3 Confidence-Boosting Techniques Real Women *Actually* Use

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We all have those days when no many how many inspirational memes you see or internal pep talks you give yourself, you still feel self-doubt creeping in.

It's totally normal to feel that way sometimes, but wouldn't it be awesome to have a cure-all hack for tapping into your source of inner self love? That's where developing a personal mantra comes in.

If you're rolling your eyes at the thought of a mantra, just think of it as this: an internal pump-up soundtrack to make you feel awesome, but to also not beat yourself up when you're feeling not-so-awesome. And the latter is the crucial part, according to reiki healer Kelsey Patel.

"Imagine sitting across from yourself at the table, like your best girlfriend. How would you show up for yourself?"

"You have to have compassion for yourself," Patel says. "You have to give yourself the same amount of love and protection you give others. Imagine sitting across from yourself at the table, like your best girlfriend. How would you show up for yourself?"

To spread the word on how women can better encourage each other (and themselves), we teamed up with Aerie—which celebrates women of every shape, story, and background with its #AerieREAL movement—to find out what three totally badass women do when they need a quick hit of the good stuff (confidence, duh).

Scroll down to get their real-life advice—plus download a customizable calendar with a month of feel-good mantras.

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Photo: Kelsey Patel

Kelsey Patel; reiki master and meditation teacher

As a reiki master, yoga instructor, and meditation teacher, Patel often gets a front-row seat into people's inner lives. One theme she has identified? How frequently people shame themselves for not being perfectly happy all. the. time.

"I’ve noticed with a lot of people how quickly we want to believe that if we feel bad or are having a really down day, that somehow that’s a bad and wrong part of ourselves," she says. "I’m trying to help people see that just because you’re having a bad day, just because you’re depressed for a moment or a season, it will pass, but the more you beat yourself up about it, you’re actually just hurting yourself more."

Her go-to method when she's having an off day is reminding herself that she is worthy of love and compassion, regardless of how she's feeling about herself that day. All together now: "I am worthy."

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Photo: Candace Molatore

Candace Molatore; social media strategist and photographer

As the adopted child of white parents growing up in a predominantly white-populated town, Candace Molatore struggled with feeling like she fit in. "It was really hard to feel accepted because no one, not even my family members, looked like me," she says. "I spent a lot of my adolescent life changing myself to try and fit in as much as I could."

Eventually she realized that she was burnt out on trying to change, so she tapped an unlikely resource: social media. While it's often considered a cause of poor confidence, Molatore used it to broaden her worldview, connect with others, and ultimately build herself up.

"It takes way more energy to be a hater than to just empower the ones around you."

"I was exhausting myself trying to fit a mold that I was never born to fit into," she says. "It wasn’t until really diving into social media that I saw more women who were like me. I felt less alone, and that really inspired me to put myself out there more."

Her advice for women searching for confidence? Surround yourself with women who make you feel that way—and pass the good vibes back to them, too.

"I’m all about spreading positivity and giving support," Molatore says. "It literally costs zero dollars to be a kind and compassionate human being towards others; I saw that online and it's always stuck with me because it’s so true! It takes way more energy to be a hater than to just empower the ones around you. You feel better when you know you’re lifting others up."

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Photo: Bo Stanley

Bo Stanley; surfer, model, and body activist

As a young girl trying to land a surfing sponsorship, Bo Stanley always heard the same story: She was a talented surfer with a pretty face, but not the requisite sample size 2 of professional surfers.

That narrative took its toll on her psyche, and she developed an eating disorder as she chased that elusive size 2. "I didn't have an understanding of what it was to genetically be built differently," she says. "I ended up losing sight of what was important to me, which was surfing, and I began just focusing on my body."

Around the time she had this breakthrough, she stopped going after a sponsorship in the traditional surfing industry and started doing it because she loved it. "I left and here I am now: I get to do what I love, and I'm the healthiest, strongest, and happiest I've ever been."

"If I ever have a negative thought about my body, I have literally learned to...switch it to something positive."

But her new-found self love isn't infallible, and she has bad days like the rest of us. When she gets down, she focuses on three steps: Identifying her negative thoughts, flipping them to positive ones, and repeating the mantra she keeps on her favorite bracelet: I am strong. I am beautiful.

"If I ever have a negative thought about my body, I have literally learned to change that thought and switch it to something positive," she says. "I have the tools now to switch it and say, no, you are beautiful, you are perfect as you are. Go be the strong athlete that you are. Go live life and be happy."

Click to download the calendar below for a month of mantras (and the chance to create your own).

In partnership with Aerie

Top photo: Candace Molatore

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