We have all faced it at one point or another in our lives. Although it’s not something exciting to discuss, it’s important to understand how a lack of self-confidence can easily stand in the way of accomplishing our goals, and ultimately leave us feeling unhappy. Here are some tips on how to overcome this obstacle and boost your self-confidence.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings
Like I said, It’s something we have all faced, currently face, or will face at one point in our lives. It doesn’t feel good and it can definitely hinder our ability to thrive and fulfill the life we know we want, need and deserve.
I know it’s very easy to be hard on ourselves. We are our own worst critics, after all, and it’s practically innate in us to find something wrong in… everything, including ourselves. Doesn’t the flip side sound so much better, though? Finding the positive in everything, including ourselves. It sounds like a simple act, but it’s powerful, especially when we know that it’s almost impossible to make time for our dreams and truly be ourselves if we are living in a constant state of low self-confidence.
I for one have been beaten down by my fear of failure, which has ultimately resulted in not going after my goals and dreams, all due to my lack of self-confidence. Being rejected from jobs, having trouble mastering a skill, not finishing a project — I’ve been there. By acknowledging this obstacle, I have been able to find and use methods that have finally helped me gain my self-confidence, overcome my fears and pursue my dreams.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. – Marie Curie
It’s time to take control of your self-confidence.
If you are currently living a state in your life in which you lack the confidence to fully live, while it may not seem so, I strongly believe that you have the capability to do things to increase your self-confidence.
It’s not genetic. You don’t have to rely on others. You can become the person that pursues what they want, how they want and when they want. How? By taking control of your life and self. By taking concrete actions that improve your abilities and self-image. By doing so, you will be the one to increase the self-confidence already living inside you, waiting to flourish.
I still have general fears from time-to-time, but I now know that I can beat them and break through difficulties thanks to believing in myself. Why wait until everything “seems” right? It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. Get started now. With every step we take, we grow stronger, more skilled and more confident.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh
Below, I’ve compiled a list of 25 ways to help you do that. These aren’t revolutionary tips and they, most likely, will not magically work overnight. Consistency matters in anything you want to accomplish. These are tried-and-true methods that have worked for me, and I hope will work for you as well.
You certainly don’t need to do them all. Pick and choose your favorites, and give them a try. If they work, awesome — try some more. If they don’t, that’s okay — try some more.
Here they are, in no particular order.
- Dress nicely // Fix yourself up. I’m not telling you to spend $$$ on a new fancy wardrobe, nor am I telling you to drown yourself in good-smelling skin products. I am telling you that a great shower and nice clothes can definitely make a difference in boosting your self-image and self-confidence. This may not apply to everyone, but it certainly helps me. There have been days in which my sour mood was completely turned around with a nice, hot shower and actually putting more effort into the way I dress (especially since I love dressing up, anyways!)
- Think positive. You know I love bringing positivity to my blog, to you, and to my life overall. One of the reasons being that it plays such a vital role in my self-confidence. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. With this small, yet powerful, skill, I’m able to train my brain to think good thoughts and put out even better actions, and ultimately bringing that positivity into my everyday self.
- Eliminate negativity. This of course goes hand-in-hand with the above tip, but it’s essential that I highlight it on its own. It’s crucial to be aware of your self-thoughts, the ones you have about yourself and what you’re doing. Sometimes when I write, my mind begins to tell me, “This is terrible. Rewrite it. It’s not good enough to publish.” I’ve learned to recognize this kind of negative self-talk, and immediately kill it. Think of it like a poisonous spider rushing towards you, and your only way to survive is to kill it. (Sorry if you aren’t a spider killer. Just think hypothetical for now!) For even more tips on thinking positive and eliminating negativity, read my previous posts here and here.
- Know yourself. The 90s hit “My Own Worst Enemy” couldn’t be truer: “It’s no surprise to me, I am my own worst enemy.” For instance, when going into battle, a wise general will know his enemy very well. After all, you cannot defeat the enemy without knowing him. When overcoming a negative self-image and replacing it with self-confidence, the enemy is yourself. This is why it’s so important to get to know yourself. Be aware of your thoughts. Start a journal about the thoughts you have, analyzing why you have them. Then, think about the good: what you’re good at, the things you like, what makes you happy. Dig deep within yourself and eventually you’ll be able to attract the self-confidence within.
