Building Confidence as an FTM Trans Guy

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Sep 28 '20 | By Serenity | Views: 349 | Comments: 0
Building Confidence as an FTM Trans Guy

How often have you seen someone exuding confidence and thought to yourself, I wish I could feel like that? Walking about feeling safe and secure in your skin, being certain of your place in the world, and your identity as an FTM transgender individual – if that seems out of your reach, you aren’t alone.


Chances are, you want to not simply survive but thrive as a trans guy, both in private and on online dating sites for transgender folks and allies. While there are many tools you need to have in your metaphorical self-care kit, building confidence is chief among them.



What exactly is confidence?


Before we dive into a list of tips and suggestions on how you can build it, we first need to define what we mean when talking about confidence. Self-confidence often overlaps or is used as a synonym for self-esteem or self-efficacy. While there are similarities, it is interesting to note the differences, too:


 – Self-efficacy:

Refers to your belief about your own abilities regarding specific tasks. Self-efficacy basically is the real-life concept that corresponds with the famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”



 – Self-confidence:

Meanwhile, reflects your general belief about how likely you are to fulfill a goal. Your past experiences play a huge role in both self-efficacy and self-confidence, but self-confidence refers to a broader view instead of focusing on specific tasks.



 – Self-esteem:

While often used interchangeably with self-confidence, is quite different from it. Self-esteem reflects your belief in your overall worth as a person. Viewing yourself as a “good guy” is a statement of self-esteem, for instance. In that, it is even broader than self-confidence, and improving your confidence will help your esteem, too.



Obviously, the lines between them are blurry, and there is no linear trajectory you can follow. You may have enough confidence to think you’re capable of learning to make bread, yet at the same time lack self-efficacy and you assume your first attempts will be horrible. And whether or not you can bake a killer loaf, you hopefully still think that you deserve love and happiness.



Why is building confidence essential for FTM trans guys?


Insecurities and self-doubt are core components of ill mental health and poor well-being, so finding ways to improve your confidence will definitely help you.


As a trans guy, whether you identify as FTM, genderqueer, nonbinary butch, or else, building self-confidence can be especially tough. Questioning societal standards and stereotypes of what it means to be “manly” and finding your own way takes a lot of energy, perseverance, and yes, confidence.


So how do you build it? Think of it as a muscle: you need to train it to strengthen it.


Here are several useful tips you can choose from and try for yourself. See what works for you and maintain it until it becomes second-nature to you. Your confidence will never falter again. 



Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses


Even if the mean voices in your head (or on the internet) want to tell you otherwise, everyone has unique skills, both hard and soft, as well as talents in various areas of your life. Likewise, you will have areas in your life you do not excel at.


While many of these will remain the same after your female-to-male transition, some may have changed. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you know what you are good at and what your weaknesses are. Once you understand these areas, you will have a clearer mental image of yourself and what you will need to improve your self-confidence.




Be a Friend to Yourself


Unfortunately, some FTM trans men are their own worst enemy. It is impossible to build your self-confidence if you are the one constantly putting yourself down. If you want confidence and high self-esteem, you need to foster an attitude of love and acceptance.


When a negative thought arises, ask yourself: “Would I say this to about my best friend to their face?” Catching yourself when your inner voice turns self-deprecating is the first step to stop the habit. Once you notice it, actively work against it. If you think, for example, “I didn’t manage all I wanted to do today, I’m such a loser”, and notice it, tell yourself that you are human and some things take more time than anticipated. You tried, and that’s what’s important.



Remember and Celebrate Your Successes


Please steer clear of grievous mistakes like downplaying your success or only focusing on what you are struggling with. Such an attitude will not help you build self-confidence. Focusing on the negative aspects of your life will only drag you further down. However, if you create a habit of celebrating your successes (no matter how small they are), you will soon feel more confident.


These celebrations can take various forms: taking a walk for yourself, giving yourself a break to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, spending time with a friend to cheer for your achievement, or simply giving yourself the satisfaction of crossing the item off your to-do list for the day.



Remove Things That Bring You Down


Out of sight, out of mind –  this affects reminders of your shortcomings or of negative experiences as well. Be sure to hide or get rid of items that evoke negative thoughts when you see them.


Beyond the shirt you wore to that horrible breakup, these things can be as varied as mean friends, a job you hate, or a habit you have gotten into. Reflect on the impact these have on your life and eliminate them for good.



Smile At Yourself In The Mirror


Looking at your reflection can go a long way in helping you accept yourself. When you do, be sure to smile. If you do this every day, you will feel happier and more secure in yourself over time due to something called “facial feedback theory”. The expression on your face has been shown to help your brain register and intensify the emotions it perceives on your face.



Improve Your Posture


Just like smiling at yourself, sitting up straighter, or striking a “power pose” has been proven to boost confidence in studies. It might feel awkward at first, but remember that stepping outside your comfort zone is a core component of your journey towards more self-confidence.



Do Not Compare Yourself To Others


Every person is unique. Just because this FTM person achieves a very masculine appearance and maybe has better muscle definition than you does not mean you have ‘failed’ at being FTM. You differ in your genetics, your socio-economic backgrounds, and much more – focus on yourself and don’t measure your progress against that of others. Easier said than done, sure, but so essential to keep in mind.



Take Risks


There is no better way of building self-confidence than taking risks. Taking risks shows – mainly to yourself – that you are confident in yourself and your abilities. If you now think you have to do something scary or dangerous to achieve this, think again: Simply getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new counts as a risk in terms of building self-confidence.


In essence, this point is all about living your life to the fullest. Take a moment to reflect on what you would like to try and do. Learn how to skateboard? Sign up for a transgender dating site? Strike up a conversation with a friendly-looking stranger? Sure, you might find that you do not like the outcome of something you do, but you may forever regret not giving yourself the opportunity to try. Your self-confidence will definitely thank you!



Be Persistent


At the end of the day, there is no miracle cure for low self-confidence. There is no pill you take or action steps you follow once and overnight, you are filled to the brim with confidence. It truly takes time and effort to build up. Therefore, you should be persistent, see mistakes your make as learning opportunities to help you avoid repeating them in the future, and never give up. If you lose sight of the journey, don’t beat yourself up. Life happens, we get busy. Simply get back on track and resume your self-confidence practice.

 

On a final note, if you are struggling with self-confidence and do not know where to start, find a trusted friend with whom you can share your troubles. Having a strong support system will help you be more confident and give you the foundation you need to begin building confidence on your own.


Get ready for the most fun you’ve had in forever! Once you feel confident enough, it’s time to sign up for an ftm dating site. There are many transgender dating apps out there, and platforms that facilitate online dating for trans women, men, and others have increased. You have ample space to search for other trans singles or trans allies who are looking for a serious relationship.


If chatting with potential dates is outside your comfort zone… treat it as practice for your self-confidence boosting journey! You might find the perfect partner without expecting to. 

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