Confidence is one of the most useful skills a person can ever have. If you have a decent amount of confidence in yourself; then you can grasp more opportunities. Sadly, not all of us are naturally self-confident, or we lost faith in ourselves along the way. If you too lack confidence in yourself and want to know how to boost the confidence, then giving this a read should help.
Self-confidence is mostly a matter of outlook. Having higher self-esteem and seeing yourself as someone worthy is the first step towards boosting your self-confidence.
It sounds easy when all you need to do is think better of yourself, but you and I both know that there is a whole lot more to it than that. There is a systematic way to approach this issue. There are things you need to know to fully understand the extent to which confidence affects us in everyday life. Keep on reading, as I show you everything you need to know to be confident.
How Can You Build Self-Confidence?
I assume you made peace with your reason for low self-confidence. Now it’s time to work on how to get it back, and potentially boost it. The formula I like to follow for this is starting with the physical and tangible side of your life. Doing it like this makes it easier for your psychological side to follow along.
1. Take Care of Your Body
Your body is always worth investing in. even if you are depressed and anxious, you should start by taking good care of your body. Try to get a good night’s sleep, or a day’s sleep if you’re nocturnal like me. Eat full and healthy meals, drink plenty of water, basically be nice to your body.
Even if you don’t believe in yourself, your body will carry you through your life much better if you treat it well. Who knows? It may even pump out some of that fancy feel-good hormones. The point is, if you stay healthy and take care of yourself properly, regardless of your mood, it will have a positive impact on your life.
It’s not much, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment. Trust me; this positivity goes a long way in rebuilding or boosting your self-confidence. What you need to keep in mind is that there is nothing wrong with your body. What you need to focus on is the activity itself, not the result it brings.
Do note that I said “take care of yourself” and not “go have the perfect body like everyone else”. You don’t need to go to the gym or have a strict workout regime and have a chiseled body. Just take a walk once in a while, enjoy the fresh air, eat something healthy (and maybe some ice cream too!). Just be active and get enough rest.
Grooming is also a part of taking care of yourself, take a shower, trim your beard, shave if you want to, heck, go to the salon to get a decent haircut. It doesn’t matter what you start with, but grooming yourself nicely, will positively affect your mindset. Most importantly, you’ll feel better about yourself.
2. Self-awareness and self-compassion
Self-compassion is probably the best thing you can practice for gaining more self-confidence. I’m sure you heard multiple times about self-awareness, and how that is important and whatnot. But you never heard about self-compassion nearly as much.
Chances are, you are too self-aware. You are overly self-conscious, and you judge yourself way too harshly for every mistake, while you gloss over the mistakes made by everyone around you. I’m sure this sounds familiar to you because these are exactly the things you’ve been doing. While constantly being told that self-awareness is good.
The thing is, it’s not self-awareness you’re practicing, it’s harsh self-criticism. Self-awareness is knowing your capabilities, while all you’ve been doing is nitpicking your flaws.
To counteract this, start practicing self-compassion. Reassure yourself that it is ok to make a mistake and that you can try again later. Self-criticizing will only serve to demotivate you even further. While treating yourself with kindness can potentially increase your motivation.
3. Do Not Compare Yourself to Others
I know you understand to a certain degree how constantly comparing yourself to others is an annoying habit. This comparison is something that all humans do, ‘then why do only I have low self-confidence, and they don’t?’ this is probably the first thing you thought of, right? What this says about you is that you only compare your failures to other people’s success.
A lot of people who suffer from low self-confidence, do this exact thing. Whereas most people would look down on certain people, or see themselves as better, you keep comparing your shortcomings.
It is something you need to fix consciously. Every time you start thinking about how someone is better than you, try finding something you can do better than someone else. Do not start thinking about that better person until you find something good about yourself.
4. Set Smaller Goals
Setting smaller goals is something for not just people with confidence issues, it also helps procrastinators.
