Advertising
Advertising

Published on December 25, 2020

How To Express Yourself Authentically And Confidently

How To Express Yourself Authentically And Confidently

fHere are some words that have increased in use over the last decade: self-confidence, authenticity, speak your truth, badass. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Way back in the days when I was growing up, these were not words that were shared around dinner table conversations in most homes. Sure, my parents promoted positive self-esteem for me and my brother, but not in the way you see it plastered across social media today. In fairness, there was no such thing as social media when I was a kid (or adolescent, or young adult—that’s how old I am!), so things weren’t so “in your face” good or bad.

Anyway, the idea that someone, especially a woman, should express herself with confidence and authenticity was not as promoted as it is these days. Expectations around what was proper and acceptable prevented a lot of people from stepping into their true selves to express their authenticity. Fear of judgment or ridicule held some back because the thought of being embarrassed was far too hurtful than sharing the truth.

We’ve all been there in some way, shape, or form. These feelings still exist for a lot of us. And that’s because we weren’t encouraged or taught how to proceed with them in a way that didn’t feel arrogant or self-serving.

It’s no easy feat to walk into a room or to present yourself as confident and authentic. But it’s not impossible or all that difficult if you remember these three things: be relatable, vulnerable, and fearless.

1. Be Relatable

I’ve gotta say, one thing that’s really been eye-opening for me since I started my professional coaching practice is that when you present yourself in a way that is relatable and honest, you create more meaningful connections and relationships. Being able to relate to another person increases trust in your relationship, and it’s something you can do with everyone in your life.

Advertising

During the spring, my son was having a difficult time with virtual learning for school amidst the pandemic. He would argue and have tantrums because he was upset and didn’t really know how to express it. One day he was sitting on the couch crying because he missed his friends, his teachers, his school.

My typically joyful and playful boy was hurting and I needed to help him. Instead of telling him he had no choice and to suck it up and “go to school,” I sat on the couch with him and cried and told him that I felt the same way he did. I wanted him to see his friends, his teachers, and to go to school. In fact, I missed my friends and all of the great things we got to do before we went into quarantine.

When I showed him that I could relate to how he was feeling, we were able to talk it out peacefully and logically. We were able to connect in a way that we hadn’t before. After that, he was able to understand why sharing your feelings is so important and how expressing yourself can help you in certain situations. Win-win!

2. Be Vulnerable

Vulnerability is another popular buzzword you hear popping up into conversations a lot lately. Gone are the days of “fake it till you make it.” We’ve learned that by sharing our own personal stories, we will be more authentic and confident with the people in our lives.

Opening up and sharing intimate parts of your life can sometimes be difficult. Similar to relatability, it often requires having to get over a fear of judgment. But when you decide to completely expose your truth, there is power and relief that often accompany it.

Being vulnerable and opening up can be helpful to others.[1] It can also bring a wave of support and understanding from your support circle of friends and family. It’s harder to keep things bottled up, no matter what the situation is.

Advertising

Several years ago I was going through a really difficult time at work. The environment was extremely toxic, and it was taking a toll not only on my professional life but my personal life as well. For as hard as I tried to keep them separate, it was impossible to build a complete wall.

In my professional life, I was drowning in anxiety, anger, and depression. I didn’t want to go to work because of the stress I would physically feel in my body. My productivity declined when I was in the office because I was constantly on alert to the things that were going on around (and to) me. I could never relax and feel like I could let my guard down.

It was an awful experience, and yet because I had an image in my head of what my life was “supposed” to look like, I said nothing to my family or friends at home. I was too nervous about sharing my vulnerability with the people who could’ve—instead of being in the dark—supported me.

My actions backfired bigtime. I eventually burnt out from the stress of trying to manage it all alone.

Having my husband find me in a heap of tears on the floor of our bedroom essentially having a breakdown from the stress and anxiety was the beginning of me sharing my true story. It took being vulnerable and expressing myself to help me heal and make the necessary changes in my life I needed to get healthy and clear.

Because of it, I was able to face my fear and ultimately make decisions that would re-route my life in a direction that I could never have dreamed of for myself. By being vulnerable and sharing my story, I have been able to build a business helping others overcome their own fears and challenges.

Advertising

3. Be Fearless

Confidence isn’t something we are born with—it’s learned. For some of us, it takes a really long time to find true confidence For others, it comes easy.

Confidence is a product of your surroundings, your support system, and your belief in yourself. You create your own confidence, the same way you create your own happiness by surrounding yourself with positivity and optimism through education and making choices that feel good.

Some people call confidence fearlessness. Not being afraid to be different, to speak your mind, or to share your vulnerabilities with others and face your challenges head-on—that’s being fearless.

I have a friend who has been bullied his whole life. Even to this day, as a middle-aged adult, he experiences forms of bullying. He reached out to me to talk about it because while he’s grown into an extremely self-assured, confident man, he now wants to understand the reason why people bully others, especially as adults.

I told him during our conversation that he was being fearless in his pursuit to educate himself rather than retaliate—that his confidence was helping him to express himself in a way that would ultimately help not only himself but also others who have been in similar situations.

My friend has spent years educating himself and working on his fearlessness. He’s grown from the doubtful boy into the self-assured man his friends and family know and love. He’s overcome so many obstacles around self-worth, disbelief in himself, and anxiety that he is now a shining example of how to thrive.

Advertising

We hear the word “haters” a lot on social media—people who express negativity in a bullying sort of way. When you have the capacity to step into your power and shine regardless of what others think about you, you are fearless. Expressing yourself becomes easier because you can fully embrace who you are and when you do that, you will attract the people you need in your life.

Final Thoughts

Being able to express yourself authentically doesn’t come naturally for a lot of us. It takes work to get to a place where you can be comfortable with yourself, especially if you’ve been through difficult times. But if you allow yourself to open up and share your true self, your authenticity and confidence will shine right through.

Being able to be yourself can bring a sense of relief and calm. You might (probably will) go through some challenges along the way. But in the end, you will know a feeling that you have never known before, and that will make it all worth the journey.

More Tips on How to Express Yourself

Featured photo credit: Timur Romanov via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Krista Rizzo, CPC

Transformational Life Coach, TEDx Speaker, Author & Founder

How to Be a Good Listener (And a Better Communicator) How To Express Yourself Authentically And Confidently

Trending in Communication

1 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples 2 Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 1) 3 Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 2) 4 When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen 5 How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Advertising

At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

Advertising

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Advertising

How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Read Next