Six Ways to Build Confidence
February 10, 2015
Posted By: Shaunescy
WRITTEN BY STACEY TOMPKINS
It’s not easy, being a woman. Being female seems sufficient reason to be judged, criticized, shamed, bullied or worse. It’s sad to witness a woman being cruel and judgmental toward another woman, and yet this happens often. Women are the harshest critics of each other, am I right? We undermine and sabotage with looks, comments, gossip and manipulative behavior, a sort of gender cannibalism.
This nonsense can be turned around, because whatever we learn, we can unlearn.
What if each of us owned our insecurities, took responsibility for our own emotional world and tended it as if our happiness depended on it (because it does)? What if each of us was able to be kind and supportive toward each other? How could self-awareness and kindness shift everything?
Here are six ways:
1. Put the brakes on judgment
When I notice myself judging another woman – her crazy hair, her loud laugh, her fake way, her flashy clothes (or whatever) – I stop for a minute and find something about this person to admire. I find one sparky thing that is worthy of a sincere head nod. Everyone has something, so I make it my job to find it. What if all our interactions began with finding that one thing? What if we lifted each other up with the easy miracle of finding the beauty, the goodness and the gift of another person?
2. It’s not a competition; it’s a shared experience
There is a Buddhist saying: Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared. What if we included others in our own happiness, and welcomed them into our haven of contentment? What if we expanded our circle? Go ahead, invite that neighbor for tea. Include the new person on a hike. Reach out and connect. This might create a moment of unexpected understanding or new friendship.
3. Abundance vs. Scarcity
There is enough to go around, there is absolutely plenty for everybody. If someone else has a good relationship, an amazing experience, a beautiful home, a hot body, it doesn’t diminish what you have or what you are. The more joy, the more joy. The more beauty, the more beauty. What if it’s true that we can all have what we need, and be who we are? A wise person once said comparison is the root of all suffering. I wholeheartedly agree. Admiring another opens channels for feeling safe and unthreatened.
4. Power and Status
Everyone has a need to feel his or her own power; this starts early in life. “Do it myself,” and “No!” are the hallmarks of toddlerhood, where independence begins. In a healthy developing human, autonomy grows from there. If one is stopped from experiencing their full measure, or if they have been trained to be helpless and forego taking risk in order to serve others or do what they’re told, well then, it becomes compelling to judge those who do own their gifts, step into their power and look others square in the eye. Find and embrace your own power and you’ll be able (and super excited) to appreciate when you witness someone’s badassness.
5. Projection, the unconscious poison
You’ve heard it before. When someone rubs you the wrong way, chances are it’s because of a pesky little thing called projection. Projection introduces the likelihood that you aren’t taking responsibility for your own emotional world. Chances are you are shoveling your unappealing emotions onto someone else, and then blaming them for the ickiness. Everyone does it; so don’t beat yourself up. The only way to stop this freight train of relationship death is to be aware of it. When you’re feeling utterly annoyed by someone, ask yourself, Do I do this? Am I XYZ? Could it be that I’m seeing myself, and finding it unnerving? Probably. Check it out. Be honest.
6. Belonging to the mean group sucks, for you
The temporary high I get when I criticize another is a quick fix of triangulation that ultimately leaves me deflated, suffering with a shame hangover. Once I’ve been vulnerable and experienced true connection, the gossipy “I-am-better-than-you” nonsense feels like mud pie appetizers. Why participate when I can have the spicy spring rolls of life by getting real, or walking away when the toxic gossip begins? Life is too short; let’s leave the catty nonsense in the middle school hallway and go camping with friends. Let’s dance around the fire and talk about our dreams.
There are immeasurable ways to show up and be a great friend. How do you support your women (and men) friends? I’d love to hear.
Stacey Tompkins lives in downtown Bozeman with her elderly mutt, two teenage daughters and one energetic husband. She is an irrepressible writer and loves working with individuals and couples as a life coach through her business, Sungate Integral Coaching (406-570-1304 or tompkins.stacey@ gmail.com).