I have noticed a theme lately with so many people I work with. I have often felt this myself.
Self-confidence or should I say lack of it and the damaging effects of that. So many people are playing small, making decisions that don’t serve them, staying in relationships they have outgrown, denying their dreams because of a lack of confidence.
Why is self-confidence so important?
Lets look at what self-confidence is.
The online dictionary definition of self-confidence is “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement.”
Bottom line self-confidence is trusting yourself. Trusting you are good enough, strong enough, capable enough, loveable enough. When you trust these things, you feel more secure as you navigate the world. You are more likely to make decisions, sometimes difficult or even unpopular decisions, because they are best for you. You are less likely to compromise your own values and wants and needs to keep others happy. You feel much safer in new situations and are less likely to sit in a comfort zone that doesn’t serve you.
When you have a healthy level of self-confidence your self talk is more likely to be positive and encouraging. You are less likely to experience fear or anxiety or at least less likely to be guided by it. You are generally more motivated and will take steps towards your goals. Self-confidence seems to go hand in hand with resilience, you handle disappointments and failures more positively and are less likely to define yourself by them.
You will be more authentic and build more authentic relationships because you aren’t scared to turn up as you. You are real! You learn to accept your weaknesses but not be defined by them.
These are just some of the reasons that self-confidence is so important!!
So that is great I hear you say, but what do I do, how do I build my self-confidence?
Please know there is no quick fix for this. It takes effort, but it is something anyone can do. We can all work on improving our own self-confidence and it is up to us, it isn’t about other people and what they think of us. It is about us and what we think of us!!
Self-confidence is about you and what YOU think of YOU!!
I acknowledge this may not be as simple as it sounds and in this blog we are just scrapping the surface but here are some ideas for how you can start to shift your confidence and build a more positive level of self-confidence.
Look at your successes, what have you achieved throughout your life, acknowledge those successes. Some days it is a huge success to just get out of bed when the alarm goes off! Success doesn’t have to be about awards, or promotions, or public accolades. Allow yourself to feel the feeling of success even for seemingly small things.
Acknowledge what you are good at, we are all good at something. It might be baking brownies or saving lives, it might be folding the perfect fitted sheet (now that is an achievement) or discovering new planets, it might be nurturing children or nailing a reverse park. It doesn’t matter what it is and how big or significant it seems acknowledge what you are good at.
Set some goals, even small ones. In fact, small goals are great. We want to build your sense of achievement so setting and pursuing small goals can be perfect.
Watch you negative self-talk. A lot of self-confidence problems come from our own self talk. Become a pretty strict gatekeeper for the way you talk to yourself. Watch your words, your thoughts, how you describe yourself. If you wouldn’t say it about your best friend stop saying it about yourself, even to yourself!!
Have fun, get a hobby, build interests and passion into your life. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of this hobby or pursuit it is about how it makes you feel. Do things you enjoy.
Learn something new, join a class, take online workshops, read a book on a new topic. Learning something new can really help build your self-confidence and it is fun.
Get fit or at least active. This is not only great for your physical health it is great for your mental health and helps you feel better about yourself.
Do something for others but in balance. I believe we need to put ourselves first but it also feels good to do something for others just because you can. Volunteer, help a friend out, spend time with a younger or older relative. Never do this at your expense but it can feel really good to give to others, once your own cup is full.
Celebrate your achievements, even the small ones. So often we wait to acknowledge our achievements until they are something big. Celebrate the small things, celebrate your effort, celebrate the small steps. If you can’t celebrate at least acknowledge it.
Step out of your comfort zone, network, socialise with new people, take a course you’ve always wanted to. You wont build your confidence from within the bounds of your comfort zone.
Get conscious, step out of auto pilot. Make conscious decisions about what you do, what you eat, how you behave, what you choose.
Stop comparing, this robs people of their confidence. You are a unique being you can’t compare to anyone else. Stop comparing and give yourself permission to be uniquely you.
Accept failure as part of growth and don’t define yourself by your failures. If you failed it means you tried, and you would have learned from it. Take those lessons and try again.
There are many more tips you can use to build your self-confidence, but these are great ones to start with. Remember though, it comes from you. Don’t look to others, no one else can give you self-confidence.
Self-confidence is an inner game.
When you have a sense of self-confidence you will be more willing to take risks and growth requires risk, achieving your gaols requires risks, change requires risks. With self-confidence you are more open to learn from ‘mistakes’ or failures without identifying yourself as a failure. Failure becomes something you may experience not something you are. When you are self-confident you accept compliments, you feel optimistic, you are more positively focused and experience more positive feelings, you will do what you believe is right and not just follow the crowd and you will stand up for both you and your dreams.
You were born to be an amazing and unique individual, self-confidence helps you see that. There is no one else like you and the world needs you, all of you, the real you!