I've been thinking about confidence, and how even though many folk seem to exude it from every pore, once you get to know them it's a different ball game. I've come across lots of people who are exceptionally articulate when it comes to the written word, but put them in a room full of strangers and they'll fall apart at the seams. Everyone has their demons. Everyone has their story. I know this to be true, because I used to wear a mask of confidence myself.
After a severely dysfunctional childhood, I left home at 15 and spent the next decade in self-destruct mode, hiding behind an inebriated party persona. Scratch the surface, and there was a little girl inside me crying over the fact that she never got to be a kid. That she always had to be the brave one, the grown up one, the successful one. If I am being unflinchingly honest, at my very core back in those days, I hated myself. You would never have guessed it though.
My journey to liking myself and being happy inside my own skin started after hitting rock bottom and realising that I was a weekend-bender away from losing absolutely everything that mattered to me. I went through significant change in all areas of my life to turn it around, and it was only after going through this process that I became happy with what I saw in the mirror. Gone was the mask. I was at long last comfortable just being me. My eldest daughter came along almost three years later, which was enough time to become a whole new and much improved version of my former self.
I'd like to share with you some of the most important changes I made during that process, they helped me so much and I'm sure they could help you too.
Make Peace with your Past
Without truly making peace with what we've gone through before today, no matter how dark and painful it might have been, we will never move forwards and be able to live a brighter tomorrow. Once we have accepted the past and made peace with it, we can start respecting ourselves. I believe this fundamental lack of respect is what drives a lot of our self-destructive and negative behaviour.
Take Stock of Those Around You
There's a saying that we will only ever be as good as the company we keep. If the people around you are dragging you down, even if they are family, it's time to take a break from them. Be it in the short term, for a longer period or for good. Assess what every single person brings to your life and whether you actually want them in it.
Be Honest with yourself about Excessive Drinking
Are you a bit too partial to opening a bottle of vino 'to have one glass' and finishing the entire bottle, then perhaps opening a second? No-one will deny you a couple of drinks on a Friday night to celebrate the weekend, but if you're drinking excessively, and it is negatively impacting other areas of your life, then be honest with yourself. Consider cutting down or stopping altogether for a while. I very nearly crossed the line to no return, and three months of abstinence got me to a place where I could happily have a glass of wine or two and not have to polish off the bottle.
This is more than just a fad to lose a bit of flab for the summer. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is by eating a diet of good quality, mostly natural food. If you have health related problems and eat a poor diet then even more reason to take back control with an overhaul. My biggest recommendations as a starting point will always be to reduce sugar, cut down on refined carbs and eliminate all soft drinks.
Exercise is just as essential as eating well. Going to the gym or working out is great if you have the time, but it doesn't even have to be that complicated. Daily exercise can come in the form of walking instead of driving, using the stairs instead of taking the lift and being aware of your posture. Moving is almost always better than not moving. Unless you are sleeping of course, and in which case my friend you're doing better than me. With three small kids, not much sleep is had in my house!