- Be kind and smile. *Cue the cheese* Honestly though, did you know that frowning exhausts 43 facial muscles while smiling only uses 17? Why aren’t we smiling more?! I love being able to put a smile on other people’s faces, it actually makes me feel good in return. It’s a chain reaction, too, and something we can all use more of. Being kind to others goes a long way in improving our self-confidence as well. There’s a reason why we were taught the Golden Rule of treating others the way we want to be treated. It does amazing things for your self-confidence. Trust me.
- Be prepared. Think about taking an exam: if you didn’t study, do you feel confident in passing? Probably not. But if you’ve studied hard and prepared well, you’ll feel much more confident in the end result. Think of your life like an exam and prepare yourself for any and all outcomes, by using the tips in this list for instance.
- Stand tall. Thanks, mom, for always physically pushing my shoulders back when I was younger. Honestly! Growing up, I was usually the tallest out of my friends, which always felt awkward, resulting in me walking around with terrible posture. Poor posture is generally deemed unattractive and/or a sign of low self-confidence. I definitely feel better about myself when I stand tall, and I guarantee you will, too.
- Increase your skill levels. How do you gain more competence and increase your skill levels? By studying and practicing. Just start slow and do small bits at a time. No pressure. I just started to learn how to ride a bike for the first time ever this past year, and I still feel like I’m terrible, but I have to keep reminding myself that it takes practice. We aren’t aiming for perfect here, just competency and feeling good about bettering an old or new skill. The more you practice, the better you will get, and the better you will feel.
- Set small goals and achieve them. Again, no pressure. This is about you and your comfort, not about someone telling you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and if they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, try to aim for a goal that is more achievable. It can be something as simple as reorganizing your closet, starting a simple DIY, or cooking dinner for yourself three times next week. Basically, the goal is to set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieving it. You’ll feel great about it. Now set another one, and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the greater you’ll feel about yourself! Before you know it, you’ll be setting and achieving even bigger goals.
- Change a small habit. If you have a bad habit of, say, staying up until 2am and waking up feeling groggy, try to make it a new habit to sleep 30 minutes earlier everyday until your desired better time (like 11pm, for instance). Or wake up 15 minutes earlier. Drink more water everyday. Change something small that you know you can accomplish. When you have, you’ll feel so, so, good about yourself and probably will have eliminated the habit completely!
- Be active. I’m most likely going to include this on every single self-care list I make. Being active has been one of my most empowering activities the past few years, and has ultimately made me feel so much better about myself. I’m not a runner and I hate going to the gym, but I love taking walks, practicing yoga and newly using weights to build strength, riding bikes, and being outside in general. All you have to do is pick your favorite activity – dancing, walking, running, playing sports, anything that gets you going – and get those happy endorphins going. You’ll see results not only in your body but more importantly, your mind. I promise.
- Knowledge is power. Immersing yourself in anything new is a great strategy for building self-confidence. Being able to contribute to conversations about topics you are well-versed in feels good and allows others to respect and trust you. This goes along with building competence and being prepared. By doing research and studying, you will become more knowledgeable, thus gaining more confidence.
- Quit procrastinating. I know it’s easier said than done, but take a look at (or think about) what’s on your to-do list. Has anything been sitting there for what seems like ages? If it’s quickly achievable, do it first thing in the morning and just get it out of the way already! I love crossing things of my physical and mental lists. It feels great. You’ll feel great.
- Baby steps. When I was in school, I was definitely one of those students who finished 15-page essays in one night. I worked well under pressure, but it still felt daunting. As I grew older, I realized how important baby steps were. Trying to take on a huge project or task can be overwhelming and intimidating. Instead, learn to work in baby steps by breaking off small chunks and working in bursts. Smaller achievements feel great and they will add up to big achievements, making us feel even better about ourselves.
- Declutter. This might seem like a minuscule task, but it has always worked wonders for me. For instance, my home office has been a complete whirlwind of a mess the past few weeks, and I just got around to finally organizing and decluttering it. It feels amazing to be surrounded by a tidy workspace, especially if the world around me is chaos. Clean space. Clean mind.
Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – WaltDisney