How To Build Confidence
Confidence refers to an overall sense of comfort with and trust in who you are and what you’re capable of. It has three major elements: your belief in your ability to complete a specific task, your belief in your ability to achieve your life goals and be accepted by those around you, and your belief in your value as a person. Due to its complex and far-reaching nature, confidence is not something that people develop overnight. Rather, you have to build confidence. It is a lifelong journey that can bring increasing amounts of satisfaction as you grow.
So how exactly does one build confidence? Here are some great skills to practice if you want to become more confident in yourself.
Break the Comparison Mindset
Stop comparing yourself to others. This is a hard habit to break. After all, social comparison is ingrained in most people from a very young age. But everyone is a unique person on a unique path. Comparing your process to someone else’s doesn’t do much to help you, but it can easily cause damage. Work on guiding your thoughts away from the comparison mindset. To do so, you may want to try developing a habit for when you catch yourself making comparisons.
For example, you could pause to give yourself three authentic compliments, or you could write in a gratitude journal about the things in life that you’re grateful for. Alternatively, you could try to clear your mind completely while taking 10 deep breaths.
Look at What’s Happening Around You
Pay attention to your social environment. When you want to know how to be more confident, ask yourself: Are the people around you judgmental or hypercritical? If so, it can be hard to break out of that negative mindset, which isn’t generally conducive to improving one’s self-confidence. See if you can spend more time around people who boost your self-image and put you in a positive headspace. From there, it will be easier to build confidence.
Being honest with yourself and others requires you to accept and own all parts of yourself. This diminishes shame or embarrassment and helps you build confidence holistically. Do you like something that others think is dorky? So what! Be yourself as happily and indulgently as you can, and you will start to find that you feel good about that.
Engage Your Discomfort
Try doing more things that make you uncomfortable. You could surprise yourself with your ability to tolerate discomfort, and the more you do, the less uncomfortable you will feel. Feeling at ease with what someone else might find uncomfortable is one way of describing confidence, after all.
Reflect on Your Successes
It is often much easier to recall failure than success. Start writing down or just spending time remembering your successes. This will help you face the world as the capable, accomplished person that you are.
Remember That This Journey Takes Time
The path to greater confidence is not simple or linear; there may be times when you feel like you can see your progress, and there may be other times when you feel like you haven’t made any progress at all. As you build confidence, try to remember that you are an imperfect being on an imperfect journey, and you are doing the best you can with the tools you have. Be gentle with yourself, especially when you’re having a hard time, and don’t be disheartened when the progress is slow.
Be Kind to Yourself
Often, people can be unnecessarily cruel to themselves. To build confidence, try adopting a kinder stance toward yourself.
First, try to strengthen your self-care practices. It is hard to feel confident about yourself when you just don’t feel good. Find a few self-care practices that really benefit you and engage in them regularly. If you’re looking to build confidence, you may be amazed by how much of an impact this can have.
Second, pay attention to your self-talk. Most people are their own harshest critics, often going past the point of being constructive and veering into toxic negativity. If you notice that you’re talking to yourself in any way that you wouldn’t talk to a loved one, then it’s probably time to work on changing your inner voice. Even just shifting your tone from negative to neutral can help you build confidence. Good rules of thumb to follow include: don’t call yourself names, remember that your mistakes do not define you, and treat yourself with the care you show others.
Benefits of Confidence
There are a number of benefits to having confidence. Confident people are more likely to achieve their goals. When you spend less time being self-critical, you have more time to devote to the things that really matter. Confident people also tend to build stronger relationships. When you feel better about yourself, you can devote more time and energy to helping your relationships grow. It can also help you understand when a relationship is no longer working for you. Confidence may also make you more open to trying new things. When you feel good about yourself and your abilities, it’s easier to take risks and put yourself out there for a promotion, new position, or new experience, among many other things.
If all these ways to build confidence are overwhelming, start small by choosing a few of these suggestions and sticking to them for a few weeks. Afterward, see how you feel, and take it from there.
When you build confidence, don’t worry too much about veering into arrogance. Arrogance actually stems from insecurity; it is a flat performance of self-confidence designed to boost the performer’s ego. Truly confident people don’t need to rely on such behavior to boost their self-image. They are simply at ease with themselves and their abilities. Thus, developing authentic confidence is actually good protection against arrogance.
Finally, confidence often leads to increased resilience. When you believe in yourself and your abilities, it helps you recover from failure, mistakes, and pain faster than you would if you were also battling a loud inner critic.
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