For many, confidence is a somewhat elusive quality that’s slowly earned over the course of a lifetime. A highly complex emotion, confidence is both innate and learned, and it often sets the stage for many of life’s triumphs. While the importance of confidence is no secret, many struggle to instill that strong sense of conviction in themselves, turning to books, blogs, and role models to improve their sense of self-worth.
In honor of women’s equality day, we’ve tapped Alexis Meads, a professional life and wellness coach for women, to weigh in on the traits of confident women that anyone can easily emulate. Meads believes confidence is something that everyone deserves to experience, regardless of success, status, or looks. In an article for Huffington Post, Meads details what she believes to be the most important traits of confident women, all of which can be learned. Using her insight as a guide, here are our top three qualities to focus on for a greater sense of self-confidence.
Authenticity often goes hand in hand with confidence, especially with the rise of social media and technology. “We are more ‘seen’ today than ever before thanks to technology. Social apps flood us with glossy photos of perfectly arranged dinner tables and newly engaged friends,” writes Meads. “What’s not shown is that everyone has insecurities and flaws. You do this world good when you embrace your whole self.” Staying true to your innate sense of self is one of the bedrock traits of women with confidence.
We’re not saying that everyone shouldn’t enjoy a compliment here and there—the defining word in this sentence is need. Not needing the approval of others is one of the standout traits of confident women. “Highly confident women aren’t living for someone else’s praise. They move forward boldly in the direction of their dreams,” writes Mead. “If you allow other people’s opinions to be more important than your own, see if you can tap into your own intuition where deep down you know what you need to do. Just asking yourself, What do I need right now? can bring greater confidence.”
One of the most important traits of confident women, this characteristic boils down to a strong sense of self and a willingness to accept one’s flaws. Rather than taking things personally and letting negative comments influence self-perception, confident women make it a point to treat themselves with compassion, no matter what the circumstances. “When you’re able to see criticism as a reflection of the speaker rather than of you, life becomes less about drama and a lot more about fun,” writes Meads. Confident people, she adds, “have learned to feel compassion for themselves and move through feedback with grace.”
For more on self-confidence and compassion, download Alexis Meads’s guide to greater self-worth.
This post was originally published on September 19, 2016, and has been updated by Megan Beauchamp.