The other night I was watching the final episode of “Project Runway” and one of the female finalists said, “It’s OK to be confident.” She said this as if she were reassuring herself that she had a right to be confident and a right to believe in her collection, her ability, and herself. I found this interesting because as women we often struggle with insecurities and a fear to be confident and show that to the world.

Yesterday, on “The Real”, the ladies shared some of their personal struggles and insecurities.

“I was about 16 when I told my family that I wanted to be a television host,” Jeannie revealed. “My aunt—I can’t believe she said this to me—she said, “You probably should go and get your eyes fixed pretty soon because you can heal and by the time you’re 18. You’ll get more jobs”

Jeannie at first was confused, but then realized her aunt was encouraging her to hide her Asian descent. Well, enter more insecurity!

Tamara then shared about the difficulty of being a twin and the comparisons that happen.

“Um, being a twin, people compare and they compare a lot…by default. It’s not their fault, but sometimes they see two people and they either say, ‘Oh, she’s the sexy one,’ or ‘She’s the cute one.’ Well, I was known as the goofy cute one. I used to read our fan mail all the time and that’s what I used to get all the time when I was 16 years old. Well I kept it and going to college, I carried that. I always thought it was a negative term because all I wanted to be was sexy.”

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman authors of the book, “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance- What Women Should Know” had this to say in an article they wrote for The Atlantic about women’s confidence or lack thereof:

Even as our understanding of confidence expanded, however, we found that our original suspicion was dead-on: there is a particular crisis for women—a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from factors ranging from upbringing to biology.

So how can you start to shake off those insecurities and gain more self-confidence?

Psych Central suggests the following:

  • Take responsibility for yourself. This is the first and most important ingredient in the self-confidence formula. You, and only you, can make new things happen in your life. If you wait for serendipity to provide you with good fortune, or with increased confidence, you’ll be waiting a long time. Realize that the path toward self-confidence is one that you will have to travel — no one else can do it for you.
  • Begin to experiment with life. Try something new. Go out to dinner alone. Take a class in an unfamiliar subject area. Teach yourself how to repair a toaster. Testing your abilities at new endeavors is a wonderful way to learn that you can rely on yourself.
  • Develop an action plan and implement it. Select one area for personal or professional development. Determine the action steps you will take to get there. Put these steps on a timeline. Now implement each step according to plan — no excuses. Every small step you take will be a great boost to your confidence!
  • Stick with it. When you take on a new challenge, stick with it. Self-confidence doesn’t come from each thing you attempt. If it did, one failed effort would bring you back to zero on the confidence scale. True confidence develops from an increasing belief that you can rely on yourself to take action and follow through, no matter what the result.
  • Act “as if.” If you put off taking action until you have confidence, you’ll never do it. In the field of psychology we have come to understand that by changing our behavior, we can change our feelings. So if you take action, and do so with a semblance of outward confidence, the inward, true feeling of confidence, will follow.
  • Find a mentor. Do you know someone who is confident and continues to take one new risk after another? Watch how they do this. Muster up the courage to ask them to meet you for coffee. Find out how they do what they do, and ask them for feedback about your action plan and implementation. Most confident people are happy to help. They remember the courage and effort it’s taken them to get where they are today

The biggest thing for me goes back to the finalist on Project Runway who had to remind herself that it’s OK to be confident. To me feeling confident and feeling worthy go hand in hand. When you allow yourself to be confident in your abilities, then you are essentially saying you feel worthy (and deserving) to receive whatever great things will happen next. Having insecurities happens, but it’s about making room for the self-confidence to blossom, spread, and take over. It can be a struggle, one that I have to personally work on (what seems like almost daily) to make sure my confidence outshines my insecurities so that I can shine.

How do you deal with overcoming insecurities and exuding self-confidence?

Check the video from “The Real.”

Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.

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