Hey, My Name’s Victoria, and I’m…

…Apparently confident!

Someone I don’t really know that well stopped me the other day and told me that they loved how confident I was. I was taken aback. I knew I didn’t lack confidence per se, but I always thought I could have done with a little bit more, especially when it involves taking personal matters into my own hands. Apparently, confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear…

I went home and played that line over in my head over and over again (I have the tendency to do this when things catch me off guard or perplex me). I had to go over what being confident actually meant and what it meant to me.

Yes, I’m 100% confident in my job. An unconfident teacher shouldn’t be a teacher. But standing up in front of a class of teenagers is totally different to facing life on a day-to-day basis…

The basic dictionary definition of confidence is having belief in oneself and one’s abilities or powers. Its strongest synonyms are self-reliance, self-confidence, and assurance.

When I look at the textbook definition of confidence, I’d say hell yeah, that person was actually right – I am confident – WOW! I would’ve never thrown myself into that category, but I’m pleased that they made me recognise it.

There are some people out there that ooze confidence, but there’s a fine line between being confident and arrogant, and that’s one thing I don’t have time for – arrogant people.

We all know one or two people who can just walk into a room and it just lights up. You know that girl, who’s not necessarily a stunner, who just sparkles, the girl who everyone gravitates towards…she’s the girl we all want to be!

Confidence, in my opinion, should be a silent thing. It shouldn’t be a thing we broadcast, but these few words from a person I hardly know got me thinking…what is it about confidence and what exactly is it?

After probably over-analysing everything a little too much like I usually do, I came to the conclusion that having confidence is not only sexy, but it’s also essential to survival.

Confidence is beautiful and because it means believing in yourself and your abilities it also leads to a lot more competence. It’s a catch-22 – when you believe more in what you can do and your abilities you’ll be able to do a lot more, you’ll accomplish! Then of course this leads to other things…your confidence instils other people’s beliefs – they then have more faith in you and thus they’ll end up giving you more of what it is that you truly desire.

I love the fact that I’ve been complimented on my sparkle – it’s possibly one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received, which is why I brainstormed some easy ways to unleash that inner sparkle, and it’s pretty easy…

Cut the Comparisons

Franklin Roosevelt famously once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and how right he was. Women are the worst – I know I’ve been there. She’s prettier, thinner, more successful, wealthier, happier, has a happy marriage and 2.4 kids with a white picket fence…when I think back to those days, which were admittedly in High School and University I cringe, no actually I physically shudder.

It wasn’t until I’d travelled the world a bit working and growing as a person that I finally realised that comparing myself to others was a form of self-abuse against my own authentic self. It took me a while (until my mid-20’s, and maybe even until now, to really get it), but I finally accepted who I was as a person, and this was when I became unapologetically me – take me or leave me – this is who I am!

No one’s cut from the same cookie cutter (or however that American saying goes). We’re all unique, and that’s one of the most beautiful things about being different, about being your own person and about being confident.

I’ve already referred to my previous quest for perfection, which admittedly made me emotionally and physically sick. I now want to be me. I want to create my own style, listen to my own music, eat my favourite foods, read the books I want to read, travel where I want to travel, do what I want to do…and a quote that sums it up in just a few words is that of Dr. Seuss:

Why fit in when you’re born to stand out?

My confidence probably is more evident now to others because I’m past caring what others think. If people want to judge me on what I wear, what I post on Facebook, what I do, or what I utter, I say let them – I seriously don’t give a shit, because it’s these (perhaps sometimes innocent) opinions of others that have the ability to ultimately kill a person’s confidence, and there’s absolutely no way in hell I’m ever going to allow that to happen to me again!

Finding My Tribe

It’s amazing the people who stay with you and those who don’t over the years. I’m proud to say that some of my best friends still date back to High School and University, but along the way, I’ve encountered other beautiful souls, who complement me, and who’re now genuinely part of my tribe.

This is one of my keys to having that so-called ‘enviable’ confidence – find your tribe, love them hard, and stick with them. I’m one of those girls who has a lot of female and male friends and I can confidently say they’re a huge part of who I am. I love to set the world on fire and the people who I want with me are those who’re going to fan my flames and not try to extinguish them.

It’s that whole village attitude that we’re better off together that brings out the best in people, that grows confidence. Okay, I’ve got to say I don’t actually rate village life as such, I’m a city girl at heart, but it’s that whole mentality of oneness. Doing things with others, in a group, is far more interesting and less lonely than going about it all single-handedly.

In the past, I was the girl who liked to do things alone, mostly because I was such an obsessive perfectionist, but letting go of that desire to be perfect has allowed me to reach out more.

Your tribe is also your social life. Perhaps when you socialise you socialise with different tribes, which of course is totally fine as well. When I socialise with my friends I’m instantly uplifted, and a true friend will always sit down and make time for you, they’ll genuinely want to help you regain your confidence if it’s been momentarily lost or misplaced.

I choose my friends carefully. I don’t need hundreds of friends to satisfy my ego, I’d much prefer to have fewer loyal friends. And there’s one more thing that makes me fall in love with a person – that’s a person who makes me forget to look at my phone, which in today’s crazy tech-obsessed social media world is something!

Smile More

The power of a smile is immense. I try and smile at everyone, no matter what my mood is. I often walk down the street and just smile at random passers-by. Some people reciprocate, others just think I’m crazy, but this all takes me back to that person who told me they admired my confidence – they said it was in my smile.

A smile looks good on everyone – it’s a cost-effective way to improve your looks. And who knew that your facial expressions could ultimately affect your power?

Smile and stand tall with your shoulders back – try it – you’ll be amazed at how it makes you feel. This simple posture and expression can make you feel stronger, more confident and taller.