Achieving small goals will slowly restore your self-confidence. On the off chance, you fail on a certain task, the backlash will also be mild because it wasn’t that important of a thing, to begin with.
5. Learn to Accept Failures
All our life we’ve heard things like “Failure is not an option.” “do or die.” and a bunch of other nonsense like this. Things like these were so romanticized and became so mainstream that we don’t see failures as lightly anymore.
You need to consciously tell yourself that it is ok to make mistakes and fail, and if someone does not appreciate the effort, then it’s their fault, not yours.
6. Do Not Focus on the Things You Cannot Change
Certain things in life are out of human control. You can’t change these no matter how hard you try. What you can do, however, is accept them as they are.
Even things like a bad-tempered boss fall in this category, no matter how hard you work, some people won’t appreciate you. Unsupportive parents are also something you have no hand in. If constantly trying to please them takes a toll on you then don’t do it. It’s your life, not theirs. You need to accept these facts and move on.
7. Do Not Label Yourself
What a lot of people with low self-esteem tend to do is label themselves as someone with little confidence, timid, shy, awkward, etc. Some people do it so often that they make it a part of their self-introduction or even a joke.
Doing this sort of thing makes your brain think more and more that this is the acceptable range of activity it is allowed to do. If you constantly keep telling yourself you don’t have confidence, then guess what? You really won’t have confidence.
Because every time you keep saying that, you subconsciously start to believe it as the norm. The more you say it, the more you start to believe it. It is very important to avoid this kind of self-talk. Otherwise, you cannot boost that confidence of yours.
More Things You Can Do to Boost Confidence
The previously mentioned points were all about mentally training yourself to be self-confident. But there are actual actions that you can take in your day-to-day life to boost your confidence. Let’s go through them.
- Prepare: One thing that will help you be more confident is proper preparation. It doesn’t matter how easy or hard the task is, you should always prepare as best as you can. This way, you will see more success and be more confident when you perform.
Do not think about it too much. By the off chance you still stumble, it is a very humane thing to fail. And no one will remember that failure more than you will. So try to let it go and prepare for the next project.
- Power pose: Adopting a power pose would give you a small boost of confidence. You don’t need to stand like The Rock or anything, just keep your back straight and have relaxed shoulders. Power posing is a controversial concept, but there is no denying that it does help to some extent.
- Dress well: Dressing well and power posing goes hand in hand. People say that clothes make the man, and they aren’t wrong. If you wear something that you feel confident presenting yourself in, then wear it.
If you feel slightly self-conscious about your current wardrobe, then go on a shopping spree. I can’t stress enough how helpful dressing nice is. I got a huge confidence boost when I changed how I dressed. It reminded me just how much presentation affects our mindset; and those around us
- Learn to smile: Smiling is the best skill you can ever have. I say ‘skill’ because it doesn’t matter if you want to smile or not. As long as you mustard at least a few smiles that you can show people confidently in certain situations, you’ll be golden.
Smiling is a skill, it’s a weapon, it’s a shield, it’s the best combination of offense and defense you can have in this post-modern world.
I would even go as far as to say that you should practice smiling in front of a mirror if you aren’t confident about your natural smile.
- Stay away from toxic people: if you are in a circle where people belittle your achievement and make themselves sound better, then get away from it. That circle is doing you more harm than good. There are plenty of people on earth, and you will find new friends sooner or later.
Why is Self-Confidence So Very Important?
Self-confidence plays a major role in anything that a person does throughout their entire life. Some even argue that it is the key to finding happiness. While that statement isn’t entirely true, it is not too far off the mark either.
A self-confident person can do more things. They can snatch more opportunities as they can decide more quickly what they can and cannot do. Self-confident people are generally more successful. As you can guess, things contribute to a person’s overall happiness quite a lot.
A confident person has the motivation to keep advancing further in life. Confident people tend to spend less time second-guessing themselves and more time getting things done. When you don’t have to worry about the consequences of every little action; you can see things from a bigger perspective.
