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I'm a confidence coach - these are the 3 rules I tell all my clients

Confidence coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi shares her advice on becoming a more confident you

Confidence Coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi
June 16, 2023
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We shower our friends and family with compliments, and are happy to praise strangers on the internet, but how often do we stop to appreciate ourselves and acknowledge our own inner beauty?

We're more likely to self-compare to others - and comparison culture is one of the reasons many of us lack the self-confidence that allows us to notice the brilliant things about ourselves.

"Comparison is one of the biggest thieves of joy and it is such a confidence killer," says confidence coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi. "When you compare yourself to others, the narrative says 'they're so amazing and I am terrible,' we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others, making us feel inferior and bad about ourselves," - not a good grounding for self-confidence, which is essential when it comes to happiness. 

WATCH: Confidence coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi's top tips for squashing comparison culture

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"When you're not feeling confident it impacts your mood," says Tiwalola. "You have low self-esteem and are more likely to see yourself through a negative lens, lacking true joy and happiness.

"Comparison pulls up our insecurities and blows them up, but every single person deserves to love themselves - it's a birthright," she continues.

When we only notice our perceived weaknesses, they're what we end up paying attention to, explains life coach Michelle Elman. She notes that if we only focus on things we dislike about ourselves, it makes us unable to see the bigger picture.

If you dislike your hair, for example, you'll likely dwell on that and miss out on recognizing your positive points, such as your beautiful eyes, your kind nature or gorgeous complexion.

"I think we all struggle with comparing ourselves to other people," reflects body acceptance expert Nelly London. "It's almost impossible not to, but it is so draining and can honestly steal so much joy from your life.

"I couldn't leave the house for months at a time because I was so scared of being judged by my physical appearance," Nelly explains. 

"Life was passing me by, but I wasn't living it. I got so upset and frustrated I realized something major needed to change."

Nelly put in years of work to learn to appreciate herself, and notes that she still catches comparison culture creeping in sometimes, but says: "I can safely say that most of the time, I just focus on me and my life and don't worry what other people look like. 

"It's like a weight has been lifted, I no longer even notice. I'm able to see myself through my own eyes and no one else's. That might sound weird, but when you stop comparing yourself to other people it really doesn't matter what you look like to anyone else other than yourself."

WATCH: Nelly learnt to quiet the voice of self-doubt in her mind

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As Nelly found, negative self-belief can stop us from being our best selves. But as she did, it is something we can turn around, and it begins with learning to appreciate ourselves: "If you want to like yourself, you have to be nice to yourself. Celebrate yourself like a loved one would," says Michelle.

By learning to appreciate ourselves, we can transform negative ideas of ourselves into positive and nurturing self-beliefs, resulting in more confidence, and a greater sense of happiness.

"When I was able to challenge comparisons, believe in myself and accept who I was, I felt so much more joy, light and energy," confirms Tiwalola.

How to appreciate yourself

1. Challenge comparison

"Not everything you believe about yourself is true," says Tiwalola. "If your default is negativity, it's because of what we surround ourselves with. Come up with your own empowering thoughts that move you forward instead of staying in comparison culture."

2. Kill comparison with kindness

"For every negative thing you say to yourself, tell yourself three positive things too," says Michelle. "Challenge the thoughts in your brain and understand that just because you believe something, it doesn't mean it's true."

3. Perseverance is key

"Keep going," implores Nelly. "Overcoming comparison is really difficult, it's tiring, it hurts sometimes, and sometimes we have to face some really ugly truths, but honestly if you can just keep going you will make breakthroughs and you will be happier for it."

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