Self-confidence is likely both a term that we are all familiar with, and something that we would all like to have. But building self-confidence isn’t just something that can happen overnight, and it also comes easier to some people than others. However, if you are someone who feels that they lack self-confidence, don’t worry, because it is certainly something that can be achieved, if prioritised correctly.
It is also natural for our confidence levels to ebb and flow at different stages in our life, and they may even take a knock or two here and there. But working on building self-confidence day-to-day, and having a strong foundation of trust and belief in yourself and what you have to offer, will help ensure that you can bounce back quicker from these knocks when they happen, and live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is generally defined as the trust one has in their abilities, character and judgment. Having self-confidence is not about thinking that you are better than everyone else, but it is about knowing that you have no reason to compare yourself to others in the first place (Maryam Hasnaa).
Being self-confident also means that you don’t feel the need to seek validation from others, as you know that you are worthy no matter what people think of you. In other words, having a healthy level of self-confidence isn’t about walking into a room full of people and wanting or assuming that they will all like you, but it is about being indifferent to whether they do or not. That right there is the sign of a very self-confident person.
Additionally, it is possible that you can be more confident in some areas than others. Perhaps you are very confident in social situations, but are insecure about your academic capabilities. Or maybe you are a confident singer, but lack confidence in romantic settings. This is completely normal, as we are all different and have our own strengths and weaknesses. But following our self-confidence tips will help to increase your confidence across the board so that your weaknesses can be improved and/or embraced, and no longer hold you back.
Why is self-confidence important?
There are a number of benefits to having a healthy level of self-confidence, which include higher satisfaction in life, more success in career, better and healthier relationships, more agency and self-sufficiency, less urge for anti-social behaviour, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved overall mental and physical health.
Steps for building self-confidence
So now you know exactly what self-confidence is and why it is important, but now you need to know how to achieve it. Look no further – here are our top tips for building self-confidence!
Get to know yourself
Firstly, how can you be confident in yourself if you don’t even truly know yourself? Take time to develop your sense of self by getting to know yourself more – your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses, your hopes and aspirations, and so on. This can be done by becoming more in tune with yourself, through practices like journaling, meditation, going to therapy, and having meaningful conversations with your loved ones or peers. Also, trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be a great way to learn more about yourself and how you perform in different scenarios. Having a clear sense of who you are is the first step to building self-confidence, so get learning!
Embrace who you are
Once you have a clearer idea of who you are, its time to start embracing it. Everyone has different interests, hobbies, strengths and tastes, and that’s what makes the world such an exciting place. It would be boring if everyone was the same, even though it can seem “cooler” and “easier” to just try and blend in with the crowd. But the truth is, it is more exhausting to try and keep up a façade of being someone you aren’t, and it can completely shatter your self-confidence and make you lose sight of who you are and what you were put on this earth to do. It is your unique traits that people are drawn to, and what can help you to connect with more like-minded people and have more meaningful experiences in life. So, if you have some not so typical interests, hobbies or tastes – or even if you have the most typical of them all – get embracing them, and notice the difference it makes to your mental health and confidence levels.
Write a list of all the things you like about yourself
Sometimes it can be hard to begin a self-confidence journey when we are so used to being in a state of self-criticism and being hyper-focused on our flaws. It is very easy to slip into this state of mind when we are not prioritising your mental health, in which we wonder how we can feel confident in ourselves when we don’t even particularly like ourselves. Well, this can be worked on the too!
The truth is, nobody is perfect, and everyone has their flaws. The key to being self-confident is not believing that you have no flaws, or viewing your flaws as a weaknesses, but accepting them merely as just a normal part of the human experience. With this in mind, it can be much more beneficial to focus on your strengths and the things that you like about yourself when you are building self-confidence, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Challenge yourself to write down three things you like about yourself to begin with. Perhaps you like your hair, or your generosity, or the fact that you know the words to every Taylor Swift song – it could be anything! Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise our good qualities, and drawing attention to them can go against our nature.
But everyone has good qualities, and it might help to imagine what your family or friends might say about you in order to get you started.
Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself
The people we surround ourselves with can have a major impact on how we feel about ourselves. Take a look at your relationships and how they make you feel, and notice if there are certain people in your life who make you feel bad about yourself, and if there are others who lift you up. Perhaps its time to start prioritising yourself and your feelings by spending more time with those people who are supportive of you, who encourage you, and who make clear to you that they enjoy being in your company.
Look after your health
Looking after your physical, mental and emotional health for the right reasons is another element of having self-confidence. Allowing yourself to feel worthy and deserving enough to feel good in your body and mind and live a long and healthy life is a sign of self-confidence, and can be achieved through regular exercise, a healthy, balanced and non-restrictive diet, adequate sleep, self-care, and mental health practices like therapy, mindfulness, meditation and journaling. Becoming the best version of your physical, mental and emotional self will afford you the best opportunity for building self-confidence.
Try looking at yourself as you would a friend
As we already touched on, sometimes it can be easy to fall into the habit of being self-critical to the point that we begin to dislike ourselves. Our negative self-talk, in which we hyper-focus on every part of ourselves that we consider to be a flaw, has a significant effect on our self-confidence and self-esteem over time, and it can take some work to get out of that mindset. But one way in which we can try switching our view of ourselves is by looking at ourselves as we would a friend.
Think about it. Most of us would never speak to a friend in the way that we speak to ourselves when we are being self-critical and engaging in negative self-talk. Take a step back and ask yourself, what would I say if my friend was speaking about themselves like that? Or how would I feel if a friend spoke to me like that? This can help rationalise that voice in our head that is telling us we are not worthy, and realise that what its saying is not true or real or logical. We are all worthy human beings who have so much to offer in this world and are so loved by so many, and sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.
Avoiding comparison is easier said than done, and especially in this day and age of social media and the internet where we can see what everyone is doing at all times, it’s natural to judge yourself against others. But avoiding comparison is not impossible. It is a skill that takes practice, and it is also a major part of building self-confidence. When you catch yourself comparing yourself to someone else, become mindful of that thought and don’t let it take over. Remind yourself that everyone is a worthy being on their own journey in life, and life would be boring if you were the same as everyone you see on social media. Remember how far you have come in life, and how proud your past self would be of everything you have achieved so far. Focus on gratitude and what you love about yourself and your own life, and avoid triggers like social media and reality TV if you feel that they are negatively impacting your mental health. If you can crack the art of avoiding comparison, you will be well on your way to becoming more self-confident.
Get comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like you, but not everyone has to
And finally, the key to being self-confident, and the aspect that is often most difficult to grasp – the fact that not everyone is going to like you. No matter who you are in life, there will be someone out there that doesn’t find you to be their cup of tea. Think of your favourite people in your life, or even your favourite celebrities and personalities – there are even people out there who don’t like them. And think about your own view of other people – I’m sure there are people you don’t like too! And that’s okay. Getting comfortable with the fact that everyone has different opinions and world views, and the fact that some people just don’t click, is a vital step to becoming self-confident. Once you grasp this, a weight will be lifted from you as you realise you don’t have to please everyone. In the journey to self-confidence, the only person you have to worry about liking you is yourself.
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