“I don’t think I can ever make it.”
“Will I ever be successful?”
“Am I not smart enough to achieve my goals?”
“Do other people see me as a failure?”
“I don’t have it in me.”
We all are familiar with this type of negative self-talk, aren’t we? We’ve been there. For what it’s worth, everyone is struggling with trusting in their abilities. As a result, some of us may lack self-confidence more than others.
But before we discuss strategies on how to build self-confidence, let’s first define what it means to be self-confident.
What is self-confidence?
If you believe in your abilities, qualities, and judgment, that’s exactly what self-confidence is.
Furthermore, having a healthy level of self-confidence not only will help you with better physical and mental well-being but also help you to become successful in your personal and professional life.
Self-confidence gives you wings to fly
A confident mind is a powerful one. It gives you the courage to be who you are unapologetically. And it allows you to be as unique as you are.
If you are self-confident you can share your thoughts, act on your ideas, and be bold enough to be yourself. Self-confidence serves so much to you that it even lets your humorous and stylish self, flow better.
Everything just becomes easier.
Letting you in on a little secret about self-confidence
Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence.
We get it, it’s frustrating to see people around us nailing it on everything they’re doing in their life, chasing their dreams with incredible self-confidence and we think to ourselves,
“Why am I not confident like them?”
The only difference between a person who is incredibly self-confident and a person who lacks it, is that the former has worked hard on self-growth for years to feel that way.
Self-confidence is something that you can learn to build and boost over time.
But it’s not uncommon for the challenging world of business or the troubles in life in general, to deflate your self-confidence.
Let’s all remember the cute little rat Remy from the movie Ratatouille for a second. The little character turned into a gourmet cook despite his circumstances. Of course, we’d feel amazing if we’d have the level of self-confidence that the little rat had in the movie. The rat did not have it from the beginning, it was built over time. Hard work pays off. It really does!
The little rat expected things from itself before it could accomplish them. That’s self-confidence brought out at its best.
While the good news is, that self-confidence is a skill that you can refine, it’s also important to understand that boosting self-confidence is so much more than just “fake it till you make it” or “dress for success”.
You need to dig deeper than that.
It’s time to work out that muscle
You read it right. Self-confidence is like a muscle.
Just like building a muscle and sustaining it, you’ll need to take positive and deliberate steps and invest in strategies that can help you build unshakable and sustainable self-confidence.
The more you use it, the stronger your confidence grows.
So if your confidence is like a muscle, you should always exploit all the chances you get to flex it. Stop anchoring your confidence in external people or things. It’s time to flourish your confidence from inside out and start with believing in your own self.
As Barrie Davenport, author of Confidence Hacks, says, “Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered—just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.”
5 Sure-Shot Strategies on How to Build Self-Confidence
1. Avoid negative self-talk
The downfall of self-confidence starts when we fail to conquer our inner critic. We have to embrace our self-doubt. We have all been there though. Some days we just think to ourselves,
“I am not qualified enough for anything that I am doing or I aspire to do.”
“What’s the point of doing something I am not the best at?”
And the worst one is,
“I am not worthy, something is wrong with me.”
Well, sure it’s possible that your past experiences have shaped you to be less confident, but that can never mean that you cannot change that situation.
Self-doubt makes us put off things that we think we’ll only be able to do when we will be more confident. You might be scared of embarrassing yourself by inviting someone on a date until you feel more confident.
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Truth is, sometimes we gain self-confidence by doing. Taking action and actually do whatever we think we can’t will leave us with so much confidence once we break through that boundary that was holding us back in the first place.
So try it anyway. If you are afraid, practice doing it before actually attempting it. At the end of the day, always remember,
- What you think of yourself and how you choose to use it in your favor, is separate from your self-doubt
- Don’t tell yourself things you’ll never say to your younger self
- Don’t become a football of your inner critic’s opinions
This leads us to the next strategy on how to build self-confidence.
2. Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself means that even if you do commit mistakes, or rather when you do commit them, you’re not hard on yourself. Making mistakes, failing, or even experiencing setbacks is normal and a natural part of life.
