Strong. Happy. Secure. Smart. Brave. These words describe what it feels like to be a confident teen girl and young adult.
Almost all of the teen girls and young adults I coach want more confidence. They know it fuels feelings of capability and courage. It helps them speak up and create boundaries, which ultimately builds stronger relationships. It fuels feelings of worthiness and prevents them from falling into the downward spiral of doubt and shame.
But, it can be really hard to feel confident as a teen girl and young adult.
On a daily basis, girls encounter outside influences that challenge their confidence–
- Unrealistic standards of beauty and success
- Fairweather friends and FOMO
- Rigorous academic standards and fear of failure
- Social media and endless images of ‘perfection’
The good news is, despite these powerful confidence-challengers, confidence can be cultivated. It takes effort, but with the right intention, attention, and action, confidence will grow and strengthen.
A Confidence Guide for Girls
Developing confidence begins with becoming aware of:
- Who you are (Strengths)
- What you stand for (Values)
- How you think and take control of your thoughts (Mindset)
Who you are
Think of a time that you did something you felt proud of or a time you made a choice that led to a desirable outcome. What do those experiences say about you? What personality traits shone through? What do you secretly (or not so secretly) appreciate about yourself? What traits have helped you overcome a challenge? The answers to these questions reveal your strengths.
Sometimes our strengths are also visible in others. Consider the people you enjoy spending time with. What traits do you admire in them? Do you possess any of those traits?
If you have a hard time finding your strengths, ask a trusted friend or family member. They can help you see what you may not be able to see in yourself.
What you stand for
Your values are found in what really matters to you. Values can include family, friendship, honesty, adventure, or fairness. When you identify what really matters to you, consider how those qualities drive your decisions and how you allow them to shine.
If it’s hard to identify what really matters to you, consider trying the values inventory.
How you think and take control of your thoughts
Your thoughts are the key to your confidence. When you think empowering, confident thoughts you will feel more empowered and confident. When you feel it, you will act on it and people will respond.
One way to identify your confident thoughts is to trace back to a time when you experienced confidence and self-worth. What was the situation? What did you say to yourself about yourself or the situation? This highlights your confident thoughts.
You can also consider the opposite, a time when you experienced a lack of confidence and/or self-doubt. What was the situation? What did you say to yourself about yourself or the situation?
Clearly confident and not-so-confident self-talk are different and one makes you feel a lot better than the other. But also consider the people and environment in your confident and not-so-confident experiences. Did those factors factor into your feelings of confidence?
When you develop an awareness of confident thoughts, along with the people and environments that support your confidence, you have insight into how to set yourself up for success. Choose people, situations, and self-talk that empower your confidence, not steal from it.
Your New Confidence Practices:
- Know Yourself and Be Yourself.
Know your personal strengths and values. Be hyper-aware of the thoughts that create feelings of confidence and those that do not. Remember you have the power to let your strengths and values shine. You have the power to choose thoughts that make you feel strong and confident.
- Love Yourself.
Self-Love is not SELFISH. Too often girls don’t honor and appreciate themselves because they’re afraid of being seen as stuck-up, selfish, or conceited. Telling yourself you look good, feel good, and have amazing unique gifts are easy and powerful ways to cheer yourself up, make friends, be happy, secure, confident, focused, and successful! What are three compliments you can give yourself today?
- Stop Comparing.
It’s natural to notice differences but when you put someone on a pedestal for being different, you inadvertently put yourself down. Instead of comparing yourself, try honoring and celebrating your beauty, talents, values, and interests, and appreciate those gifts in others. When social media starts feeling more like personal abuse than enjoyment, tune out.