When I was in high school, a teacher suggested I take a dance class to improve my confidence. Someone else sneered at the suggestion, saying, "the way to put yourself out there is to just do it." But you can't "just" become confident, especially if you're a woman and you've been socialized your whole life to doubt everything you do. And as it turns out, a performance or exercise like a dance class is a great way to do this.
"In working with thousands of women, I do know that many suffer from diminished self-confidence," business coachJanet Zaretsky tells Bustle. "Almost always, there are a number of times throughout our lives when we tried something, failed, and someone said something that we turned into a ‘life sentence’ about who we are or our relationship to failing. Whatever we decided and sentenced ourselves to has a long-term impact on our self-confidence. This seems logical to most people, but often, you can’t see it. It is like water is to fish: when you are swimming in it, you don’t know you are in water. Same for us, when we lack confidence."
If you've trained your mind to think less of yourself than you deserve, here are some easy ways to challenge those negative thoughts and get your confidence up.