In my first years after joining secondary school, I often found it hard to have confidence in myself; my parents’ evenings were filled with my teachers telling me that I was too quiet in class and people would often ask me to speak up, so they could hear what I was saying. However, after attending drama classes for four years, I feel a lot more confident in myself, and other people have noticed it too; by working on different aspects of yourself and being willing to face challenges, anyone can improve their self-confidence.
Self-confidence is defined as: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement.
Drama is something that can be very helpful when building self-confidence. Low self-confidence is often associated with quietness of speech and a tendency to shy away from the spotlight, but this is something that drama forces you to counteract. When attending drama classes, participants learn how to use breathing to speak with clarity, as well as how to project their voices enough to fill a room. These skills allow you to sound more sure of yourself when you speak, and in time, this may lead you to actually feel more sure of yourself as well.
Another aspect of self-confidence that drama can address is improving the way you hold yourself physically. Body language gives people hundreds of subliminal messages, which lead them to form judgements about you, before you’ve even opened your mouth. It is a stereotype for people with low self-confidence to stand with their shoulders hunched and their hands in their pockets, not really realising the effect this has on how confident they appear. Drama encourages you to think about all aspects of the character you are portraying, including the way they stand. Once you get into the habit of focusing on your physicality when acting, it will be easy to transfer this into real life: where previously, you would not have paid much attention to your body’s positioning, after spending so much time working on this in drama classes, you will find that you become more aware of it in general life, which allows you to make changes such as standing up straighter or widening your stance. These make you both appear and feel more self-confident.
Lastly, never underestimate the power of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. This involves approaching situations as if you were a self-confident person, even if you believe you are not. It’s a form of acting and visualisation that you can do in real life, and it can really make a difference. You could give a fake smile when talking about something, to make it seem as if you’re more sure of what you are saying, or you could laugh something embarrassing off, even if you feel uncomfortable on the inside. If you spend enough time practicing your confidence levels, eventually, you will start to believe it and your self-confidence will genuinely improve.
By Isabella Davidson