SELF-CONFIDENCE

WHAT IS SELF-CONFIDENCE?

Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well, and have a positive view of yourself. You set realistic expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism.On the other hand, low self-confidence might make you feel full of self-doubt, be passive or submissive, or have difficulty trusting others. You may feel inferior, unloved, or be sensitive to criticism. Feeling confident in yourself might depend on the situation. For instance, you can feel very confident in some areas, such as academics, but lack confidence in others, like relationships.Having high or low self-confidence is rarely related to your actual abilities, and mostly based on your perceptions. Perceptions are the way your think about yourself and these thoughts can be flawed.Low self-confidence might stem from different experiences, such as growing up in an unsupportive and critical environment, being separated from your friends or family for the first time, judging yourself too harshly, or being afraid of failure. People with low self-confidence often have errors in their thinking.

How To Increase Your Self-Confidence:

Recognize and emphasize your strengths. Reward and praise yourself for your efforts and progress.When you stumble on an obstacle, treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Don’t dwell on failure.Set realistic and achievable goals. Do not expect perfection; it is impossible to be perfect in every aspect of life.Slow down when you are feeling intense emotions and think logically about the situation.Challenge making assumptions about yourself, people and situations.Recognize that past negative life experiences do not dictate your future.Express your feelings, beliefs and needs directly and respectfullyLearn to say no to unreasonable requests.

6 Ways to Build Your Self-Confidence:

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:

Whether you compare how you look to your friends on Facebook or you compare your salary to your friend’s income, comparisons aren’t healthy. In fact, a 2018 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself.3Researchers found that people who compared themselves to others experienced envy. And the more envy they experienced, the worse they felt about themselves.If you’re feeling envious of someone else’s life, remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Consider keeping an ongoing gratitude journal to help you focus on your own life and not the lives of others.When you notice you are drawing comparisons, remind yourself that doing so isn’t helpful. Everyone is running their own race and life isn’t a competition.

Surround Yourself With Positive People:

Pay attention to how your friends make you feel. Do your friends lift you up or bring you down? Are they constantly judging you or do they accept you for who you are? The people you spend time with influence your thoughts and attitudes about yourself more than you think. If you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with a particular person, it may be time to say goodbye.

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.Here are a few self-care practices linked to higher levels of self-confidence:Diet: Eating well comes with many benefits, including higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you fuel your body with the right foods, you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized, which can result in feeling better about yourself.Exercise: Studies consistently show physical activity boosts confidence. A 2016 study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that regular physical activity improved participants’ body image. And when their body image improved, they felt more confident.4Meditation: 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 any mental chatter interfering with your self-confidence.Sleep: Skimping on sleep can take a toll on your emotions, whereas good, quality sleep has been linked with positive personality traits, including optimism and self-esteem.

Be Kind To Yourself:

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. It’s a way of relating to yourself that allows you to become more emotionally flexible and better able to navigate challenging emotions, and enhances your connection to self and others. Researchers have linked the ability to relate to ourselves in a compassionate way to self-confidence.A 2009 study published in the Journal of Personality found that self-compassion contributes to more consistent confidence.6 So the next time you’re in a challenging situation, recognize that being imperfect or falling short at times is a part of living. Do your best to navigate these experiences with self-compassion.

Practice Positive Self-Talk:

Using self-talk that is optimistic can help you foster self-compassion, overcome self-doubt, and take on new challenges. On the other hand, negative self-talk can limit your abilities and lessen your confidence by convincing your subconscious that you “can’t handle it” or that something is “too hard” and you “shouldn’t even try.”7The 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.Here are a few examples of how 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 “You can do it,” or “all I have to do is try.”Instead of telling yourself “I can do nothing 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.”

Face Your Fears:

Stop putting things off (like asking someone on a date or applying for a promotion) until you feel more confident. The best way to build your confidence is by facing your fears head-on.Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence.8 If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. 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 can gain more confidence in yourself, which in the end, will help prevent you from taking any risks that will result in any major negative consequences.