Being confident increases the enjoyment you get from everything. It’s not because of how easily confident people handle things, no. It is because of how hard it is for a person lacking the confidence to do something.
Self-confidence has a snowball effect. This effect goes both ways. If you are confident, then you can do things more optimally. You can gain more pleasure from the things you do. And you eventually end up being very successful and happy.
On the other hand, if you are not confident enough, you would end up mushing over all the opportunities you missed. You would dig yourself into a hole filled with “what if’s” that you can’t climb out of. That would eventually lead you towards depression and anxiety later on.
Many people tend to gloss over the downward spiral a crippling lack of confidence can send people down. Interestingly, a lot of depressed people admit to lacking confidence in themselves.
What Causes Low Self-Confidence?
I mentioned earlier how confidence is mainly based on awareness and self-projection. That’s why you can’t build more confidence just by following things like ‘top ten tips for confidence’ and whatnot. You need to understand what the cause of your lack of confidence is. From there, you need to address those issues; only then can you start building up lasting confidence.
There is a combination of reasons why someone can have low self-confidence, but none of them is your fault. That is an important concept you need to accept. You need to keep in mind that nobody is perfect. Trying to do everything perfectly is also a reason why people slowly self-criticize themselves into having low self-confidence.
No matter what situation in life you’re in right now, having low self-confidence is not something that’s on you. It may go back to your family, your upbringing, the relationships you’ve been in, heck it could even be your genes.
Even a perfectly normal person with a decent amount of self-confidence can turn into a completely unsure person if thrown in the wrong situations over and over. So, knowing the cause of your low self-confidence is a big step towards dealing with it.
That said, here are some of the main reasons for low self-esteem –
- Bad parenting: Most people’s low self-esteem stems from their family environment or upbringing. It is not just about abusive parents; even somewhat normal parents can damage you psychologically by belittling you constantly.
As kids, we look up to our parents for validation, and when the said validation is not given once we accomplish something, that’s where we start to become unsure of ourselves. If the process repeats multiple times, some of us just plain become insecure.
- Traumatic experiences: Trauma left from abuse is a very big contributor to low self-confidence. Usually, emotional and sexual trauma lowers our self-worth or self-esteem to such a low degree that we stop valuing ourselves. We can’t possibly inhibit confidence in ourselves if we don’t even value ourselves.
Physical trauma leaves us feeling ashamed of our bodies. It is especially true if you are left with a disability. These contribute a lot to dampening a person’s self-confidence. Often the best course of action is seeking help from a professional.
- Bullying: I believe we all know how devastating bullying is. It is one of the most prominent causes of low self-confidence. Childhood bullying in particular is a serious issue, as most children don’t even know what is happening to them, and they end up carrying the burden long into adulthood.
It isn’t just bullying, even harassment from your peers and humiliating experiences can sow the seeds of insecurity that could lead to you having low self-confidence later on in life.
- Depression: People who suffer from depression and anxiety also tend to have low self-confidence.It’s an endless loop, as sometimes low self-confidence is what slowly leads one down the rabbit hole of depression.
Sometimes it’s the depression that slowly makes people question their self-worth, inevitably leading to low-self-confidence. It’s a cruel cycle, one that takes a long time of careful habitual grooming to break. But rest assured that you can do it.
- Surroundings: Lack of self-confidence does not only stem from your own life experiences. Truth be told, modern media is probably more to blame for most people’s low self-confidence than their own life experience.
I’m sure you noticed how almost any commercial starts by making you feel like you lack something, then shows how wonderful it would be to have their product. This marketing scheme is entirely built around the consumer’s insecurities, and the big companies want to cash-in on it.
- Social Media: When you open social media, it must feel like everyone has the perfect relationships, perfect marriages, perfect houses, perfect lives. This feeling slowly grates on you, making you unsure of yourself, often leading to having low self-esteem.
