"One reason we struggle with insecurity: we're comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else's highlight reel."
WHAT SELF-CONFIDENCE IS
Self-confidence is the willingness to take steps toward valued goals, even if you're anxious and the outcome is unknown.
True self-confidence is part courage, part competence and a healthy dose of self-compassion.
It is very important to be aware that:
Actions come before feelings.
Actions are guided by values—basically the things you care about most.
Process is more important than outcome.
Confidence comes from being grounded in your sense of self: remembering (or finding out) who you truly are, what you value, and the hard work you've put in.
"There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas."
Quiet Confidence is a thing. You can shake the world in a gentle way, as Mahatma Gandhi said. If you have ever felt like you had a great idea, but weren't confident enough to share it, or not outgoing enough, do not worry.
The assupmtion that only talkative people get noticed is wrong. It is true that society places more value on extraversion. So if you are an introvert, you might have felt that you don't fit in or that something is wrong with you.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you are perfectly fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. It just means you need time on your own to recharge.
Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, challenges many of the myths out there about introversion.
BENEFITS OF IMPROVING SELF-CONFIDENCE
Confidence and self-esteem are connected to almost every element of having a happy and fulfilling life. I'll mention some benefits I find particularly important.
LESS FEAR AND ANXIETY
The more confident you become, the better you'll be able to control and silence that nagging inner critical voice that says 'I can't do it.' The idea is to get out of your head, out of your thoughts, and get moving, take action. Because ultimately, confidence is action.
Have you heard of the work 'rumination'? It's the tendency to go over worries and perceived mistakes again and again, replaying them in your head until exhaustion. Does that sound familiar? Excessive rumination is connected to anxiety and depression. With increased sel-confidence, you can break this cycle.
Self-confidence is linked to applying a growth mindset to life. The more you take action, the more your confidence improves and the more you will be willling to go for stretch goals, to improve your skills and abilities and you will feel more comfortable trying new things, being outside of your comfort zone.
With more confidence you will know that you have the skills to cope with setbacks and failure. You will be certain that you can handle challenges and you'll also be able to understand that mistakes and failure take you on the quickest road to personal growth. The more you try, the higher are the chances of succeeding.
When you are able to stop worrying about what people might be thinking about you, or you finally stop comparing yourself with others, you will be able to engage more genuinly with them. The cherry on top is when you are able to set your boundaries, people will respect you and like you more.
STRONGER SENSE OF YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
Confidence is rooted in who you really are. You will be able to accept your weaknesses, knowing that they don't change your self-worth. You will be able to celebrate your strengths and own your story. Because it's unique, it's you.
Your actions will be in line with your principles, which will create alignment in your life. You'll know who you are and what you stand for. You will be able to show up, stnad up and speak up.
"Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong."
Peter T. McIntyre
SIX PRACTICAL WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to increase your self-confidence. Whether you lack confidence in one specific area or struggle to feel confident about anything, these confidence boosters can help.
1. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Do you compare how you look to people you follow on Instagram? Or maybe you compara your salary towhat your friend earns. It's natural to make comparison. But it might probably have a negative effect on your self-confidence. It usually makes you fell envy, this in turn makes you feel worse.
What you need to do is to catch yourself when you are making comparisons and remind yourself that it's not helpful for you. Everyone is running thier own race and life isn't a competition.
Remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Keep a gratitude journal to pay attention and acknowledge the areas in life where you are blessed. This will help you focus on your own life versus the lives of others. I totally recommend the journals from urbesttself.
2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
Take a moment and think about how your friends make you feel. Do your friends lift you up, or do they bring you down? Are they constantly judging you, or do they accept you for who you are?
The people you spend time with can influence your thoughts and attitudes about yourself, perhaps more than you realize. So, pay attention to how others make you feel. If you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with a particular person, it may be time to say goodbye.
Instead, surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you. Seek out others who are positive and can help build your confidence. In fact, self-confidence and a positive attitude go hand-in-hand.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re abusing your body. On the other hand, if you practice self-care, you know you're doing something positive for your mind, body, and spirit—and you'll naturally feel more confident as a result.
Here are a few self-care practices linked to higher levels of self-confidence:
Diet: Healthy eating comes with many benefits, including higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods, you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized, which can result in feeling better about yourself.
Exercise: If you want to feel better, exercise. Studies consistently show that physical exercise boosts confidence. Regular physical activity will also improve your body image. When your body image improves, you'll feel more confident.
Meditation: More than just a relaxation practice, meditation can help boost self-confidence in several ways. For one, it helps you to recognize and accept yourself. Meditation also teaches you to stop negative self-talk and disconnect from unhelpful mental chatter interfering with your confidence. I use the app Headspace to meditate.
Sleep: Skimping on sleep can take a toll on your emotions. Conversely, good-quality sleep has been linked with positive personality traits, including optimism and self-esteem.
4. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. It allows you to become more emotionally flexible and helps you better navigate challenging emotions, enhancing your connection to yourself and others. So the next time you're in a challenging situation, recognize that being imperfect or falling short at times is a part of being human. Do your best to navigate these experiences with compassion toward yourself.
5. PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK
Negative self-talk can limit your abilities and lessen your confidence by convincing your subconscious that you "can't handle" something or that it is "too hard" and you "shouldn't even try." Self-talk that is optimistic, on the other hand, can help foster self-compassion, overcome self-doubt, and take on new challenges.
The next time you begin to think that you have no business speaking up in a meeting or that you are too out of shape to work out, remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t always accurate. Turn those thoughts around into more positive self-talk.
Here are a few examples of ways to challenge pessimistic self-talk and reframe your thoughts into a more positive way of thinking:
Instead of telling yourself "I can't handle this" or "this is impossible," try reminding yourself that "I can do this" or "all I have to do is try."
Instead of telling yourself "I can't do anything right" when you make a mistake, remind yourself "I can do better next time" or "at least I learned something."
Instead of saying you "hate" public speaking, use a milder word like "don't like" and remind yourself that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
6. FACE YOUR FEARS
Stop putting things off until you feel more confident—like asking someone on a date or applying for a promotion. One of the best ways to build your confidence in these situations is by facing your fears head-on.
Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Besides, a little self-doubt can help improve performance. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.
You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. And each time you move forward, you gain more confidence in yourself. In the end, this can help prevent you from taking risks that will result in major negative consequences.
Everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. The good news is that there are many things you can do to feel better and to improve your quality of life. It can make your relationships stronger and make you more resilient to stress. The effort is so much worth it. I promise.