate to my body both physically and mentally. Today I woke up feeling beautiful and motivated to love myself and take care of the ONE body that I’ve been given. I’m not saying World take your shirt off, twist it round your head, spin it like a helicopter🎶, (lol) I’m saying everyone live in your confidence. One Life. One Body. Take Care of It. With 💜, DanieB #voiceofthecurves #yesmythighstouch #lovethyself #beautyinandout #goddess #imabadshutyomouth #ivebeeneatingmygreens #thickathanasnika
A photo posted by Danielle Brooks (@daniebb3) on
And just like that, I realized I was being the biggest hater. I was so pressed about why other people were comfortably walking around free and happy with no shirt on because I know I’m not 100 percent comfortable enough to do it. I had tried it once, taking off my shirt during that intense STRONG Zumba class I told you about a few weeks ago. Still, I only decided to shed my top because the air wasn’t blowing hard enough, other women had started doing it, and there was only one guy in the class. But to confidently press on in a sports bra in front of a gaggle of men? I’m just not there. I’d rather be in my head.
And if that’s not enough, I’ve also battled with being comfortable in something as simple as a crop top in the gym. Whether I’m worried about a pudge forming when I dip down into a squat, or concerned someone is taking my boost in self-confidence as an attempt to make them feel bad about how far they may need to go in the gym, I’m never fully comfortable.
What I had to understand was that I had inadvertently become one of those people watching others, individuals clearly not worried about the opinions of strangers, and projecting my issues onto them. Despite losing weight and making progress on the outside, I still have a ways to go, that I didn’t initially realize, to feel fully secure on the inside, in my own skin. Until I can, the last thing I need to do is come for people and the decisions they choose to make in their own dermis.
The standard of beauty in America has long plagued the Black woman. From back in the day, rail thin was in and sisters with curves were often-times left out into the cold. Fast forward to the present day, you have Kim Kardashian getting praised for her assets and more and more Black women going through the rigors of plastic surgery to get a bigger booty. If one more person says Serena Williams is mannish, I am going to scream.
But, I got news for you. some of us men go through similar things.
I subscribe to two magazines – Esquire and GQ. As time has gone on, I have evolved as a man and want my style to reflect that. The only issue is, I cannot find anybody in these magazines that look like me. The models are all super thin, extra fit and exclusively wear “slim fit” clothing of all sorts. These dudes are perfect in every European way – even the ones with melanin.
I have managed to maintain my weight, driven by an aspirational need to stay in line with what is seen as attractive and my own dreaded self-loathing.
Most men won’t admit it, but a lot of us simply hate ourselves.
One of my homegirls called me out on that after telling me that she had finally discovered self love. For men, it comes out in different ways, I believe. For example, some dudes will totally stop caring that their belly could give Santa a run for diabetes. Hello, dad bod. Others stop buying new clothing when they get married and then can be seen wearing 2000’s Karl Kani or something. They chalk it up to getting older, being too busy or simply being wore down to the very last compound.
To keep it 100, I have always been hyper sensitive about my size and physique and it has dominated my approach to women, socializing, the beach, and just about every facet of life. At one point in my life, I couldn’t even take a compliment until somebody told me to just say, “thank you,” and shut up after that.
Only recently have I started to get better. But think about it…
From when we are kids, super heroes with bulging muscles and spandex have come to represent higher manhood. Then, it turns real through Hollywood with dudes like Arnold and Stallone. Then, rappers like LL Cool J. Sure, some dudes rejected these standards like Biggie Smalls, but the standards remain. Our esteem is constantly under siege. I know it is seen as a wholly negative, but I do my best to accept the challenge. I push my fitness as much as I can, eating right and staying dope as much as I can. Sadly, I want to look as good as I can when I transition after life on this Earth.
It is a delicate juggling act of self esteem and health.
Listen. Men aren’t going to admit to this. We care even when it seems we don’t. Some dudes from the younger generation may, as they tend to be thinner and oftentimes less inclined to adhere to those stereotypical standards of masculinity. I idolized Batman, Superman and The Hulk before Malcolm, Martin and Mandela. I think some of this mental superhuman strength is necessary to be real. A dude and I had a candid conversation and he said, “Who is going to defend the women when America breaks out in war?” He then lightly punched me in the shoulder as if to say, “Yeah…sturdy people like me and you.” I know that is a whole ‘nother conversation, but I’m just saying…
We have to stop the bleeding and defy the presumed contradictions. I definitely want my daughter to love herself in a way that I did not, but I also want her to be health conscious in a way that escaped me as a youngster. I want to be that super hero to her, but also a flawed human, too. She’s got to learn that what the Creator gave her is enough and that’s something that I have to wrestle with as women whistle at Idris Elba. I have never wished I was Idris. I wished I was his best buddy, but not him.
I’m enough too.
Yeah – sniff, sniff – I’m enough too.
Here Are 5 Ways You Can Feel Good, Dad!