It is probably the most troublesome reason for low self-confidence to deal with because most people aren’t even aware of it. Does this mean you need to ditch social media and all forms of consumer media? Hell no, all you need to do is be aware of what’s happening, and how people only share their best on social media, not their worst.
You should only move over to how to build your self-confidence back after you are aware of why you lack it in the first place. If the reason remains unknown, all your careful work can come undone because of that unknown reason later on. You need to be aware of why you lack it in the first place. Then learn to accept that it was something that was out of your hands.
How Is Self-Esteem Different from Self-Confidence?
Although people throw around the term ‘self-confidence’ and ‘self-esteem’ interchangeably, there is a subtle yet defining difference between the two. Self-confidence is about knowledge, and self-esteem is about trust.
Believing in your capability is self-esteem. It is what you use to measure your worth. It is what you use to judge yourself based on. Self-confidence is about the knowledge of what you can and cannot do.
What this essentially means is, you cannot cultivate self-confidence without believing in yourself. So, you must first gain self-esteem before you can have lasting self-esteem.
How Do You Help Someone with Low Confidence?
If you are reading this for a loved one who lacks self-confidence, then hats off to you good sir. Not many people would do so much to help someone, but the fact that you are trying is going to positively affect the said person.
You need to be aware of certain things; if you wish to help someone who lacks confidence in themselves.
- Be a good listener: if your friend or a loved one has low self-confidence, then the single most helpful thing you can do is be a good listener.
Note that people who are unsure of themselves will not open up too easily. Stick with them long enough, and attentively listen to what they have to say and they will use you pretty much like a sounding board.
It may not seem like much, but to someone who isn’t so sure of themself, it is a blessing to have someone they can turn to for validating their ideas. You can’t actively “fix” their self-confidence issue, but by listening to what they have to say you can give them the reassurance they need to try presenting the same idea somewhere else.
- Keep them included: what a lot of people with low self-esteem tend to do is, overthink about every bad thing that happens. If they did not do a good job at a certain project, or generally experienced any setback, try to keep them included in your activities as much as you can.
If these people are left alone, they will constantly keep criticizing themselves harshly, which only worsens their self-confidence issue.
While keeping them distracted is a good idea, you can’t exactly keep doing it all the time. Try to get back to the topic of their blunder at some point while painting them in a positive light.
- Make them feel needed: What a lot of people with low self-esteem tend to think is that they have no value compared to other people. One of the ways to make them feel good about themselves is by letting them help you.
Try to ask for their help with things whenever you need to. When they help others with something it establishes a sense of self-worth that is very helpful in raising their self-confidence.
Alternatively, you could go and help other people together, try some volunteering work, or take part in events. Slowly they will break free from their misconception that they don’t have any worth.
- Counseling: If whoever you’re trying to help seems too unresponsive, then It might be worth taking them to seek professional help. He/she may not like it if you forcefully try to suggest it. So, try introducing the possibility gently.
Is Low Self-Confidence A Mental Illness?
Having low-self-confidence is not a mental illness. It is, however, something that can lead to many health problems. Consider it as something of a doorway. What happens when a person lacks confidence? They cannot do all the things that they want, because they were afraid to speak up at the opportune moment.
What happens when we can’t do all the things we want to do? We start to have regrets and doubting ourselves. That slowly leads to overthinking and anxiety, and ultimately to depression. Without proper help and support, it can become a never-ending loop where a person can get stuck for a very long time.
If you are starting to doubt yourself, or having feelings that you are not good enough, I suggest you consciously try to get out of this habit.
In the end, it is great that you are trying to address your lack of confidence consciously. There are countless people out there who are suffering from the same problem. The difference between you and them is that; they aren’t aware enough yet, to try and fix it.
With enough practice and conscious thinking, you can get your confidence to a high enough level where it won’t hold you back. I hope this helped you know how to boost the confidence in yourself and in your ability. I believe this structural mindset and activity changes should help you be a better version of yourself as it did me.