Three Ways to Build Inner Confidence that Lasts

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with a well-respected and highly intuitive figure in my field. We spent an hour talking about personal dramas and future dreams and he gave me a heap of encouragement with just enough push in the right direction. It was a helpful conversation — validating and reassuring.

However, in the days following, reassurance devolved into self-doubt and anxious questioning (as it DOES).

In exploring this shift, I realized I was secretly hoping, wishing, craving for this person to tell me that I was “special” in some way — that I was gifted or smart or “good enough.” I wanted him to tell my future, rid me of all my insecurities, and send me happily on my way.

But that didn’t happen *shrug* — and even if it did, it would only help for a fleeting moment before my trusty self-doubts bubbled back up to wash it all away.

Confidence built on someone else’s words is a shaky foundation, at best.

Confidence needs to built from within to be believed, embodied, and structurally sound.

But how does one do this? Build confidence from within? How we escape the desire to have others tell us we are important / special / worthy?

I believe this is a lifelong journey of telling your ego to take a backseat, but this is how I’ve been working with it.

Live in the world.

I know I need to put myself out there, do work that feels authentic to me, and see what happens. I need to seek out experiences to grow and know myself better. Take a risk, fail — and then fail again. Enjoy successes, learn from mistakes, and jump into the deep end.

Confidence doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t come from a title or a carefully crafted Linked-in profile. I may have read some books, I may have earned some degrees — but that doesn’t ensure confidence. I might even be blessed with a natural talent but that still doesn’t ensure confidence. I need to use that talent, be active with it — allow it to breathe, stumble, and persist in order to foster confidence from within.

So step one to building inner confidence is just do it — don’t wait for someone else to tell you can.

2.

The next step, is accepting the failures that inevitably come from putting oneself out there and “just doing it.”

I’ve been learning to lean into the uncomfortable parts of the process and actually celebrate the pitfalls.

I remind myself of my favorite mantra: “you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be” and try to relax into not being “there” yet.

We all have visions, aspirations, and hopes for the future — and those are good and healthy to have — but being impatient and self-loathing about what you can’t do or aren’t doing or have failed to do only creates a sense of lack in yourself and your abilities. The opposite of inner confidence.

Do your very best… and then let go of the outcome. There’s only so much you can control, so when you reach that point — let it go.

Don’t let the misses or slips chip away at your confidence. They are a normal sign of growth, and typically a good sign of progress. Failure is telling you something, typically something very important, so pay attention but don’t let it drag you down.

Expect the pitfalls and welcome them as wise teachers.

3.

And finally, I’ve been attempting to actually celebrate my accomplishments and acknowledge that I am good at some things. This seems to be the hardest yet most important (as it always is).

So, after recognizing my desire to be told that I have talent or worth or whatever from a complete stranger — I ended up just telling myself what I wanted to hear.

This might feel uncomfortable because our culture says boastfulness is bad — and I’m not encouraging you to become an obnoxious braggart — HOWEVER, if you’re the type of person who never lets a compliment land or only focuses on what you could or should be doing better, then it’s time to give yourself some kudos.

Acknowledge what you do well and allow yourself to be proud of it.

Let it sink in for a few moments.

Actually say it out loud. It’s not just a positive affirmation — it’s a truth we fail to recognize.

The truth is that we could all function from a steady foundation of inner-confidence if we just stopped caring so much about how other people measure our worth. Don’t wait for someone to tell you you’re special —trust in yourself.

So, in conclusion:

Get out there in the world → take some risks → fall on your face → bask in the glory that you did something risky enough to fail → be patient with the process → recognize all the amazing gifts you offer along the way → trust yourself.

Experience your specialness, it’s the only way.