Answer from: Andreia Trigo, RN, MSc
Learning to be confident is important. It’s about your self-belief, your self-confidence that you’re going to be able to do or go through whatever you want to go through. It’s a very important aspect of life, especially in instances when you feel that life is not going for you, and you feel like you might want to give up. I want you to know that self-confidence is not something that we are born with, it’s like a muscle that we can practice. I’d like to teach you the six steps to practice this muscle that can give you confidence whether you’re going through treatment or you’re trying naturally or you have a challenge in your life and you might be feeling that you’re not being able to go through with it.
Step number one is all about finding your purpose, find your reason why. Because once you know your purpose, your reason why your confidence will automatically build up. Try thinking about your reason why you want to feel confident and it’s important to remember that when we are feeling confident, hopeful, and optimistic that things are working for us, we act a certain way, we feel a certain way and we are more open to embracing whatever is happening to us. However, if we’re feeling a bit sad or depressed, a bit fearful or doubtful of what is happening, we are going to act a certain way and maybe we’re not going to embrace the opportunities that are coming our way. Just think about why is it important for you to feel confident, what will feeling confident bring you and how will your life look like when you are in that state of absolute certainty and of absolute confidence that you can cope with whatever is happening to you.
Step number two is about changing your outlook, your mindset, the way you are perceiving your situation, and remember that whatever way we are perceiving the situation as has to do with our beliefs, the way we were brought up. It might be that the way we were brought up was in a way that makes us not feel so much self-confidence as we would like to feel so remember to challenge your self-limiting beliefs because the moment you change your beliefs, you change your perception about the situation that is happening to you and you automatically change the way you feel. If you’re not feeling very confident, maybe you have some self-limiting beliefs about yourself, about your ability to go through without whatever is happening to you so we want you to start shifting your pattern of thought from a stage of being of not believing in your abilities to a stage that “maybe I can actually cope with this”
That takes us to the next step number three which is taking pride in our achievements. We’ve all had certain achievements in life and things that we are really really proud of so one of the ways of feeling more confident at the moment is remembering a past situation when we achieved something and we are really really proud of it. So just take a couple of minutes, close your eyes and think about that moment. Where were you at that moment when you achieved something that was really important to you? Where were you? What were the surroundings? What was happening? What were you saying? What were you feeling? What was the self-talk in your hand? Because the self-talk that we have in the moment of achievement is very different to the self-talk we have in the moment of self-doubt. The moment you put yourself in that past scenario you automatically feel more confident in the present moment.
That takes us to step number four – using confident body language because our thoughts are linked to our feelings and our feelings are linked to our actions and our body language. If we want to change the way we feel one of the easiest ways is to change how our body looks in that present moment. This is a universal language we’ve all seen someone who is sad and we might notice that they have their shoulders down, head down, dense muscles, shallow breathing and even if it’s someone from a completely different culture, we don’t speak the language but if they have this body language, we automatically know that that person is sad. In comparison to someone who has their shoulders back, head up, is smiling, jumping, we automatically know that that person is happy. Our body language is automatically linked to how we feel so one of the ways that you can change how you feel is by changing your body language. Putting your shoulders back, head up, and just standing straight in that power pose for a couple of minutes and you will start feeling more confident.
Step number five is about embracing a growth mindset and this is a very important step. It’s a difference between looking at the situation and believing that it’s a setback, for example, you’ve been through IVF treatment, the treatment hasn’t worked this cycle and you think this was a setback because “this was my last chance and I’m never going to be a mum”. Or looking at the same situation and thinking well I’ve learned something about myself and about my body with this cycle that hasn’t worked. I’ve learned the medication and the protocol that hasn’t worked, I learned a few things that did work. You’re using this situation to grow and learn and it’s a stepping stone to the journey of where you will want to be in the future. In trying to visualize every situation as a growth opportunity can change your confidence levels dramatically.
Step number six is all about practicing realistic thinking because our brain automatically goes into all the reasons why this might not work. It’s a self-protecting aspect of our brain but what I would like to invite you to do is to think about all the reasons why it might work, maybe you have a different clinical team, different drugs, maybe you’re doing a different diet, whatever it is that you’re doing differently that maybe make this next cycle a bit different. If you have a list of all the reasons why it’s not going to work and a list of all the reasons why it might work and you write them down, you have them faced facing each other and you will reach a more realistic conclusion about how you think and feel about this situation. This can be incredibly powerful.
In summary, accept yourself, retrain your brain using these six steps. It’s something that is possibly possible to be done. Finally, embrace a growth mindset. This journey is so difficult but it’s a journey that you are going through that will take you to where you want to be.
How to gain confidence and hope during IVF treatment?
When undergoing IVF treatment, you may feel that you do not believe in yourself and you are about to give up. Self-confidence is not something we are born with. You can learn how to be confident, feel more in control, and want to continue fighting to achieve your goals.