Self-confidence is a catch-22.
If you don't feel confident, then you feel anxious and your anxiety causes mistakes. But when you're afraid of feeling anxious and making mistakes, it's very hard to feel confident.
Of course, it is possible to build self-confidence. You can give yourself a pep talk, or straighten your posture, or work on your areas of weakness. But building self-confidence can feel like building a house of cards -- one failure and it all comes crashing down.
Fortunately, there's a better way.
You can't force yourself to feel confident.
But you can choose what to do when you feel afraid -- and you can choose courage.
Fear makes you want to give up.
Fear says "You don't feel confident enough, so just stay home." Fear says "You don't know what you're doing -- so don't even try."
Fear is loud and obnoxious and will come up with a million-and-one reasons why you will never succeed. Fear is a used car salesman who knows that if he stops talking for one second, you'll realize what a terrible deal you're being offered.
Courage says, "Let's give it a shot and see what happens."
Brene Brown said “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
So show up. Start. Begin.
Whether showing up means accepting an invitation to that party or starting a conversation with your coworker or scheduling your first counseling appointment, choose to show up.
You might have zero self-confidence. That's ok -- show up anyway.
You might be absolutely convinced you will fail. That's ok -- show up anyway.
I guarantee that you will fail sometimes. I guarantee that you will show up and get shot down; that you will try to befriend someone and get met with flat rejection.
But I also guarantee that if you don't give up, it will get better.
I guarantee that if you keep reaching out in friendship, you will find people who will reach back. I guarantee that if you keep practicing the skills that are so hard for you, you will get better at them. I guarantee that fear's grip on you will loosen every time you fight back.
I guarantee that you will become courageous.
Don't wait for self-confidence.