Confidence is something we all struggle with from time to time. We want to feel sure of ourselves, but those little whispers of self-doubt show up whenever we want to put ourselves out there, take risks, or try something new. They tell us to play it safe and do things the way we’ve always done them to avoid getting hurt, embarrassed, or rejected, but you don’t always have to listen to them. In fact, doing things your conscience deems unsafe or out-of-the-norm is a great way to build confidence.
Cultivating confidence is the first step toward healthy self-esteem and personal growth, but it isn’t easy for most people. In order to foster confidence, you may have to do something you’ve never done or think in a way you haven’t thought. This can be scary, but know that cognitive restructuring and adjusting behaviors are essential parts of many types of effective therapy.
To help you on your journey to become more confident, here are eight suggestions to get you started:
1. Face a Fear
Fear is usually at the root of a lack of self-confidence. When you’re scared of the outcome of something, you aren’t likely to go into it feeling assured. Until you face your fear head-on, it controls you and makes the voice of self-doubt louder.
Think about a fear you faced and recall how you felt afterward. Perhaps you felt liberated and proud; you might have even wanted to do the thing you were afraid of again.
Make a commitment to do something that scares you every day, once a week, or once a month and watch your confidence quickly grow.
2. Befriend Failure
If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried. In order to truly be successful, you have to be comfortable with the possibility of failure. The more you fail, the more you’ll learn and grow. Accept your mistakes and use them to propel you forward.
Failure often seems like the end of the road, but it’s probably just the beginning. Once you accept the initial disappointment, you’ll be able to move forward better equipped to succeed the next time. By taking risks and being willing to fail, you’ll learn to believe in yourself and your capabilities.
3. Doubt Your Doubt
Doubt is the enemy of confidence. It keeps us feeling uncertain and, sometimes, even makes us a bit cynical. If you start doubting yourself, counteract it by doubting your doubt. Question the truth of what your doubt is saying to you.
Perhaps your doubt is saying, “Oh, I’m really not good at this.” Question those limiting beliefs whenever they arise. You’ll likely realize there aren’t many facts to back up the doubtful assertion.
4. Affirm Your Strengths, Talents, and Accomplishments
People who lack self-confidence tend to focus more on their weaknesses than their strengths. Make a list of your strengths, talents, and accomplishments. Be honest with yourself and try reading from this list daily to remind you of your greatness.
Don’t hesitate to write something like, “I am beautiful and wonderful” in red lipstick on your mirror. Though it may seem cliché, it works. We tend to believe in messages we are constantly exposed to—just ask an advertising executive.
Your confidence is influenced tremendously by your daily thoughts, especially recurring thoughts. Consistency is key to lasting change. If you want to be more confident, make a habit of reminding yourself of your unique gifts and abilities.
5. Embody Confidence
Fake it ’til you make it. Ever heard that phrase?
If you want to be more confident, feel more confident. When you find yourself feeling nervous and unsure, stop for a moment, close your eyes, and think of a time when you felt confident and self-assured. Use all of your senses to bring you back to that moment. In doing this, you’ll be more able to cultivate that feeling in the present moment.
Also, consider your posture. Choose a body posture that looks and feels confident. Next, think about your clothing and style. Dress to impress—yourself! Dress in a way that makes you feel good. If you look good to you, you’ll feel good, and feeling good often leads to higher self-confidence.
6. Listen to Empowering Music
Music is a great for evoking emotion. When you want to feel more confident, turn on some music that lifts you up.
If you’ve never used music to inspire motivation, we suggest these confidence-inducing songs:
- “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
- “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
- “We Will Rock You” by Queen
- “Perfect” by Pink
- “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
- “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
- “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
- “I Feel Good” by James Brown
- “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
- “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
- “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
- “Beautiful Day” by U2
Press play on one of these tracks and turn the volume up before a workout, job interview, date, or some other event that requires you to summon confidence.
7. Set a Realistic Goal and Take Action to Achieve It
Your achievements contribute greatly to your feelings of self-confidence. By making a commitment and following through with it, you’ll learn to trust yourself and your abilities more.
Often, we make extreme resolutions—think New Year’s resolutions—that require broad, sweeping change. Then we don’t stick to them. It happens every year: people who exercise once a month try to exercise an hour each day and almost inevitably make it about a week or two before they give up. By not following through on a commitment we make to ourselves, we lose trust and faith in our abilities, and our confidence suffers as a result.
New habits take a significant amount of time, effort, and dedication to cultivate. When setting new goals, be realistic and make sure that your goals are attainable. Start slowly and set small goals that you can build on. By following through with your commitments, no matter how small, you’ll learn to trust yourself and gain confidence in what you’re capable of achieving.
8. Make a Difference
Do something to give back and contribute to society. Consider volunteering or making a donation to your favorite charity. Do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a major contribution; even something as simple as helping your elderly neighbor carry her groceries will make you feel good (and more valuable).
By making a personal contribution, it reminds you that your individual choices have an impact on the world. Realizing your true significance as an individual will empower you and increase your feelings of self-confidence.
Choose One Suggestion from Our List and Give It a Shot
If you really want to be more confident, consider choosing just one of the suggestions above that resonates with you. Even if it seems quirky, try it. Focus on one thing at a time and adjust a simple thought or behavior and it could go a long way toward building your confidence.
If you try to do too much at once, you may become overwhelmed. Remember that confidence is a state of trust, which, like any therapeutic relationship, takes time to build. Be patient with yourself and know the journey begins with one step. Take baby steps and, before you know it, you will arrive at your destination feeling confident and capable.
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