1. Work out.
I know I am never going to have the body of my favorite superhero, The Incredible Hulk. But, like I said, this is aspirational. This means, I continue an endless quest towards being in shape. This means, I willingly workout knowing I’ll never slip into the overweight Chuck that used to fill me with self-loathing. Work out, man!
2. Pose In The Mirror
I know this sounds a bit silly, but do it. There are studies that say posing in a powerful position actually makes your stronger and boosts confidence. When I was a kid, I walked with a slump. They always told me I would been a hunchback by the time I got older. Clearly, I am not the Hunchback of New York now, but I feel it was reflective of my state of mind then.
3. Accept The Compliment
You might think you are wack, but you don’t need to tell everybody! I never thought I was wack, but for whatever reason, I was unable to accept compliments. I just didn’t believe that the person was telling the truth. Now, I give them. I know it also makes others feel better, particularly if it is from a genuine place.
4. Dress For Success
Women know this – knock ‘em dead! Men tend to hold on to the same suit for year and years, forgetting that men’s styles do change even if we don’t. So, force change upon yourself and do different things that illicit a reaction from people. Sure, it’s outside stimuli but it builds you up, just as other influences can tear you down.
5. Accept Who You Are
I have my dad’s body now. Now, I love my dad, but there are parts of him I have been trying to avoid. However, as I get older, embrace the “man weight” – that inevitable scoundrel that creeps up on many of us. People that truly know me, know that I’m very uncomfortable in my own skin, but even that is a part of myself that I embrace. Hell, I am all about the work – in career and in life. I enjoy it but own the notion that it is a process. However, being honest, I don’t want my kid to go through the inner turmoil so hopefully she will pick up the newer me, not the old me. It has been fairly recently that I have truly learned how to smile with genuine happiness behind it. Life ain’t perfect or fair and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be.
The skin on her face was blotchy and ashy. In fact it was an unnatural, almost ghostly shade of gray – several shades lighter than the cocoa-brown hand that gave me back my change. I looked at the young cashier with pity and choked back an urge to reach out and hug the poor, misguided girl. She couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, and already she’d bleached the hell out of her skin.
I see it at all levels daily. Whether it’s the local grocery store cashier intentionally robbing herself of the beautiful melanin God gave her, or a singer transforming herself into someone we don’t even recognize through cosmetic surgery, we women are sending the same strong message to the world. We’re shouting (not whispering), “Hello, world! We are women and we are NOT happy with ourselves!”
I find it tremendously sad that we women, who are easily the most naturally amazing creatures on the planet, refuse to accept ourselves. Maybe we’ve just succumb to the sick images that the media is constantly feeding us. But at some point we have to slap ourselves and realize how insane these messages are. You don’t see men running around bleaching their skin, changing their weaves like they change their underwear, squeezing into Spanx and embarking on crazy fad diets in hopes to whittle away their pounds. No! I don’t care if a man is fat, wrinkled, bald and hairy. He smiles, sticks out his chest and chooses to accept himself just the way he is. And we all applaud and say, “Now, there goes a really confident guy. He’s got swag. I like it.”
Well, I think it’s high time that we women make a conscious decision to accept ourselves and love our gorgeous flaws. I, for one, am on a pilgrimage to be happy with myself. I invite you to go on this self-acceptance journey with me by:
Step 1. Being more forgiving of yourself. When I make mistakes, I’ll look at them as just that – mistakes. Not catastrophes and not major downfalls. I’m not the superwoman the media tells me that I need to be. I’m beautifully human. The more that I forgive myself, the more I’ll love myself inside and out.
Step 2. Working with what you’ve got. Maybe I’m not a gorgeous supermodel. My gray hairs are starting to grow quicker than my dark brown hairs. And my skin’s youthful glow is beginning to dim just a bit. But guess what – I’m still fabulous. Just the more mature model of what the Creator made me to be. I’ll accept the changes that come with time and work what I’ve got!
Step 3. Celebrate your accomplishments large and small. Like many women, I often focus on what I haven’t done. As I stare at my life’s endless to do list, it’s easy to be dissatisfied with who I am and what I’ve done. Instead, I’ll refocus my attention on what I have been able to accomplish. I’m pretty amazing, and worth celebrating. I bet you are too!
Step 4. Tell myself that I’m beautiful and mean it. I’ll no longer wait for compliments from others. Let’s face it, sometimes they just don’t come. I’ll look at myself everyday with loving eyes and compliment myself. I will tell myself that I am beautiful, smart, kind and loved. And the love and acceptance that I give myself will be enough.
Will you take this self-acceptance journey with me? What steps are you going to take to be happy with yourself?
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter at @YolandaDarville.
By Dara Tafakari
The other night, I watched my daughter be free. She splashed in the water like a little duckling, feet kicking blithely. Before I could stop her, she dunked the back of her plaited head into her bubble bath and grinned up at me. I groaned. She was completely unbothered that her hair was now wet. Then I smiled back at her, because she is a little Black girl who is completely unbothered that her hair is wet.