Take a look at yourself in the mirror – what’s your face doing? Are you naturally smiling, do your eyes sparkle or do you have that resting bitch face going on?

It may sound funny, but my poise and actions help me to feel more in control of a situation even if life feels like it’s secretly spiralling out of control on the inside at times unbeknownst to others.

The way a person sees you will also determine whether they have confidence in you, and no, it’s got nothing to do with being blonde and blue-eyed! So continue standing tall (imagine being held up by an invisible string) and smile – make others curious about you, get them thinking – what is it that makes you laugh?

Face Fears – Take Them On

This is something I’ve been going on about a lot lately. In some ways I feel like a broken record. Being afraid is a natural human emotion, but allowing these fears to get in the way of how you live your life could be detrimental to your progress.

Not so long ago I had fears of becoming stuck in a rut professionally, getting hurt by a man, falling in love, failing…not any longer!

Yeah, I’ve failed! I’ve failed big time in the past. At first, I got caught up in the emotional downward spiral that sucked the life out of me, not to mention my confidence. It was my mum and brother who snapped me back into the land of reality – yeah they empathised with me, they felt sad for me, but they also could see that I was in self-destruct mode as far as my negative mind set went…there’s nothing like family and good friends to tell you how it really is!

It took some time, but when I finally stepped back and honed in on what was working for me and what wasn’t, I was able to put everything into perspective. It took a few personal tumultuous events for me to realise that my failures were there to teach me a very good lesson or two, and in essence this all helped build self-confidence. Failure should never be seen as the opposite of success, instead we should all look at it as a part of success.

I’m human. I’ve made some mistakes, big and small, but haven’t we all? I’ve made mistakes professionally and personally, I’ve made mistakes when I’ve failed to admit how I really feel. These mistakes often made me feel stuck in the past, and in some cases if I really could’ve, I would’ve crawled under a massive rock and hidden away from everything and everyone, but I couldn’t…

Over the last couple of months I’ve faced some of my fears, which was challenging. But it was in those moments that I finally began to become ‘unstuck’. A lot of what I was running away from was all in my head. What I’m trying to say is that your fears soon become your limits – each time you face your fears, you grow stronger and more courageous, and this is part of what being confident means!

Another person, who I respect dearly and I think is just a wonderful human in many ways, also told me to focus on and celebrate my strengths, not my weaknesses.

This brings me to compliments. The stranger who commended my confidence almost got an earful as to why I thought I didn’t fit the picture they were describing, but something held me back. Instead I smiled, like I do, and said thank you. Graciously accepting compliments helps you to grow even more, and had I been defensive and brushed those kind words off, I would’ve ultimately lowered my self-worth.

Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance. Take me to a bar, where there’s great music, and I’ll dance all night long. Visit me randomly in my home and you might fall upon me having my own dance party as I clean or get ready for a night out. Dancing recharges me, and according to the experts it gets the serotonin flowing, which in turn makes you feel more alive and free.

Life can be so incredibly stressful at times, and it’s easy to let things dampen our spirits if things aren’t going our way. It could be relationship problems, no relationship at all, money worries, unemployment, job insecurity, ill health…

Yes, life is a huge test at times, which is why I love to lighten things up! Being a little silly and almost childlike at times can be endearing and it’s a fabulous way of shaking off any of life’s disappointments or hurdles.

Finding a Style that’s You

I love clothes, I always have…just ask my mother about my wardrobes that seem to burst wherever I go.

I have my own sense of style. Yes, admittedly I love fashion, and that’s how Couture and Vines came about in the first place, but previously, like many younger girls, I followed the crowd, wearing what everyone else was wearing.

Dressing for you and making an effort, brings about more confidence, well this is something that works for me anyway – it helps me shine brighter. It may sound shallow, but it’s amazing how the right clothes and a bit of pampering can enhance your self-esteem.

From my own experience when I feel my best, I perform the best!

Be Happy

Easier said than done, right? Especially if you’re having a crap day and you feel like the world’s working against you.

I made the conscious decision to change my outlook on everything and how I process my world. Doubts kill a hell of a lot more dreams than failure ever will, which is why when I find myself hesitating, I try my hardest to counter all the negativity.

As I type this, I can’t believe some of the things I’ve doubted in the past, and this has led to possibly some missed golden opportunities. Most of my problems were in my head – the mind is a powerful thing, and if you allow it to gain control over you and your emotions, it will.

Of course I do have real problems as well. I don’t think anyone could actually ever say they didn’t. But it’s all about making that conscious choice not to allow them to take control of your life.

I like to surround myself with positive people. There are some amazingly positive people in my life and I’m so incredibly blessed. Recently, I’ve met a few more, who’ve also influenced me in a positive way, and although they may not even see this or realise it, I’m really thankful. Basically, having positive energy will always lead to positive outcomes.

In short, happiness is most definitely a conscious choice and not just an automated response.

Negative small talk brings me down; I’m pretty sure it’s the same for everyone else too, which is why those people who are friends with me on Facebook constantly see positive memes in their newsfeeds posted by me. It’s part of my new ‘can-do’ attitude, and if you don’t like it, it’s easy, unfollow me! Say it enough times and it will become real!

My parents have always told me that I can do anything I set my mind to. Parents must all have the same school of thought, because when interviewing my friends on this subject, they too said the same thing…it’s like that other old favourite saying if so-and-so jumped of a bridge, would you?

I like to take risks and I like to be a little bit of a badass, not in an offensive way, but in a way that shuns conformity and allows me to grow, change and continue being the confident person I am. There’s no doubt about it, confidence is beautiful, and it’s not hard to get. All I can say is the outlook is great, and I’m excited to continue with my mission!

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