Self-confidence is a lot like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it tends to get. You can have all of the talents and skills in this world. But you’ll struggle to really get ahead without a strong level of belief in your personality and abilities. The good thing is that this is a skill you can learn and perfect, over time. And if you’re struggling with this deflated sense of self or trying to boost your self-worthiness, the nine steps below will help you gain more self-confidence;
1. Practice, practice, and more practice
Malcolm Caldwell’s 10,000-hour rule postulates that you can become an expert at anything if you can commit up to 10,000 hours into it. While this may not hold true for all situations, practice, indeed, can help you get better at anything, as can be observed in athletes.
The more an athlete repeats a particular motion for a period of time, the better their body gets accustomed to it so much that it seems all too natural. That’s the essence of practice and repetition. It might not immediately make you an expert, but it will bring you closer to perfection than you’ve ever been.
2. Stay resilient and persistent
The thing with practice is that it can be tiring. Worse still, too many people bail out at the first confrontations with challenges. But self-confidence doesn’t come this way. And just like diamonds, it will take a great deal of pressure to build up.
According to Peterson and Seligman in their 2004 book, persistence simply is the “voluntary continuation of a goal-directed action in spite of obstacles, difficulties, or discouragement.” Self-confidence is the goal here. And when the challenges start to creep in, remember to keep on keeping on.
3. Practice positive affirmations
“I can do my best”
“I am going to succeed”
“I’ve got what it takes”
These words seem too simple to be so powerful. But positive affirmations work, and there are science-backed reasons why they work. You most probably have heard about them. And they might even feel awkward a bit for some people.
Studies like the Self-Affirmation Theory, (Steele, 1988), found out that humans are capable of maintaining their sense of self-integrity just by telling themselves what they believe, in a positive way. Things like this could help you bring more positivity into your thought and outcomes while helping you boost your self-confidence.
4. Minimize negative self-talk
Constant negative mind chatter is one of the symptoms of low self-confidence.
For some people, it’s like there’s a devil in their mind, always ready to tell them a thousand negative things. While everyone has to make do with self-talk, you know there’s a problem when this slants more towards negative than positive. How can you silence the native self-talk then? Here are a few tips;
- Catch your critic and stop when you’re being overly critical. You know this when you’re having an inner talk that you wouldn’t say out loud to a good friend.
- Understand that reality is often very different from your thoughts and feelings.
- Shift your perspective and think of yourself as a friend.
- Make conscious efforts to stop negative thoughts, and.
- Replace bad thoughts with good and encouraging ones.
5. Visualize self-confidence
Visualizing is simply imagining things. But even simple things can have great impacts. The good thing is that this creates a mental picture in your head, with hopes to make it real. So, why not create this picture in your head of a more self-confident you.
Doing this can help boost your optimism and thoughts and can have a positive impact on your self-confidence. This holds true whether you’re trying to build up more self-confidence or trying to boost your sense of self-worth.
6. Develop self-love
This piece on how to increase your self-worth recommends changing your attitude towards yourself. It recommends not just developing good thoughts and feelings but generally in your attitude and approach to everything that concerns you.
You have to see value in yourself before others can appreciate your worth. So, give yourself more love and compassion, brass yourself up, love yourself without being vain, and watch how this can greatly impact your self-worth and self-confidence.
7. Do things you’re scared of
When you’re low on self-confidence, it could be very challenging to find the courage to face your fears. But you’ve got to do that thing which scares the living daylight out of you.
Thinking clearly in the face of these challenges might be quite tricky.
Take time to evaluate the risks involved and create a plan for action.
Avoiding your fears completely will not help boost your confidence. Rather, it will do further damage to this. When you train yourself to tackle those situations that induce fear and anxiety in your life, the trio of your self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem will go up.
8. Write a personal self-confidence letter
This works like positive affirmations to remind you just how strong and limitless you really are. Just like Muhammad Ali never needed anyone to remind him that he was the greatest, so should you also be your own biggest cheerleader, cheering yourself on your worst days.
In his TED Talk, Dr Ivan Joseph discussed how he would write a letter to himself about those things he was proud of in his life.
He felt like this was his own brag sheet and usually reach for the letter during those low moments when he’s feeling not so good about who, what, and where he is. He calls this a reaffirmation and they work in a similar way to positive reaffirmations to help reaffirm your strength and uniqueness. It turns out this can also give a boost to your confidence when you feel low. You can try something like this too!
9. Trust yourself
Finally, it’s about trusting yourself. And this is exactly what self-confidence is really all about.
Trusting yourself means trusting in your abilities to do a certain range of things, all without being harshly judgemental about yourself. Self-confidence doesn’t come by running away from making hard decisions. You need to trust your decision-making abilities to take actions that will shape your future. How can you do this?
- Trust yourself to think clearly
- Stay true to yourself
- Set reasonable goals and expectations
- Continue to work on your strengths and weaknesses
- Be decisive
These, and other similar things will help you boost trust in yourself to make smart and great decisions you can stand by.
It’s good that self-confidence is not an innate talent that people are born with.
So, if you’re envious of those colleagues or friends of yours with a seemingly limitless level of self-confidence, it probably took them years to build it to the level they are. The other good thing is that you can build yours too, regardless of where you currently are in life.
From committing more time to practice and preparation to practising positive affirmations, facing your fears head-on, and trusting your abilities, all of the nine steps we discussed here will go a long way to help you build up more self-confidence to achieve your core life goals.
Bijan Kholghi is the founder of www.coaching-online.org and a life coach with special psychological education in Hypno-systemic coaching. His teacher Dr Gunther Schmidt is the founder of Milton Erickson Institute in Heidelberg (Germany), a direct student of Milton H. Erickson, and a leading figure in psychotherapy education in Europe. His highly effective coaching and therapy method help people getting aware of their unconscious pattern and gaining control over them. This leads to a more fulfilled and happier life.