One of the things I concentrated on during this time was eliminating things that made me feel self-conscious or stressed out. I cleaned out my closet and donated any ill-fitting clothes to charity. I took a break from my social group that was causing me some emotional stress. However, one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is that when you remove negative things from your life, you have to fill the void back up with positive things. So I concentrated on having a better posture and not looking at the ground when I walked. I focused on actually smiling at people, instead of a frozen half-smile. I actively engaged in conversations with strangers and started going to the gym more.
As the month progressed, I began to get a little bolder and do things by myself that normally I might have been too shy to do alone. I went to an introductory beekeeping class by myself since it is an interest of mine, and decided to join the local beekeeper's association. I went out to eat by myself at a real sit-down restaurant and not just a fast-food drive-thru. I even struck up conversations with strangers while I was there. Then I decided to seek out other groups that share my similar interests, hoping that in the process I might make some new friends, but even if I don't, at least I will be actively engaging in things that I enjoy.
What I found is that confidence, much like positivity, breeds more confidence. I started with some small things, like improving my posture and eye contact, and progressed to becoming more bold and doing things outside my comfort zone. By repeating my mantra of the word "confidence" several times throughout the day, I was able to continually bring the subconscious thought of being more confident to the forefront of my mind, and then project that feeling outward. Admittedly, a couple things happened during the month that shook my confidence a little, like being bullied by a co-worker. But just thinking about being more confident was like wearing a suit of armor to protect me, and keep me from letting those negative things get under my skin.
Going forward I plan to be much-more self-confident. I plan to trust my instincts, believe in myself that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, and be self-reliant and not dependent on others to tell me that I can accomplish things. Confidence, like many other things, is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- when you expect a positive outcome, that's what you get in return.