I’ve recently come across lots of clients who suffer from extreme performance and social anxiety.
Now I’m not talking fear of performing at The Royal Albert Hall. I’m talking crippling fear of being in front of small groups of people they know, making small talk with someone they don’t know during a wedding breakfast, or giving a speech.
The art of confidence, isn’t a new topic in the wedding world and it is one that will regurgitate itself every time a new cycle of incoming brides and grooms emerge. Discovering fears of how they will cope with wedding day confidence. Fears of how they will deliver vows or a speech without making a fool of themselves. Fears from the pressure to look perfect. Fears of walking down the aisle with lots of people watching. Fears of being the centre of attention. ALL.DAY.
There is no magic formula to having confidence – in fact, we already have it, we are all born with it.
As a child, we didn’t mind trying something new and falling down or failing. We didn’t mind telling people we felt sad or happy, or fear asking for help. We didn’t mind randomly bursting into song or dance in the middle of a supermarket. The little inhibitions we had as children actually gave us freedom to be ourselves and to express ourselves without fear of judgement.
In adulthood, we’re generally taught to be modest, especially us Brits. We often don’t know how to accept compliments. We’re taught to censor or ‘play down’ our successes through ‘fear’ of being branded cocky or over-confident and this could also be another factor (at a subconscious level) that we shy away from displaying and embracing self-confidence.
Image soure: Pinterest
Even the most confident among us experience moments of low confidence.
So many actors I know have low self-esteem. But they are blessed with ability to adapt to any situation, they also have self-awareness and know how to ‘present’ themselves in a confident and authentic way. We can’t be confident 100% of the time, that is not realistic, but we can improve, develop and embrace confidence.
Experiencing low confidence is a learned behaviour, usually based on our fears of other people’s opinions. We can unlearn it.
Here are a few tips to eliminate some of those inhibitions and organically grow your confidence for your wedding day and beyond.
Learn Something New
Photography: Bandele Zuberi
Learning a new skill is a great way and is proven to increase confidence and wellbeing.
Anything! From learning how to dance, learning a martial art, cooking masterclass to something more daring like paragliding.
Mr Nu Bride and I started learning Tango lessons this year, we have so much fun and experience so much laughter (with and at each other) At first we both felt ridiculous and self-conscious and almost quit after the first lesson, but once we added laughter to the mix we stuck at it and it massively helped with removing some of those stifling inhibitions!
Force yourself to keep growing and learning.
You have to practice confidence. So try to start building confidence before your big day. Learn something new and start to sow the seed of confidence and self-belief. Jump in head first like a child would. We’re all beginners at first, but practice makes perfect!
Find a Positive Focus
Instead of worrying about being judged or worrying about tripping over, change your thought pattern to a positive.
Remember everyone is there on your wedding day to support you, not to judge you. If you think they are there to judge, you need to rethink your guest-list 🙂
Focus on your beloved. Remember that out of all the other billions of people in the world you found and chose each other. That is actually a miracle; (especially after the stories I hear from my single friends about the woe’s of online dating and trying to find a husband) Hello? MIRACLE! I defy you not to smile and feel like a million pounds with that thought in your mind!
Change Your State
Feeling un-confident is not a permanent state (feeling). It will pass. Whilst it may not feel like it at the time, you are in control of changing how you feel.
When you start to feel un-confident, write down all the things you are good at. (Don’t say you don’t know!) What are all the things people come to you for advice or guidance on?
Another good way to give yourself a confidence boost is to ask your beloved to write down the top 5 things they love about you. Keep these in your wallet and remind yourself of them when you need a boost.
Psssst. Try Mindfulness podcasts – great to settle you before any type of performance no matter how small.
Start to Feel Confident
Image source: Pinterest via Indulgy.com
If you are in the middle of speaking, saying your vows or perhaps doing a reading and suddenly start to feel un-confident:
Take a sip of water and SMILE.
Smiling (more so laughter ) physically triggers healthy changes in your body (releases endorphins – the feel good hormone!) If something goes wrong, it’s ok. Don’t take yourself too seriously on your wedding day and smile.
Remember the moments when you feel relaxed, calm and confident and draw on how they make you feel. Simply by smiling or changing your thoughts can INSTANTLY change how you look and feel.
Do something to physically change your state, by laughing, changing your position, e.g if you are sitting; stand up, get some fresh air, take a sip of a drink, laugh.
Plus….Wear shoes that make you feel sexy – instant confident booster!
As simple as it sounds, having great posture and keeping eye contact is a natural way at making you look and feel more confident instantly.
Before your wedding day, start to work on your posture.
Perhaps you could start a Stott based Pilates class.
A real, time saver if you don’t have time for classes: sit on a gym ball instead of a chair when working at a desk, or watching TV. (Yes really!) By sitting on a gym ball, you are forced to sit up straight and strengthen your back and stomach muscles. NO SLOUCHING – you’ll fall off!
Working on your posture now is great practice for standing tall and looking gorgeous on your wedding day and owning that wedding outfit!
Don’t be Afraid
Image source: Pinterest
My biggest tip yet is: Be Yourself!! Being confident is about being comfortable being yourself.
Don’t be afraid of being nervous or un-confident on your wedding day. Accept that you might be nervous! It’s ok!
The definition of fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm“
Is there really a threat of danger, pain or harm on your wedding day? (If there is, then who the heck are you marrying?!) lol) In all seriousness. No there isn’t. Fear is a choice.
A wedding day is exciting and can also be nerve-wracking. How many of us have been in front of lots of people and the centre of attention before? Not many. So feeling un-confident and nervous on your wedding day is completely understandable, normal and is also ok…
I’m a trained actress and a therapist and even I was nervous on my wedding day. Was I afraid? No. I remember one friend texting to wish me luck and I told her my stomach was in knots, I was so nervous. She told me to enjoy the nerves. So I smiled and I did.
Lean on those around you. Give your best friend a big squeeze. Laugh as much as you can and embrace every single moment. I promise there will be a moment on your wedding day when the nerves will pass (without the aid of alcohol!) and your confidence will shine through.
Are you worried about confidence and wedding day nerves? Any thoughts / experiences you’d like to share? Comment below or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org, I am a professional life coach and this is one of the most common issues I work with my clients on, they have great breakthroughs and I of course would love to help!