One of the side effects of having been heavily bullied when I was younger was low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. Looking back now, as a confident young adult, I want to share five unexpected ways anyone can build their self-confidence.
Self-confidence and self-belief grant me access to more opportunities and help me lead a life I want to live. According to psychiatrist Dr. David Basangwa, whenever someone has feelings of self-doubt, they give off subtle cues that plant doubt in others’ minds.
Have you ever met someone and instantly felt like you could not place your hand on what was missing but you doubted their abilities to execute whatever they claim they can? Yeah. We all pick up on (and give off) subtle cues of our true emotions even when we do not intend to do so. It is human psychology.
Our capacity to handle situations in life expands only to what our confidence will allow.
“As is our confidence, so is our capacity.”
— William Hazlitt
Confidence comes from a Latin verb fidere’ which means “to trust”; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one’s self.
If you were able to attain an unshakeable level of self-confidence, what would you do differently? There are innumerable things you would accomplish if you were confident that you could.
Confidence comes as a direct result of viewing yourself in the most positive light possible, so it is something you can proactively develop for yourself.
Self-confidence does not happen while you wait passively. If you leave it up to the world around you, you build your confidence on sandy ground. What you need is a rock-solid foundation, and this comes from building it from within.
Plenty has been written about building self-confidence — creating a plan, setting goals, faking it until you make it, finding the right mentor, etc, and today I want to discuss 5 simple and unexpected ways that are not usually shared in mainstream media.
1. Take chances that make you feel uncomfortable.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
— M. Scott Peck
Have you heard about the psychology of doubt? According to a paper by J. Cohen in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the most common kind of doubt is self-doubt.
Typically people who self-doubt do so because of a negative self-image. They have concluded that they cannot trust themselves — either to come to reasonable conclusions or to control their own lives.
The moment you doubt whether you can do something, you limit your ability to do it. Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to look uneasy and a little silly in front of others.
Allow yourself to grow your inner strength and build your confidence by occasionally putting yourself in situations where you are forced to overcome new and unknown obstacles.
Commit to learning, adapting, and growing. Decide that your visions and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations. Dare to try. Step outside of your comfort zone. Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.
2. Fail fast and fail often.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
— Chinese Proverb
Many times, the fear of failure holds us back from what we want to do. And this fear is always strongest in the beginning before we build our confidence. To resist at the beginning is always the easiest choice to make, and it’s also the only choice that guarantees you will never reach the result you desire.
Begin right now.
You must encounter many defeats to learn how to not be defeated. Failing is a process of learning; it helps you grow and know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still rise after you fall. It is this process that boosts your confidence gradually over your lifetime.
You have to remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you fail or how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop taking steps forward. In the end, those who don’t care that failure is inevitable are the ones that most often achieve success.
Learn to fail fast, and fail often. It creates confidence when you realize that each failure is a lesson, and brings you closer to your next success.
3. Ignore what most people think of you.
People have a right to their opinion, and you have the right to ignore it.
— Joel Osteen
The most important opinion should be the one you hold about yourself.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
If you have an over-preoccupation with perception and trying to please people’s expectations, then you can go mad. You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish.
How would your life be different if you stopped allowing people who don’t matter to poison your mind with their opinions?
Social media has most of us fooled. We mistake our huge followings and social networks of hundreds or even thousands as friends who have earned a say in our lives and how we get to live it. That’s wrong.
To build your confidence, focus on earning and maintaining the trust and respect of the few people in your life who matter — your close family members and real friends.
When you earn the trust and respect of these special people, no matter where you go or what you attempt to do, you will do it with a sense of confidence, because you will know the people who truly matter are truly behind you.
4. Laugh in the face of frustration.
Laughing is, and will always be, the best form of therapy.
— Dun Voire
The best medicine is a strong dose of laughter and letting go.
When things don’t go as planned, laughing or crying are often the only two options left, because they are both instinctive human responses to frustration. Both are okay, but laughing usually feels better.
Sometimes a little self-invoked humor is all you need to lift your spirits and light the path forward. Even in your darkest moments, strive to see the lighter side of a situation and crack a smile.
Doing so will help you think positively and reawaken your confidence about all the possibilities that still exist on the road ahead.
Also, learning to laugh through your frustration wires your subconscious to believe that everything can be figured out. That is one of the most effective ways of instilling self-confidence from the inside out.
5. Compliment others and help them smile.
The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.
— Blake Lively
In 2016, a teacher, Ms. Morgan Rublee’s launched “Operation Extraordinary,” a social experiment aimed to change people’s opinions of themselves for the better.
At the start of the experiment, students were required to walk through a door whose label best describes them. The doors were labeled “Average” and Extraordinary. Most students walked through the door “Average”.
The experiment involved each member of the class giving compliments to other students. At the end of the experiment, which lasted a week, most students walked through the door “Extraordinary”.
The experiment concluded that genuine and timely compliments affect our own, as well as other people’s self-confidence
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion, compassion, humor, generosity, and kindness. We can use these tools to make the world a happier place.
In the process, you’ll help other people around you smile, which will help you feel good about yourself.
By looking for the best in others, you bring out the best in yourself.
The floor is now all yours…
If you were able to attain an unshakeable level of self-confidence, what would you do differently?
Also, what would you add to the list? What has helped you build your confidence? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.