Nothing can shatter your sense of confidence (if indeed you ever had one) quite like a serious health challenge. However, nothing can help you overcome, or at least live more happily, quite like a sense of confidence.
In addition to the internal benefits of having an attitude of confidence, that attitude will help you connect with another essential aspect of a healthier life. You will find it much easier to connect with supportive relationships when you exude confidence. People will actually be drawn to you, no matter what you are going through, and no matter how you might be struggling with health, finances, or other challenges. When you can have true confidence, people will want to be around you.
This is not to say that you should always be in denial, and never share your emotions and concerns with a few close friends and family; but a general attitude of hope and confidence will take you much further in your quest for a better life than being someone who focuses on the problems.
Sociology and psychology research has shown several characteristics of people who exude confidence, and are inspiring to be around, regardless of physical appearance or financial wealth.
- Be Authentic: Know who and what you are, and be confident of your worth (see previous post). You are a person who has many gifts and some shortcomings. Don’t try to appear perfect, but do acknowledge your value in life, just as you are.
- Have Integrity: Be consistent in your values and actions. Stand up for your true beliefs, but be open to hearing other’s opinions and views. Never gossip.
- Respect Everyone: Everyone has value (though sometimes deeply hidden). Find what you can respect about anyone you encounter.
- Listen: It is rare to find people who truly listen to what you are trying to express. People will want to be around you if you really listen to them without judgment.
- Show Genuine Interest: Be interested in others whether they are very different than you, or seem to be the same. Be curious about what people are passionate about, and their perspectives.
- Validate Yourself from Within: Give yourself affirming thoughts about your worth, so that you are not overly dependent on others always approving of you. Being “needy” is not attractive. And, it is unrealistic to think that everyone is going to like you.
- Smile: Nothing is more attractive than a smile. It can be off-putting if your smile is forced. It needs to come from your inner attitude of confidence, your gratitude, and your respect for others.
- Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude: There is always something on which you can focus and for which you can be grateful. (Confession time: I had to overcome a sense of entitlement before I could be genuinely grateful.)
- Presentation is Important: Confident people are rarely the Hollywood image of beauty; but regardless of the classic image of beauty, or lack thereof, people who want their inner beauty to show know that they need to present themselves in a package that is as attractive as possible. Grooming and dressing neatly is key to completing the appearance of confidence.
You will have days when all of this seems overwhelming. That is part of the process of coping with chronic disease. Nevertheless, as much as possible, strive to exude confidence. You will feel better, and so will everyone around you.