Building Your Self-Confidence
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Self-confidence is like a muscle that needs to be used every day. The more you use it the stronger it grows. And confidence is the tool you use every day. But if you’re lacking it self-confidence or need to boost your self-confidence, there are ways to do it. Because if you want to get everything you want out of life, you have to have the confidence to go after those things.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
When faced with a lack of confidence in some area, it’s important to take action. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. There may be fear. It might take work, and yes, even hard work. But by taking action, you will gain experience and confidence. Begin with small steps if you need to.
Let’s say you have a fear of public speaking and want to get better at it. Begin by speaking in front of your mirror at home. Then move on to speaking in front of a room with one or two people in it. Then move on to speaking in front of bigger groups, or joining a club like Toastmasters. With each step, you are gaining confidence in your speaking abilities.
Before getting in front of a group, say positive affirmations. Here are a few to get you started:
- I am a warm, engaging person
- People are friendly and want me to do well
- I have positive energy flowing out of me
- I am confident in what I want to say
- People see the value in what I have to say. They respect me.
Here’s another example of how taking action helps build confidence in other areas of your life. You want to start your own business. You can’t just give up your current income from your job. Instead, begin taking small steps each day towards your goal of starting a business. Maybe one day you call about getting a business license. The next day you set up a business plan. One day you search out competitors. One day you register your website address. Another day you seek financing if you need. Each step takes you closer to your goal. You gain confidence in yourself by taking action toward what you want to do to change your life.
Stop Comparing Yourself
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” – Shannon L. Alder
Comparisons aren’t healthy. It causes envy which can lower your self-esteem. In 2018, a study published in Personality and Individual differences discovered there is a direct link between envy and how you feel about yourself.
Instead of comparing your own wealth, skills, possessions or appearance to others, remind yourself of what you DO have. List your attributes and the things in your life you are grateful for. When you feel the urge to compare yourself, use this list as a motivator to make healthy improvements.
Stay away from triggers that cause the envy or negative comparison. For example, if you constantly compare your business to someone else’s business on Facebook, stay away from Facebook as much as possible. Remind yourself how far you’ve come in your own business.
Build Body Confidence
“I’m an imperfect human being who’s not made to look like a doll. Who I am, as a person, is more important than whether I have a nice figure.” – Emma Watson
How you feel about your body directly affects your self-confidence. Accepting yourself as you are, inside and out, is essential to being self-confident. When you accept and “approve” of yourself, others will follow your lead. When you get right down to the bottom line it’s not your body, your looks, or things that attract people to you initially. It’s your overall, self-assured confidence that makes you shine and stand out in a crowd.
Your confidence intrigues and attracts people. It makes them want to be around you more often. They also want to learn about you and learn from you. This is when your inner beauty, the qualities and characteristics that can’t be seen just by looking at you – such as skills, talents, mindsets, attitudes, compassion, intelligence, loyalty, etc. – come to the forefront. When this happens, they are more easily recognized and appreciated by others, as well as yourself.
When it comes to improving your body confidence, you might think that you need to start “fixing” the things that you don’t like about your body. You’ll be glad to know that body confidence actually has nothing to do with changing your body. In fact, building body confidence hinges on making needed changes to your ideas, priorities, focus, and actions. Another way to improve body confidence is to give your body a challenge. Teach it to do something it’s never done. A physical goal like accomplishing a hike, or completing a 5 or 10k, can give you the confidence in what your body can actually do.
Your thoughts and your attitude determine your level of confidence. Here are a few things you’ll want to do to make sure your thinking and actions are aligned for success. Otherwise, misinformation or old ideas may hinder your progress.
- Out with The Old, In with The New – Learn to identify the faulty, biased, unrealistic messages that industry media wants you to believe in order to further their own agendas and businesses. Replace these with healthy, realistic, inspiring, empowering real-life examples and messages that help you succeed.
- Look into Your Choice of Role Models – Reassess your role models. Don’t look “at” them. Look into what character traits, skills, knowledge, talents, and/or behaviours you admire in them or that inspire you. If you discover that you are drawn to a person’s material things, or what that person can do for you, you probably need to rethink your criteria for choosing a role model.
- Practice Makes Positively Powerful – As you know, learning to appreciate some things about yourself can be very difficult to do, especially if others reinforce a negative thought. Stop hiding in that tiny, restrictive box that limits your positive thoughts and actions. Find out what thoughts and behaviours you need to focus on and/or develop. The next steps involve practice, practice, and more practice. Think about how your role model accomplishes this. The more you practice the more positive and powerful you will become.
- Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle – Remember, social media is typically a highlight reel of peoples’ experiences. And the people you may be comparing yourself to may have worked very hard to get where they are. Try and find out where they started, what they did to succeed, etc. Who knows, they may even become a mentor for you in your own journey.
- Re-Think and Prioritize – When you have body confidence, you don’t worry about “appearance” or put a high value on how the outer package, looks. What matters most is within you; so you place a higher priority on building and enhancing those aspects that will take you farther and will last longer, when it comes to enhancing your life.
- Insist on Respect – Insist that others are respectful to you. However, you can’t pull this off if you don’t respect and value yourself. You’ll need to practice what you preach, by showing others what is acceptable to you. You can’t put yourself down or allow negative self-talk from yourself. Decide what boundaries you are going to set, and abide by them yourself. Show respect and appreciation for yourself by practicing healthy habits, such as eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc. These are just the basics that need to be in place before you start trying to incorporate strategies that are more advanced.
- Enjoy and Encourage Yourself More – Your role models aren’t your only sources of inspiration and encouragement. When you do things that you enjoy, as well as give you a sense of empowerment, you are actively showing appreciation for yourself. You are putting an emphasis on your self-approval, which in the long-run is what matters most – what you think and how you feel about yourself.
It’s also important to “pamper” yourself with a little extra TLC via a massage, a hot-oil hair treatment, a pedicure, clothes that make you feel good/confident, etc. When you stop ignoring your body and show that you appreciate it, you will find it easier to accept your body as it is – imperfections and all.
Body confidence is closely linked to self-esteem. Adults and children, with body confidence, tend to feel free to be themselves, enjoy their interests and activities, as well as voicing their opinions. In addition, people with body confidence tend to make better choices and aren’t afraid of trying new things or taking calculated risks. This brings us to the next thing you can do to enhance and boost your confidence level…
Face a Fear
Do one thing every day that scares you. Facing your fear is the best way to overcome it. And by facing your fear, you gain confidence from the experience. Get out of your comfort zone. What’s one thing you fear? Is it meeting new people? Networking?
Next time you’re at a social or business event, go have a conversation with one person you don’t know. By doing this you’ll gain the confidence in yourself to begin being more social. The more social you become the more your confidence grows in other areas because you begin to realize you are liked and respected for who you are.
Ready to take action?
These are just a few ways you can boost your confidence. Simply by taking action, facing your fears and changing the way you take care of yourself you’re taking steps to being more confident and assured in making changes in your life.
In a world with so many things to do, kids to manage and pandemics to worry about—just kidding, thank god there’s only one of those right now—let’s find one thing to count on that will help you focus on yourself when things are tough.
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