Over the last month, or more truthfully over the last week or two I’ve written about Confidence. In the introductory Post “Be More Confident” I gave as usual a definition of confidence, having full trust, belief or feeling that one can do something. We believe that nothing can happen without the Will of Allah however our own effort has to be there for anything having the chance of going the way we want it. This concept of having Tawakkul versus Tawaakul and that Allah wants only good for us, I discussed in “Confidence with Regards to Allah”. Our Religion teaches us to be at the forefront of upholding justice, even if it is against our own families, as the Qur’an tells us. We need to uphold the values that we have, and be role models in our societies. Being Confident in our Religion, as a force for goodness. In “Silence” I revealed a fear of mine, being mute in the face of oppression. I do not want to be a witness to injustice and be silent, afraid of being just another bystander as in the Kitty Genovese Case, thinking that others would take care of the issue. Fear can’t hold us back in these situations, we have to do what is right and not what is easy. Finally, I wrote “Self-Confidence and Anxiety: Lessons drawn” a couple of days ago to analyse for myself, some of the situations that have been uncomfortable for me but which I had to go through.
In this Post, as I did last month, I’d like to give you and myself some tips on being more confident. These come from various articles, Videos etc. that I thought I’d compile here to come back to.
Brett Mckay, in an article at the artofmanliness quite aptly said, “Confidence is quiet, it’s unpretentious”. For me, confidence isn’t about being right in someone’s face, giving them once over and huffing at them. That is arrogance. So is saying that you can do everything without the help of others. It is about being strict when it is needed and being lenient when it is needed. Knowing when to be strong and to sink with the ship and when to retreat and let others help.
Being Confident is about the Outward appearance as much as it is about the inward state. Be comfortable with who you are and dress the part, while being modest. The Prophet saw. told us “…Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty”, so shower regularly, brush your teeth, comb your hair and take the time to dress well. Dress in a way you wouldn’t mind going on an impromptu business meeting, Mckay recommends. I’d say dress in such a way you wouldn’t be embarrassed to meet the One who Created you, the Salaf used to have a separate clothing for going to prayers.
Set Goals and meet them, so that you have something to look back on to assure yourself in a time when things may not go the way you thought it would. In the same vein, learn new skills and excel in the ones that you already have. Write a letter to yourself after an achievement, as Dr. Ivan Joseph did. As you do this, as you remind yourself of your past achievements, thank Allah for them and ask Him to make your future successful. Don’t let past failures stand in your way of achieving, thank Allah for them, they were a test. You are the person you are today because of them, strive to become better every single day until you take your last breath.
Think of the great men and women in the past and seek to excel and overshadow them. As it was said in this video, seek to be the best you can be even the Mujadid (Reviver of Islam) of this Century. Reach for the moon and if it turns out you only caught a star, be happy that you got such a pretty thing.
In times of hardship turn to Allah swt.. The Prophet saw. used to whenever he had a problem would pray 2 Rakat, seeking God’s help. Let ‘s revive this Sunnah. Whenever we have to make any decision let’s consult amongst each other (Istishara), seek goodness from Allah (Istikharah) then carry out our decision with determination (Azm) and then have trust and confidence in Allah. (Tawakkul)
Care less about what other people think and improve the way you think about yourself. As formulated in Lessons drawn from the article I read a while ago, let go of the contradiction in your mind. That what you have to say is rubbish, not of importance and that no one cares about your opinion, while fearing that others would care enough to put your ideas down. Numb Yourself to the thinking that everyone is out for you. Create a positive self-image of yourself, don’t put yourself down other people already do that for free but also don’t delude yourself. Know your strength and weaknesses and improve.
Face your fears a step at a time. Start small with whatever you are working on. If you have Social Anxiety, maybe meet 1 or 2 people, get to know them and include more and more. Pace yourself, but put yourself out on a limb however small it is. Talk to Cashiers, Waiters, ask them about their day something inconsequential. Do this often with as many people as possible, join a help group. The world outside of Tumblr is not as bleak as it looks.
Distance yourself from the people that bring you down. If you are constantly in the presence of friends or family members who do nothing else than insult you, abuse you then try to find a safe spot. Involve other parties, get a counsellor, call a helpline to help you out, to at least talk about it, take care of yourself. Our religion implores on us not to cut family ties, but that does not mean that one stays in abusive environments.
Finally, have in mind and this is for everyone, that being introvert does not mean that one is also shy or lacks confidence. Being an Introvert simply means that one is more reserved and prefers or needs solitude to recharge. It is possible to be a shy extrovert (ENFJ). Don’t buy into the stereotypes, that you being silent is automatically a sign of your lack off confidence and try to overcompensate. I always say that the Prophet saw. said “say something good or stay silent”, now I just need to work on those panic attacks.
Wa Allahu A’lam, this as usual is a reminder for myself first and foremost. I probably needed it most, to display and formulate my thoughts to get past it. May Allah swt. increase our confidence and trust in Him, for it is in Him we Trust. May He increase our confidence in ourselves, so that we may be confident with who we are and be leaders in our communities. Amin.