Five Simple Ways to Boost your Confidence and Level UP Life
This topic has been sitting with me for a while now. I often hear from those who contact me for a boudoir session that they are looking for a confidence boost, and they surely have the right idea in mind. Booking a boudoir session is one way that has made a huge impact on the way I feel about my body and self image. It's literally like mind-body therapy. My clients also tell me after their session that they felt so much more confident leaving my studio than when they walked into it! I'm here to tell you, though, that there are other ways you can boost your confidence just as effectively and give you that extra pep in your step to live more vibrantly and feel more in control of your state of being.
Take care of yourself first.
You know when you get on an airplane and they tell you to always put your own mask on first? Same idea here. How can you be the best person for the people you love if you’re not taking care of yourself first? Self-care looks different for each person. Maybe it’s meditating and yoga for you, or a sweaty HIIT session at the gym, or a hike in the woods with nature, or reading your favorite book. Maybe it’s a pedicure and a shopping day, or purging your closet to get rid of clutter. You know what self-care isn’t? Wallowing, playing the victim, or taking it out on someone else. It isn’t brushing it under the rug by taking care of someone else first. And on that note, let’s dive into what “self-care” means. I once listened to a podcast that said, “An act of self-care will never leave you feeling worse off than you felt beforehand.” So let’s think about that for a second.
You had a shit day and you say,
“You know what, I deserve to go to Happy Hour.”
So you call a friend and she’s down too.
Regrettable move: You meet her at your favorite place, order way too many drinks, eat food that you know will make you feel shitty afterward, and spend your time talking about the misfortunes of all the people you mutually know to make yourselves feel better. You leave under the influence, hope you don’t pass cops on the way home, and wake up the next morning feeling shittier than you did yesterday.
Self-Care move: You meet her at your favorite place and realize that alcohol will only make you feel more anxiety and depression about what got you there in the first place, so you get creative with a mocktail or have a single hot toddy. You spend a few extra bucks and order something bright, colorful, and healthy, and you and your friend brainstorm ways up level up so you don’t get yourself into the same muck you’re currently in. You leave feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to take on the next day with a new energy.
See what I’m saying? I’ve been in the first scenario too many times, and not once did it work to make me feel better. It actually caused a spiral, which made it hard for me to know what was causing my distress. You know what I don’t have time for? All of THAT crap. So I read [listened to] lots of podcasts and audiobooks to help me change my mind about what my time is worth and how to put myself first. And let me tell you, what a game-changer. If you’d like to know what I listened to, sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be sharing all of my favorite listening materials in the upcoming months.
Tell the truth.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along.”
We all know we have truths that we aren’t telling. We are letting other people think we feel one way, when we really feel another way. We might even be acting the part as well. And how good does that make you feel? Maybe it makes you feel good in the moment, but long term, probably the opposite of good. And why? To fit in? Or so we don’t cause an issue that makes someone other than us to feel uncomfortable? To seem like you’ve got things under control so you don’t let your vulnerabilities show or need to ask for help? Been there, sister. We all have. But you know what will help boost your confidence? Saying how you really feel, and not feeling bad about it. As a boudoir photographer, I tend to hear womens’ truths more often than the people closest to them. Maybe it’s because I invite openness by offering my own truths, and maybe it’s because whomever I’m photographing is already feeling vulnerable being in front of the camera half nude. Maybe a combination of the two. But I always hear from my clients that they felt so comfortable in my studio that they wouldn’t normally share that story with a complete stranger, and that it’s such a refreshing feeling to be open. I’ve heard that a boudoir session feels like therapy because you’re letting go of shame and doing what makes you feel good. In fact, my other photographer friend and I who often trade shoots, we call it “therapy” all the time! Why? Because we are baring the parts of our body, no-less to another person holding a camera, that we’re most self-conscious of. The ones we might hide under a bathing suit at the pool, or hide by turning around to change so our partner doesn’t see the parts of us we’re not proud of. If we really think about it, we don’t mean to not tell the truth as much as we do; we do it subconsciously like our brain has secretly trained us to protect ourselves. But we have lots of truths that need to be heard, and letting go of them in a productive way is an instant confidence booster.
