It self-development were a building, then self-confidence would be its foundation. It really is the base upon which all personal growth and transformation starts. In this article I will list a number of self confidence tips that you can practice until they become not just a habit, but a core part of who you are.
Practicing and developing Self Confidence is really about taking control over your life. Importantly you do not allow your self-esteem to be determined by others; whether they be people you know, social media connections, or advertising media.
If you feel that you have always had low self-confidence, then the first thing that you must realize and accept is that your current condition was never pre-determined for you. It is not part of your DNA..! It has been adopted and reinforced over your lifetime as a form of ‘negative’ persona. In which case, it can be replaced (with effort) by a more healthy and confident sense of self.
I have listed below some of my favorite Self Confidence Tips. Just pick and choose some that you feel you can work on and see how you go. Remember, an expression that I frequently use in most of my articles is; “Treat this exercise as an evolution process, and not a revolution.” In other words, don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting sudden changes. It will take time, but keep challenging yourself and you will start to feel yourself changing.
1. Education. Learn why your mind works the way it does.
Before we prepare to change ourselves, we must first create the right frame of mind to understand how we came to believe what we believe now. Read about psychology and about how common patterns of thought become embedded in our consciousness. Learn about how individuals are influenced by what others say and do around them. This process of getting to know yourself and your environment is the first step in preparing to build up your self-confidence.
2. Know your principals and live by them.
This too is part of your self-education process. Have you ever thought about what YOU really believe in? Your principals of right and wrong? If you haven’t, then I promise you that others will try to set your direction for you.. and that may or may not be a good thing for you. If you have guiding principals, do you live by them, or do you compromise them when under pressure? An important part of having Self Confidence is knowing what you believe in and being authentic in living them.
3. Self Acceptance.
This is another ‘foundation stone’ in this process. You need to accept that you are worthy of respect, and that you are someone who can pursue your dreams and overcome setbacks. If I am not accepting myself (and my qualities) then how can I like myself? How can I expect others to like me too?
4. Be Kind to Yourself.
Make a habit of practicing ‘Positive Self Talk’. All of us constantly talk to ourselves in our own head. If I am talking negatively to myself about myself, then it will be very hard to have anything positive to say about myself in front of others. We are more likely to play down our importance or ability. Positivity starts in your own mind. By thinking positively, you free yourself to do the best you can in any situation. So, be kind to yourself and do not become your own worst enemy.
5. Motivate yourself through Self Affirmation
It is critical to maintain your motivation throughout the process of building your self-confidence. We do this by repeating positive self-affirmations daily, even after our minds have accepted them. Personally, I say my affirmations to myself first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
6. Maintain a Positive View of the World.
By this I do not mean to say that you should pretend that all is well in the world. We are all aware that this is not the case! However, what we can change is our ‘expectations’ for the future. We can replace negative expectations, with positive ones. This is not a form of self-delusion. It is choosing to see the world as “glass half full, rather the glass half empty.” We should be counting our blessings and focusing on the limitless opportunities that being alive presents.
7. Be Positive in your actions.
This is a natural extension of the previous point. When we train ourselves to think positively, we must also express that to the outside world. Your actions are what will ultimately change your level of self-confidence. “You are what you habitually do.” Talk with others in a positive way, with energy, and you will soon see the change in yourself.
8. Empower Yourself.
In many cases, low self-confidence is found where we fell we lack knowledge. We view others as smarter because of their knowledge or specialization. If you feel that this may be a problem area for you, then you need to work on building up your competence and knowledge. Focus in on your areas of interest and study. Small wins along the way will help you to build more competence.
9. Don’t compare yourself to others.
This is something that for many people has almost become an instinctive habit. So, we really have to work hard to stop comparing ourselves with others. When we compare ourselves in a negative way, we are really devaluing our own blessings. Try to remind yourself that there is so much more to others than their physical appearance. You will not likely know their complete circumstances; or the other challenges they may face. This beautiful saying says it all. “The only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.”
10. Work on your social skills.
Another great Self Confidence tip is to work on your social skills by deliberately focusing outward (on others) rather than inward on yourself. I cover this in more depth in another article (How to Beat Social Anxiety). There is nothing to be gained by second-guessing what others may be thinking about you, then becoming paralyzed by fear. Alternatively, by focusing on others we learn to relax more and keep our Self Confidence up in social situations.
11. Make a habit of speaking slowly.
This is an easy one to practice and the results can make a big difference to how you are perceived by others. Watch how speakers deliver their message to an audience. Eg: on TED Talks. Notice that they are not hurried. They are speaking slowly and clearly. It shows their confidence, and provides them with a sense of authority. On the other hand, a person who does not feel that they are worth listening to will speak quickly. They will not want to keep others waiting. If this is you, then make an effort to not be rushed when you speak. Breathe deeply and practice a more even pace when you speak.
12. Keep the company of positive people.
This self-confidence tip may seem obvious, but I have seen so many situations where people hang on to toxic friendships out of some misguided sense of loyalty. Toxic friends can take many forms. What they share in common is an overall negative view on life and the future. These people want others to share their gloom. It is also likely they will intentionally subvert others in their circle who try to break out and improve themselves. They will claim that they care, but nothing in their actions will support your quest for self-improvement. Release these people and keep the company of those who are positive and encouraging.
13. Focus on finding solutions.
This is also an extension of the above point. Anyone can be a complainer… that’s easy. Be a person that focuses on solutions and let your actions speak for you. It’s also too easy to say that the solution is bigger than you are. In that case, set smaller goals and set out to achieve them! The psychology behind this habit is that the more small goals you achieve, the more your mindset will start to change to a self-confident “I can do this” attitude.
14. Practice kindness and generosity.
If you think this self-confidence tip is out of place then please think again. Being kind to others and generous with your time can have a very positive impact on your sense of self-confidence. Think about it. When you project yourself to others in the world in a kind and generous manner, how can you not start to feel good about yourself? Self esteem and self-confidence will always closely interact with each other.
15. Practice Gratitude.
This tip makes an appearance in many of my articles. The reason is that it is so powerful in transforming how we view ourselves and the world around us. When we are genuinely grateful for what we have in life and what others have given us, then this practice becomes a truly humbling experience. Never mistake humility for weakness or low confidence (think Dali Lama!). Practicing gratitude regularly is a very ‘grounding’ experience. You become more confident in yourself and appreciate what is really important in life. Here is a great article on how gratitude changes you and your brain.
I left this self-confidence tip to last because it is critical part of all the other points. I recently listened to a TED Talk given by an analyst that specialized in the field of Education. Her team performed a study on a diverse group of school students, from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. The question they were attempting to answer was;
“If IQ is not the sole determinant for academic success, then what other characteristic does determine success?”
She feels confident that they found the answer to that question… Any guesses?
That’s right, it was Persistence. Or, as she called it “Plain Grit”; the capacity to keep going until you succeed.
The moral of that story was simple. It’s not about having to be the best and brightest mind. That alone will not guarantee success. You need to have the ‘Grit’ to hang in there and finish what you start. If you apply the same persistence to developing your self-confidence then nothing and nobody can stop you from improving.
I hope you enjoyed reading these self-confidence tips and they inspire you to take more action in building a better future for yourself.