The New Confidence code
A few months ago a young girl wrote to me to say that she did not want to go to college. She said she had lost her confidence and wanted to know how to find it and be able to feel good again. I wrote back and explained that I was not a psychologist or psychiatrist and that she should seek help if she was really have having difficulties, and I also told her of some of the tricks I used to boost my confidence. After a while, she wrote back. She was so appreciative and said that she had used some of the tools that I had recommended, and that she had found someone at school that she could talk and was doing much better.
Some of us are genetically born more confident than others. From the moment we pop out of our mothers we just have it intrinsically within our make up. Some of us have had parents who have expertly guided us to become more confident. Through clever parenting and patience they have managed to turn their young into confident adults. Some parents, often through no fault of their own, are unable to teach us the necessary skills to feel good about ourselves in life, and of course some of us people have had parents and or caregivers who have managed to knock the confidence out of us.
I remember seeing a group of young boys sitting on a big Cotswold stone wall in my home town of Witney. They were a good looking bunch and the dark haired lad at the end was actually from my class. I was 11 years old and walking the scenic route home which took a little longer but allowed me to go to the tuck shop to buy my favourite sweets.. sherbet lemons.
I crunched down hard on the boiled sweet in my mouth and the powdery bit in the middle slightly stung my tongue. I looked up towards the boys as I became level with them and heard them whispering to each other. The whispers started getting louder and then turned into giggles and the giggles soon exploded into fits of laughter.
I began to feel my heart thudding heavily in my chest, my breathing became shallow and my step quickened. Had they been laughing at me? Was it something that I was wearing? The way that I walked. Was it the colour of my skin, or was it because of my thick black curly hair? My head started whizzing with which of the things they were laughing at. Should I change my hair, clothes, walk differently?… Where they definitely laughing at me?
This story was a regular occurrence. I had a non existent level of confidence, I was paranoid and insecure with little self-worth and self esteem. 30 plus years later and my levels of confidence have increased, I still struggle from time to time today, but through things like experience, therapy, workshops and books I have accumulated a tool kit of exercises and habits which I can use to make my self feel better. Confidence is an interesting thing, it comes and goes at different times in life and with different situations. We can go to brimming with it at one point in one area and then barely able to string to words together with another.
It got me thinking. What if I could share my experiences of anxiety, low-self esteem and low self-confidence over the years What if I visited teenagers and young adults around UK schools, and shared what I had learned and talked about these issues, in the hope that what I have been through may resonate with them and even help them through some challenging times?
I love making TV shows, eating, hosting and judging but I also know that this is only part of my path. I know that the difficulties I experienced in my early and formative years can and should be channeled into some thing more positive. I believe this for anyone who has suffered. If you can find meaning in what you go through then this can help others and also bring about more healing and understanding for the self too. I know I went through these times so that I can use them to help others who may be suffering, to feel better and lead happier more fulfilling lives. I realise that this is part of my purpose.
This summer I tweeted asking people if they would like me to visit their school. I explained that I would be talking about confidence and self-esteem. I was inundated with schools and picked a handful to visit last week. It was such an honour to meet such bright, brilliant and inspiring young adults ( the talks were directed sixth formers aged 16-18).
The talks lasted around 18 minutes and were more a conversation from my heart than a lecture. They were then followed by a Q and A or an “Ask me Anything” where the students asked me fun questions which ranged from what was my skin care routine was (which I will post another time!) to dealing with anxiety and stress.
My 5 points in the talk are:
- Confidence is a muscle
- Find a Confidence Confidante
- Focus on your strengths
- Positive self-talk
- It’s okay not to be okay.
Listen to the talk here:
Do have a listen and let me know what you think. I am going to spend the next few months talking to experts and doing lots of research on the topic and hope to do more talks in the January term.
Everyone suffers from low-self esteem and related issues at some point in their lives, whether it is to mark the end of a relationship, not getting into the university or of not being clear about our direction in life. I Love a good quote and this is such a good mantra … Confidence is not ‘they will like me’ Confidence is ‘ I will be fine if they don’t’.
For the 17 minute talk on my 5 confidence boosting tips for increased self-belief and happiness and the life lessons I experienced to learn Listen here
Ps: If you find a typo let me know, thanks x