Regrettable move: Your partner plays video games every night. You’ve worked all day, you come home and care of whatever needs to be taken care of, eat dinner, and once it’s time for you to relax and spend time with him, he zones out doing something entirely without you. You say nothing, even though you feel neglected. You make yourself busy like it ain’t no thang, go read a book in bed, or watch a show solo, not ever letting him know the way you really feel, and it leads to unheard long-term resentment. It snowballs, and then every little thing makes you upset, and your relationship starts to crumble.
Truthful move: You wake up in the morning, and before you feel triggered and he gets the sense that he needs to defend his video game habit, you plant the seed that you’d love to spend some uninterrupted time together later on that evening. You send him a text during the day saying that you’re excited to hang out with him later and that you wish you two could do this more often. When you get home, get all your stuff done, and it’s time that he would normally jump on the console, he knows that instead of doing that he will be spending time with you. He even admits to you that he’s been feeling neglected by you, and video games was just something he did while you read your books, but he’d rather be spending time with you, like this. You were both feeling neglected, and both not verbalizing it, but it took you being truthful for you to both find out that you’d rather spend time together than be apart. Isn’t that beautiful? You’ve also led by example, and showed him what it’s like to speak the truth so maybe he will feel more comfortable doing it too. Isn’t that something.
Speaking your truth can get you so much further than you’d ever believe. This doesn’t always mean asserting yourself at someone else’s expense when you feel like you’re not being heard. You have faults too, and being truthful with yourself means not hiding those, but working on them just as much as you’d hope your loved one works on their own. And it doesn’t have to be such an obvious truth or fault either, and those may present themselves only once you step outside your comfort zone. Liberating yourself by facing fear, and speaking and communicating clearly, can help you gain the confidence to realize what may be inadvertently holding you back.
Do something outside your comfort zone.
“Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
-Neale Donald Walsch
The last point is a perfect segway into this one. Do something that scares the crap out of you. I’m not talking about being reckless, like jumping off a bridge into unknown waters; that would fall very short of my first point, both literally and figuratively, and is the furthest thing from self-care. I’m talking about doing something that you know will make you feel accomplished, proud, and like you’re living your best life, regardless of what others think. Do something that will surprise even yourself. Sign up to speak publicly at an event about something important to you. Schedule yourself a portrait session, and make it very personal. Take a dance class to get yourself moving and learn something new. Have a REAL conversation with someone you need to be honest with. Sign up to volunteer at an old folks home and make a new friend/companion. There are so many ways to challenge yourself, but I bet you keep putting it off for a “better” time. Hunny, tomorrow is not promised. Keep yourself growing, learning, and challenged. Can you think of anything more uplifting and confidence boosting than that?
Have a personal day (and don’t hold back.)
"Don't let your mind bully your body."
-June Tamaso Wood
This is a favorite of mine. How many times do we talk ourselves out of something we want? For one reason or another, it’s not the right time, or we find a reason we don’t deserve it. Taking the personal day in itself is the perfect example. We tell ourselves we have to save our personal days for emergencies; actual occurrences that we wish wouldn’t happen to us are taking up days that are meant for self-care. We save them for migraines, or unplanned doctor visits, or funerals, or days we need to get our car fixed. It's a double whammy - you've now lost a personal day to something you don't even want to be doing and that makes you defeated. Why not take a personal day when it’s beautiful out and you’d love to spend it on the beach, reading your favorite book, with no one in sight who needs you? Or, you’ve just purged your closet, and now you need to replace some items with new pieces that make you feel like YOU. So clearly, you need to take a day, grab a cappuccino, and while everyone else is working, go shopping for the perfect pieces to fit your current lifestyle. Imagine you’re Marie Kondo, ask yourself if the piece “brings you joy,” and if it fits your REAL budget (not the measly, overly-practical self-deprecating budget) buy it and wear it often. Less is more. If you’re spending your personal days doing things you wish you didn’t have to do, you’ll wish you had more personal time. If you spend the few days you have to take on activities that make you feel good, you won’t feel like you’re lacking that time. If you’re constantly shopping on a too-low budget and the clothes you end up with never get worn because you’re not excited about them, your appetite for new clothing will never be satiated. Spend [time & money] based on quality and you’ll feel much more fulfilled and abundant. Since I only take boudoir sessions on weekdays, and I do same-day viewings which pretty much means they’re with me all day, I have many clients who use a personal day for their boudoir session. Can you think of a more amazing excuse for a personal day? Seriously— self-care, truth-telling, and stepping outside of your comfort zone, all in one personal day.
