Day 21: Confidence

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” – Eleanor Roosevelt
As we make our way through Dryuary, we will inevitably run into some social challenges. When saying ‘no thanks’ to alcohol is a new experience, we might approach social situations warily, with some trepidation.

There are really only two reasons to be nervous. The first is our own ability to actually say no with confidence, and mean it. The second is the reaction and possibly pressure from friends and family. Here’s the thing. When we truly gain control over our own feelings, others’ feelings will hold no power over us. So let’s stick with the first issue. How do we learn to say ‘no thanks’ with confidence?

In fact, confidence is more than a feeling. When we approach challenging social situations thinking we “just need more confidence” that equates confidence with willpower. If we just had more confidence, more willpower, we could lift that 250 lb. weight, right? Wrong. Confidence is a set of beliefs we have about ourselves and our abilities, knowledge that we have gained through experience. Change our experience and we change our beliefs about our abilities.

How do you think Simone Biles does that crazy, death defying vault with such confidence? You think she sat around and wished she had more confidence? Heck no. She practiced hard and worked her behind off. That’s how she did it. So don’t get too hung up on feeling good, figure out ways to be good.

Step One: Make a Plan. That first time you walk into a party or a pub or a restaurant and the first person asks what you’ll have to drink, you need to be prepared with a quick and easy response. “I’ll have bubbly water, thanks.” We often build up way too much drama and nervousness in our own head around this situation and our ability to utter those five words. Honestly, after they’ve left your mouth it’s a piece of cake. You have a glass in your hand, people ask what you’ve been up to, life goes on. And I know it sounds hokey, but practice saying those words out loud ahead of time. Hey, it can’t hurt, right?

Step Two: Plan for Adversity. Confidence building may not always arise from pleasant circumstances. There will inevitably be That One Person who says, “What’s the matter? Why aren’t you drinking?” Or, “Oh, come on! Just one.” Or, “You’re going to make the rest of us feel bad.” So practice those comebacks as well. “Nothing’s wrong. How have you been?” “I think I’ll just stick with iced tea for now.” “Hey, we’re all going to have a great time. Have you seen Abner lately?” Rehearse in your mind how to change the subject, ignore the subject, or dismiss the subject. Try it when you’re alone in the car or in the shower. Can’t hurt, right?

To be mentally tough, you have to learn how to have a good bad experience. Every time you get push back is an opportunity to build confidence. Sure, it’s hard, and you might feel grumpy or sad or anxious, but the practice of saying ‘no thanks’ this time will change how you deal with the next social challenge. You will have a different experience, a different set of beliefs about your abilities, and new confidence. And then you won’t have to deal with that second issue of other people because they will hear your voice and know.

Post Submitted By: HorseLover

Suggested NA beverage: New York Sour