As I have lived here in China for two years now.. I have noticed a lot of low self-confidence with the Chinese people.  I don’t know if this comes from living in a country where the government rules with an Iron Hand… or from just being treated so badly by employers and other people, but the low inner confidence is really terrible…. so much so .. that even I .. with my strong, High Confidence self… tend to feel bad some days….. I get so frustrated with things that shouldnt be happening, or that should be changed but I cant.. that it sometimes brings me down.

This is a big problem for my husband also… In China few people get opportunities to change their life paths… mostly.. if you are born poor in China you will die poor in China…. and many do … it is a sad case of affairs here… and most people settle for their place in life over here… unless you are lucky.. they say…. if you get lucky.. you can change things… I believe otherwise.. I don’t think it is luck.. I think it is all in your confidence.

So, I have some suggestions to build inner confidence.. I hope it helps all of those who have this issue and even gives you the strength to meet your dreams.

1) Stop Worrying About What Others Think This seems to be a big problem in China… and I am sure other places.. but here is it horrible.   I told one student that after she had her baby she could put the baby in a stroller or hook the baby to her front .. and go jogging to stay in shape.. she told me that other people would look at her and think she was strange… I said.. so?  You will be in shape.. and healthy… what does it matter what they think… she just couldn’t fathom doing anything like that. You can’t be responsible for how everyone around you feels about how you live your life. So stop worrying about how your family, partner, and friends will react to your choices, and start getting real about how you feel about your life.  Give yourself permission to put yourself first.

2)Do Things Because You Want To Throw away  Obligation and Guilt, and make a commitment that everything you do, you do because you want to. Even for things you don’t necessarily love doing. It’s all about your attitude. You can choose to be a martyr and a victim, or you an choose to be authentic. I use to do this and worry so much about what other people wanted me to do for them and feel bad if I didn’t help them or do what they wanted… Then I grew up…. and now I know… It is all about me and how I feel.

3) Give up the Image We all have  images or pictures in our head of who we think we are and who we want the world to see, and then attempt to live up to them. When the image you portray on the outside comes from who you truly are on the inside, you are being your true self.  But, when the person you show the world is based on fitting into expectations, ideals, and images set by society, your friends and family, or your work colleagues, you are living a lie. Choose to give up the false image and instead live from the inside out, be your true self.

4)Know what makes you unique and special Every person is born with unique gifts, talents, and things that they are naturally good at. When you find them and use them, these gifts lead you to real happiness and success. I have the gift of gab… some people even say I tend to use it too much.. hehehe.. but I use it to write and share my opinions and experience with other.. I can also sing a little, and dance a little..  You have gifts too. Start noticing the compliments you often get from people. There is sure to be a gift there.

5) Be clear about what makes you happy Stop trying to fit into the expectations that outside forces—society, family, work, friends—have said you must achieve in order to be successful, happy, and accepted, and start asking yourself, “What really makes me happy?”  Think about the times that you’ve been happiest. What were you doing? What did you have? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps.  Live life the way you would be the happiest.  This doesn’t me extremely rich or anything like that.. I mean in your heart… what would make you happy?  then go with that….

6) Know your emotions We all have things that set us off or that causes an overly strong reaction. It is time to stop letting them control you! Pay attention to situations that make you emotional. Be the boss of your emotions by having and taking responsibility for them, and don’t let them drive your life. To be true to yourself, you have to know what is under the surface motivating you. I am still working on this one.. but.. it gets better everyday…

7) Do what you know is right This is not an easy task. It often requires going against what everyone else is doing or thinking.  being true to what feels right for you, even if it doesn’t fit the needs and approval of other people — parents, partners, and friends included. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, it’s just not always easy. Be committed to being you, even when it’s scary, and even when other people don’t like it.  I life this every day of my life.. when I as I am married to Michael and living in China… I do what I know is right… but it is so hard sometimes.

8) Have an opinion and express it As Americans we usually have no problem expressing our opinions but in China.. they are like little robots.  They have no personal opinions on anything.. they just do what they are told and keep everything.. “in their heart”   They try to tell me to do these things… but I tell them.. I am not keeping anything in my heart… I am letting the shit out….People who live their true selves have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds, and hearts. They know their Truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your Truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you’re you.

9) Let others see you Stop being fake…be vulnerable. Share your most real self with the people around you—family, friends, and colleagues—and let them see who you really are. The strong, the weak, the self-assured, the self-doubter, the funny, and the serious. Have and show your emotions fully—from sadness and happiness to anger and joy. When you keep the full range of your true self hidden, no one can know who you really are. While it may feel scary to be vulnerable, you’ll find that the more you show the real you, the more others will be willing to share their real selves too.  This is really important for my Chinese friends to know.  Stop hiding behind “face”  be you.

10) Never, Never, Never Apologize for being you Unfortunately, the world is full of people, including ourselves, who want to keep us small, to play along, and to be good girls and boys. When we listen to them by apologizing for who we are, or discounting our contributions, thoughts, and feelings, we squash our true selves. Know that you deserve to be all of you, all the time. Be brilliant. Be you. And never, never apologize for it.  We are all special and unique in a good way… be proud of who you are and what you do… I pat myself on the back all the time…

I hope this helps someone.. I use these 10 tips to keep my inner confidence strong when I run into the issue here in China.. the pointing, staring, laughing, “giving face”, just everything.. can get to you … like you are walking back in time … before the civil rights movement… but I have to be strong… I have a wonderful husband.. and I need to keep him strong… both of our inner confidences need to be on the top of its game, and know that someone is there loving you and supporting you…. only makes you stronger.

until next time…