And when she runs through the house giggling without a stitch of clothing on, I remind myself that she will not always be this unfettered. So I let her…for a moment. (Potty training is The Struggle, for real.)
At some point in our childhoods we leave behind that impulse to be naked to the world. Maybe we leave it crumpled on the floor in the bathroom one night and forget to pick it back up. The self that emerges is tremulous against the cold stares of society. Is my skin too dark? Am I good enough? Can anybody love me as I am? When I look at the woman I am now and the little girl I carried for 10 months, I hope she never knows shame like I have.
Shame disempowers rather than strengthens.
But I know she will. It is a rite of passage of sorts, especially for girls who will become women, to begin to fold yourself into unobtrusive flatness. We spend so much of our childhood unlearning the freedom that clothed us when we first arrived here. Then we spend our adulthood trying to get it back.
Before my exuberant Bean starts to diminish her own light to match the dim watts she sees, I desperately want her to inherit these lessons. I wish for her to wear them like armor against the capriciousness of the world that awaits her.
Always congratulate yourself on your accomplishments. Toddlers know no humility and it is refreshing. Whenever Bean achieves something–and I mean anything, be it small or monumental–she is immensely proud of herself. “I DID IT!” she shrieks. We applaud, we shower her with “yaaaaaaays” and “yaaaaaaassss,” we feed her desire to feel good about her capability. Before she is surrounded by a classroom where standing out in achievement means Difference and derision, I want her to always take pride in her abilities.Get your hair wet, baby girl. And I don’t mean that in the chastising sense where people fix their mouths to say Black girls and women don’t exercise. I mean that I want her to know the sheer joy of snorkeling in the ocean, curls plastered to her cheeks when she whips her head back to the sky. That feeling where she derives more fun from play than perfection? That.
Enjoy your culture. Let the beat drop on her favorite Yo Gabba Gabba tune, and Bean lets out a timely, “AYYYYYYYYE!” She doesn’t know that’s a cultural marker. She just knows that when you feel the beat, you make it known. She will dance to anything with a djembe or an 808 or a break beat or a foot stomp. Africa lives in her steps.
Your womanhood is softness and it is strength. Nakedness is the one thing we cannot escape about ourselves, yet so many of us hate our naked bodies. This shame. Who taught us this relentless apology for curves and pubic hair and stretch marks and the audacity of our breasts to obey gravity as we age? I cannot even dislodge the word vagina from my mouth without blushing. This is no way to be a woman, to have parts unspeakable–I was not crafted to be malediction in the mouths of men. I pray that my daughter learns herself deeply, loves herself thoroughly, and revels in the parts that make her a woman.
For the full list head over to TrulyTafakari.com
For more from wife, mama and word ninja Dara Tafakari, check out trulytafakari.com where you can find Dara’s writing on the crazy collisions of life, race, popular culture, and the occasional nerd activity–with an offbeat dose of humor and clarity.
Uh oh! It looks like we may have overshot things a little in our effort to make our kids feel better about themselves.
A study conducted by Ohio State University suggests that constantly praising your child for everything he or she does is slowly turning him into a narcissist. We know, the word sounds a little harsh when referring to a child. But according to the study, what many parents are doing to boost their children’s self-esteem, making everything that their kids do seem special and worthy of either praise or a prize; even the things that they’re supposed to do in life (Think: Chris Rock’s “You want a cookie?!”), is actually hurting them.
The goal may be to raise more confident children who are secure in who they are, but what we may be doing is creating the most egotistical generation ever. And that can’t be good.
The study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested two theories as to why some kids turn into narcissists: Was it from being “over-valued” by their parents (Yes, there is such a thing and we’ve all seen those kids and those parents.); or was it the children that had parents who withheld warmth and affection who were more prone to exhibit narcissistic behavior; perhaps in an attempt to compensate for what they weren’t getting emotionally?
After examining close to 600 children age 7-12 in four six-month waves, the group developed reports on child narcissism, child self-esteem, parental overvaluation, and parental warmth. What did they find?
As it turned out — not so surprisingly — it was the kids whose parents provided the most praise who appeared to show the signs of narcissism; internalizing their parents’ lofty views of them, and expecting others to see them in the same way.
“People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others,” co-author of the study, Brad Bushman, told Forbes magazine. Semantics? Sure. But according to Bushman, the difference is crucial. And it’s just as crucial for parents to understand that difference.
“Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others,” he explains. “That may not be good for them or for society.”
So what’s the best way to raise children who feel that they’re as good as and not necessarily better than others?
Is “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” considered crossing the line?!
The high self-esteem that parents are striving to instill in their children may be just as simple as giving them affection and support; not an over-inflation of their talents; not always telling them that they’re the best (it’s never too early to teach the word “humility”); and especially not celebrating all of the things that they’re supposed to do.
Tell us what you think MommyNoire! Do you agree that kids are more narcissistic these days, or should we be celebrating the rise in self-esteem…even if it may be going a little too high?