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Have you ever had your confidence go MIA?  

Maybe it was the jitters before a big social event, like a class reunion, or a critical meeting. Perhaps you were meeting someone for the first time or stepping out of your comfort zone in some way…

And even though you are a grown adult who has been in hundreds of situations where you had to be your best self, sometimes your illusive self-assuredness goes AWOL!

What’s the deal?

I recently addressed an exceptional group of about 200 teens and their private comments had a common denominator:  they thought they weren’t good enough, they thought they might be rejected, they feared they would not be accepted, they worried that they looked weird, or would seem awkward.

One said, “I want to have charisma.”

Hmmm. Charisma?  

Sound familiar?

Merriam-Webster defines the meaning of a charismatic person being: 

“A person who possesses special traits that attract, inspire, or fascinate other people: a person possessing charisma.” 

Traits that describe great charismatics are those individuals who turn heads and dominate a room.

Even as accomplished adults, dealing with a situation where we have to meet new people, or be in a position where we feel exposed to others who we think are more accomplished (more powerful, more attractive, smarter, and the list goes on) can make even the most confident person feel insecure

For this younger generation, “fitting in” isn’t just a requirement but appears to be monumentally critical to their self-esteem.

All of us, regardless of age, face that “less than” wave of insecurity when we feel inferior. But as I coached these beautiful kids, I had to share the reality that not everyone will like them or think they are attractive, because everybody likes something different. 

The issue comes down to  where can you get authentic, positive reinforcement?

Here’s a hint:  It’s an inside job…

Telling a person they are beautiful, wonderful, fun, smart, etc. may not hit home because they can’t hear you as they run their own “story” in their head. Somewhere along the line they were told something different, and although it might have been accurate at that time, they allow a careless comment to define them, which shows up in a lack of confidence and an endless game of second guessing. 

Women are relentlessly critical of themselves. If you aren’t convinced, note that 9 BILLION dollars was spent last year alone on all things enhancing:  personal trainers, cosmetics, hair, Botox, fillers, mani’s, pedi’s, and yes, even surgical enhancements.  Despite all of that, women still generally have flimsy self-confidence.

So how can we break this cycle?

It’s important to remember that a comment from another person may have an unintended impact.  When you are told by a respected adult or professional that you are “less than, too big, too small, unattractive according to their ideals, this should not crash our self-value or self-esteem, as it is simply an opinion. But it is all too easy to internalize a dialogue that really has nothing to do with us!

Why do we continue to give our power away?

Therapy and mentoring can help, but the real shift has to happen in our minds. When that ugly internal chatter starts to point out our negative traits or shortcomings, we need to interrupt that story, and put it where it the garbage!

One of the most effective affirmations shared with me was: “Thank you, but that thought doesn’t serve me anymore.”

If you were fat then and not now, that thought doesn’t serve you anymore.

If you were rejected by a loser, acknowledge that, and change the story with a positive message that it was a great lesson learned, and moving forward you now know more of what you want in a partnership.

Think about it.

The perceptions of another human are just that….human! Furthermore, those perceptions are from their personal perspective and are frequently  biased and inaccurate based on their “filters” and the internal messages they have.

Being told you are “profoundly unattractive” sounds brutal, but if the comment is made by someone who thinks goth is beautiful and that’s not your style, consider the source.  

People who love us (like parents and family members) may believe they are giving you good feedback on everything from your looks, ability to find a partner, getting hired at your dream job and so on, but that input frequently feels hurtful, and it’s easy to feel rejected and lose self-confidence as a result. Again, you have to understand that those comments are simply another person’s opinion and may not be YOUR truth at all. Other comments are intended to be hurtful.   When that happens, go back to your own core values that you believe about yourself and thank them for their perspective and move on.

Confidence is a lot like a thermostat.  Make sure yours stays on high and your charisma will shine ?.   More info:

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