It’s important to understand that telling yourself that you’ll never get there, won’t motivate you to reach where you want. Do not punish yourself.
Studies shows, that reward works better than punishment. And practicing self-compassion helps you sustain self-confidence. Most of the times it’s OK to think to yourself,
“Everyone messes up sometimes.”
Instead of beating yourself up and calling yourself a failure, it’s time to feel good even if you didn’t perform as well as you hoped.
Sometimes It’s about:
- Cutting yourself some slack
- Laughing at yourself
- Reminding yourself that no one is perfect
“Who will you love if not yourself? Other people? How can you love someone for anything but their raw, naked humanity? How can you say you love someone if it is not for their flaws and quirks, snorts and hurts, triggers and tears? Anything else is not love. It is idealization. And, as long as you do it to yourself, you will do it to everyone. You will not love anyone or anything until those eyes in the mirror soften up and embrace the beauty that is already within.”
― Vironika Tugaleva
Speaking of reminding yourself that no one is perfect, let’s go on to the next strategy on how to build self-confidence.
3. Do not compare yourself to others
In today’s age, it’s quite normal to end up comparing yourself to others. Videos and pictures on Instagram, of people working out, looking beautiful, driving fancy cars only add to the comparison.
“What if I never get to do what my passion is?”
From looks to salary and success, comparisons are not healthy. If you envy someone for their achievements in life, you’ll end up doing negative self-talk and feel bad about yourself.
It often becomes a vicious cycle.
It’s not necessary that what they feel passionate about you’ll feel strongly about too. You need to remind yourself of the fact that you are unique. No one In this world is like YOU.
“Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don’t waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower bloom at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually people will see what you are great at doing, and if you are truly great, success will come chasing after you.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
- Pay attention to the times you compare your possessions, wealth, achievements, skills, and characteristics to others
- Don’t weaken your confidence in yourself thinking that other people are better
- Remind yourself it’s not helpful to draw comparisons as every person is unique with their own race
- Life isn’t a competition
Does that mean you should not count your accomplishments? This leads us to our next strategy on how to build self-confidence.
4. Count your accomplishments
When we say that comparing yourself to others is detrimental to your self-confidence, we do not mean that you need to downplay your accomplishments.
It’s important to remind yourself of your accomplishments from time to time.
Everyone has events in their lives when they have felt proud or recognized. Reminding yourself of your successes and achievements works like magic to counter the inner critic and kill the self-doubt that may otherwise stop you from attempting new things.
“I could crack a job interview earlier too, why will I not be able to crack this one?”
“Always believe in yourself and always stretch yourself beyond your limits. Your life is worth a lot more than you think because you are capable of accomplishing more than you know. You have more potential than you think, but you will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self-imposed limits.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Make a list of the things that you have achieved and try to hang it in front of you where you can see it often. Allow yourself to remember how good you really were at things.
- Achievements, small or big, are achievements
- Do not dwell on failures and negatives, that are not going to matter 5 years down the line
- Reflect on your successes for a few minutes every day
Speaking of time, let’s dedicate some time to love our body too, which leads us to our next strategy on how to build self-confidence.
5. Love your body
We all know how hunching the neck and back, is a sign of low self-confidence. On the contrary, a good posture helps in building self-confidence as it shows an affirming personality.
While it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you are abusing your body, eating unhealthy food, skimping on sleep, refraining from exercise, etc., consistent physical activity boosts confidence to socialize and be more creative.
Dances like Bachata, for instance, do not only keep you physically fit but also boost self-confidence, build intimacy between two people, and reduce your stress levels, all at the same time.
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
It’s time to take on an online course in Bachata and check it for yourself. Luckily, you can do it from the comfort of your home. You can take the 6-week Bachata course offered by Dance Incubation.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
― Jim Rohn
Over to you!
Do not restrain yourself from performing behavioral experiments and trying things that make you uncomfortable. Try doing things that your brain tells you that you can’t. Does it say you cannot dance? Well, dance like nobody’s watching.
Read this quote when you ever feel like giving up on being confident again:
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
― Hunter S. Thompson