Book a Boudoir Shoot!
"The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence."
So the last point was A favorite, but this one is THE favorite. Book yourself a boudoir shoot. I may be partial since this is what I actually do for a living, but honestly, what a way to boost your confidence! In fact, every single questionnaire my clients fill out tells me that this is one of the main goals of booking a boudoir session. To regain or boost their confidence and feel more empowered. Empowered to live without regret, to answer questions truthfully, to ask for what they need, to be who they are unapologetically. I honestly never knew how true this all was until I booked my own boudoir session, which you can read about it in my blog post titled, "Booking a Boudoir Session: The Side Effects"The Side Effects of Booking a Boudoir Session
(Yes, that's me in the photos!)
In fact, you can read this one too, which I wrote when I decided to speak my truth and say FUCK IT. I'm Booking Myself a Boudoir ShootAnd MAN, did it feel good.
FUCK IT -- I need to do what makes me feel good despite what anyone else thinks.
Do you know what happened after I booked myself a boudoir shoot? Like, without even knowing it would happen?
I reclaimed my time so that I could spend it on feeling good and looking my best for my shoot date.
I started being more truthful with myself, my husband regarding some issues we’d been having, and another family member because she needed to hear some things that weren’t easy for me to say.
Somehow, by stepping outside of my comfort zone, and allowing myself to book a day of self-care and spend a pretty penny on myself, I felt more empowered to speak my truth to those who mattered most to me. And on top of that, it really allowed us all to come clean about important obstacles in our lives so we could move past them productively. Like, booking my boudoir shoot actually positively impacted more than just me. Crazy right? It may seem so, but putting my own mask on first really did help me help those around me. The proof is in the pudding.
You may think to yourself,
“Oh, but I could never do something like that,”
a. I don’t have the body for that.
Someone or something unworthy of your time put that thought into your head, and I'm here to help you unlearn it.
Leave it to me to prove you wrong.
b. Who am I do something so risqué? Wouldn’t that make me seem vain?
You are important, you are worthy, and you deserve to feel good about yourself.
There’s nothing more to it, and if you don't believe that for yourself then no one else will either.
c. Who would I share it with? Isn’t that what boudoir photos are meant for?
This isn’t about anyone else, it’s about you. You don't need to justify it to anyone, and no one needs to see the photos other than you. You shouldn’t be giving anyone power over the way you feel about yourself. No one deserves the gift of boudoir more than you do, not even your partner.
The main point I’d like you to take from this is:
Confidence is not needed to do a boudoir session; a boost of confidence comes from booking yourself a boudoir session.
Read that and then read it again.
It’s the sheer act of putting yourself first that makes you feel more empowered and confident.
The photos help, for sure, and you’ll be checking yourself out for weeks, months, years to come, but only consider that the cherry on top.
What happens once you commit to something that scares the shit out of you?
A boost of confidence. You are in control. You’re the decider of your own life, not someone else.
(Decision maker? Nah, decider sounds more accurate. Whatever, I make my own rules, k?)
More on this in my next blog post.
To conclude, I’d just like to reiterate that you are the only one in control of your life, how you feel, how you decide to push forward, and who you want to involve in your life. You control the messages coming in, and the messages coming out. Re-program your brain by
taking back control of how you spend your personal days
living your truth conscientiously but directly with your loved ones and the information you choose to consume
putting your well-being first, and doing things that help you grow as an individual
Getting to know yourself each and every day, and continuing to check in periodically to make sure you’re still actively living in line with your values.
Because without confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win. - Carl Lewis