Ladies, listen up, confidence is in style and insecurity is so last season. In fact, it was never in vogue. While working with clients on developing their true selves, I have noticed that there is a big misconception regarding confidence. We are often taught by society that women of a certain size, education or even hair color are considered “confident”, when the reality is far from it. Some of the most attractive women will come to me confused, telling me how they want to feel secure with their decisions, what they look like or what they do, but they can’t quite fully believe in themselves. Their internal dialogue, lack of security and vibe dissuade them otherwise.

Contrary to what many of us have been led to believe, self-confidence has nothing to do with your looks or talent; rather it’s an attitude and belief in yourself. Take the attractive blonde, who on the outside has a body that looks like she stepped out of a Victoria Secret magazine, walks with a purpose and by all assumptions appears pretty secure with herself. On the inside, she doubts her last text message with the guy she is into, worries about whether or not he likes her, is concerned over making rent and questions her career path. Although you and I may perceive her as “confident,” she’s really as insecure as they come, and other people eventually pick up on this energy, you can’t fake it.

To continue with a true Victoria Secret model example, look at me. I am a very successful fitness model. I have shredded abs, a firm butt, shiny hair and cool clothes, but I am probably one of the most physically insecure women on the planet. I am continuously striving to become more self-confident.

Again, looks aren’t everything; confidence comes from within. It is owning and loving your true self, flaws and all. If you believe you are not good enough or not whatever enough, other people will too. Think about some of the women who are really confident in your eyes, are they the most attractive women you have ever seen? Are they gossiping or complaining? Probably not. These are women who show others how they want to be treated and are secure enough with themselves not to fall privy to discounting others for their own sense of self-worth.

How to Develop True Confidence

Get serious. Get out a pen and paper and do some analysis. Ask yourself, “What do I want and how do I want to feel?” The feeling is important; making a list of what you want from someone is one thing but how you want to feel about them and yourself takes it a step further. What do you deserve in your friendships, romantic relationships, family and work? Get clear on these attributes and start to assess if you are selling yourself short.

Stop the judgments.

Not just about yourself, but about others too. Research has found that the more we judge, gossip and talk negatively about ourselves and others, the more we project this negativity outward. People are actually turned off by this. Plus it makes you look like you need to cut down others to feel value, which is super unattractive. Get honest with yourself about when and if you do this and start to notice when these judgments take place. Gently replace the thoughts as they come. This takes practice. Look for the good instead of the bad in yourself and others.

Own it. You have amazing qualities; use them to your advantage. If you know you have amazing curves, dress for them. If you have beautiful hair, show it off; don’t just throw it in a sloppy bun. Recognize your awesome attributes and play them up! There is no time like the present for an instant confidence boost.

Body language. Observe someone you know with a solid level of self-confidence. They look others in the eye, they call others by their name, genuinely smile or have a nonthreatening look on their face, generally have good posture and an open stance. They appear at ease and are ready to talk to anyone. This comes across just by looking at them.

Avoid negative sarcasm. It makes others feel disrespected, not to mention you appear insecure and defensive. Sarcasm tells others you can’t tolerate them or their conversation. While you may feel it diffuses uncomfortable feelings, in reality it makes others frustrated, often wanting to avoid future interactions with you.

Speak with purpose. Anyone who has ever met me knows I love to talk, however, I have had to learn to balance this with listening. When you talk about yourself or whatever is on your mind without making sure the other person is engaged in the conversation, you are giving the impression that you need their attention and validation. Listen and ask questions, this lets the other person know that they are being heard, giving them the same respect you hope to receive. Validation doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person; rather you are attempting to understand where they are coming from.

With love from the Trench kitchen,