How To Boost Your Self-Confidence
‘As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.’ ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
How often do you find yourself talking about your fears and the need to build more confidence in yourself? If there’s a big yearning for growth and development, there needs to be indispensable desire to work on your confidence.
When we are confident we do better in all areas of life, we more easily overcome losses, we feel free and independent. If we believe in our capabilities, we do not feel the need to cling to something external that brings us security. Knowing that regardless of what happens, we will manage things better, we will take more risks and accept challenges and safely enjoy the “dance” of life.
Confident people give trust to others; they enjoy giving others attention, respect and build complete connections without fear and adhesion.
What exactly is confidence?
Assertiveness doesn’t mean that one needs to overestimate him or herself, to think that he or she is more than others; it does not mean that one needs to be arrogant or behave arrogantly.
Being confident means to accept and approve of yourself, cherish yourself, appreciate your opinions and to believe in your ability to rely on yourself. Being satisfied with what you have and what you do.
So, how do you gain confidence in yourself? How do you believe in yourself?
Change your limiting beliefs and attitude
Most often lack of self-confidence comes from childhood. If as a child you were belittled, if your parents insulted you, or if they had too high demands on you and you were not taught to take decisions on your own and to believe in yourself, you probably formed beliefs that you are a person who can never do anything well enough and that you are not someone who is sufficiently valuable and worth.
When your inner beliefs are such that you unconsciously begin to behave as if you’re a loser — you end up having a constant internal monologue blaming and offending yourself. Without realizing that you are treating yourself the way you have been treated by others.
And if you listen to the way you talk to yourself, you will note that in your head, you have constantly spinning thoughts: “How could I say what I said?, I should have done this or that., What a fool I am.” This way you alone put insurmountable obstacles on your way.
There is no way you will feel confident and satisfied while you continue to criticize and condemn yourself. Of course, these thoughts arise automatically and you are not even aware of them. Thus, what is the first step towards building confidence?
You will probably ask — “If I don’t criticize myself, how will I change, wouldn’t this be a type of acceptance of myself?” In reality, things stand in opposite direction — if your inner monologue is filled with insults, criticism, and underestimation, you will create energy that suppresses you, discourages you and makes sure that your negative “predictions” of failure will come true. Self-condemnation and underestimation cut your wings, before you’ve even tried to fly. This ends up being quite logical and eventually you end up crashing.
On the other hand, if you constantly blame yourself and even if you were to achieve something, you will never be happy. Thus, you will need to make a decision to not criticize yourself. You can begin by deciding to do it consciously at least once per week. For this purpose — be alert and watch your thoughts. Every time you “hear” your self criticism, tell yourself:
“Today, I will not criticize myself. I accept and approve of myself. I’m becoming better and better every day.”
With every negative thought about you that comes to your mind, make a note, write these thoughts down. When you are aware and keep track of what is happening in your mind, you will notice the patterns that you have developed and what you will need to remove, so you can feel better and more confident.
Let the affirmation: “I accept and approve of myself. I’m becoming better and better,” become the basis for you. Repeat it every time self-condemnation thoughts sneak into your mind. Write yourself a note, with big bright letters (or find something else that will work for you to see it) and hang it prominently in a visible place. Let this become your new motto.
After a period of time, you will notice the words in your notebook will significantly reduce themselves, and you will end up adding other affirmation that you can repeat daily in the morning and at night. Research shows that affirmations work best when we are in deep, unconscious state.
- I am confident in myself and I know what I’m doing. I believe in myself. I feel more confident.
- The only criteria for my value is my own self.
- I’m valuable. I am free and independent of the views of others.
- There is no failure, there is only experience. I am allowing myself to make mistakes because they are my teacher.
The next step (which can be paralleled with affirmations) is visualization.
In his book “Instant Confidence,” Paul Makena lists several exercises with previews for gradual increase of confidence. Here’s one of them that if you apply regularly, you’ll be able to see instant effects.
1. Imagine that you are standing in front of yourself, but a little more confident. Close your eyes and imagine how you would look if you were more confident and satisfied with yourself. What would be your posture? How would you talk? What would be the sound of your voice? What would you say? See yourself in brighter image, as much as possible.
2. Now imagine that you have merged with the more confident version of yourself. Look things through the eyes of the more confident self, hear life with its ears, soak into the feeling of more confidence.
3. When you feel a little more confident and bolder, imagine that you stand with another even better individual and version of yourself, having more desires, believing in yourself, your ambitions, charisma and inner calm.
4. Merge this once again with the more confident you and again look through those eyes, hear with those ears and enjoy the feeling of being more confident.
5. Repeat step 2 with the improvement of your confident self until you feel brimming with confidence. Pay attention to what expressions you have on your face, how do you feel, how does your body respond, how do you talk? Try to keep a memory of these sensations in order to gradually bring them to reality. Begin to practice this visualization daily in the morning until you begin to feel a change.
Helping yourself with something external
When one is confident in him or herself, even wearing work clothes, this individual will feel comfortable and be confident. Yet when he or she still does not believe enough in him or herself, this person needs a little external help.
It could be a simple as mixing and matching your clothes, or styling your hair differently — doing something for yourself that brings a different external look. There’s no need to be dressing as if you’re a model, wearing expensive designer clothes, yet when you take care of yourself and your appearance, you know that you look good, and this will make you feel more confident, while at the same time inspiring you to trust yourself.
Practice over and over again
One of the most important steps in building self-confidence is — ACTION — practice over and over again. If you stay only at the level of affirmations and visualization without taking any steps forward, you will hardly be able to make any great change.
Affirmations and visualization are the first step to changing your beliefs and attitude, but to build confidence in yourself practice is needed, small successful daily steps that will help you drive the wheels to your self-confidence.
Begin with small steps. You can’t demand of yourself to become the 7 wonders of the world over night. Don’t try to jump too high, as you will be become frustrated and give up on your goals.
Don’t wait for a special event to come — such as a formal presentation, gathering, or some type of examination.
You can’t expect that if on daily basis you behave timidly and with uncertainty, not daring to speak in “extreme” situation where the timing is appropriate for you, you will end up being confidence. Thus, begin to practice daily — in conversation with relatives, with the clerk at the store, with colleagues at work, etc. Take initiative at every opportunity you have — gathering with friends, drinking coffee at the local coffee shop, going to parent-teacher meetings. Speak your opinion boldly and give ideas. And each day try to come across a new beginning that will help you leave your comfort zone and do something different.
Work on improvising and releasing the desire for control
People who do not believe enough in themselves are usually more relaxed when everything is planned. Thus, when undertaking something new, they want to know every step along the way to the smallest detail. They want to keep things under control, so there is no risk for them, and if they are unprepared, they won’t end up failing. Regardless of how well one prepares for anything, no one can ever predict all details ahead of time.
I have reached the conclusion that what brings people confidence is not them being under control, but to learn to be flexible, to improvise and to use the emerging possibilities rather than run away from them.
The more one tries to stay within a specific scenario, the more insecure this person feels if things “go wrong”.
Freedom and confidence are in the ability to improvise! Accept the “confusion” in the plans as a challenge, as a unique opportunity in your life to get something new. When you are flexible, you will not only be more confident in yourselves, but you can achieve much more success in different areas of life. Because the chances are always in the unexpected opportunities that you did not plan.
Learning to make decisions and cherishing your opinions
To be self-confident in yourself, it is very important to learn to make decisions. Usually insecure people ask everyone around them about their point of view, they hesitate for a long time, consider making a decision and then having the feeling that they have taken the wrong road and have probably made a mistake. In most cases they don’t even try to understand what they actually think and ask various “authorities” to provide them with an answer. Thus, they end up underestimating their own opinion and perpetuating insecurity in themselves.
When you have to make a decision — hold back the impulse of asking others and be alone with yourself and think about what you are really thinking. Remember that your opinion is important and valuable! No one else better than you knows what would be the most appropriate solution for you. Trust your own judgment about things. Let the leading in making your decisions be a feeling of comfort that brings it in your soul, not others’ opinions.
Of course, we can never insure ourselves from mistakes, but ultimately whenever we lose one thing, we win another. And mistakes always bring us lessons and are often just the necessary experience of life. Because, as I tell people on daily basis: There are no failures in life, there are only experiences.
Not compromising yourself and harboring yourself deeply and resolutely
Lastly, to be confident in yourself — you need to value yourself. Place yourself first. This is not selfishness. Remember that you can be useful to others only when you solely feel good about yourself.
Learn to say “No” to people and places that are not good for you or draw you into anything that you think is a waste of time or makes you feel bad.
For every choice you make in your life — daily — from the smallest — to the important ones, ask yourself, “Does this choice bring me respect or make me feel humiliated?”
Following these steps with patience and perseverance, you will become more confident in yourself and trust your skills and self powers.
Do you feel confident? What ways have you used to build self-confidence?
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About The Author
Dr. Kachovska is an internationally known Change Catalyst. She teaches individuals and organizations about awareness, connection and the need for change — personally, socially, and professionally.