Self-Confidence is a Skill
I was a very shy kid growing up, and I used to look at other people and think to myself, “Wow, how are they so confident?”. I was always self-conscious of my actions and other people’s opinions shaped all of my decisions. For most of my childhood, I did what I thought was expected of me, rather than what I wanted. However, I never tried to work on my self-confidence because I believed that self-confidence was something that you are just born with. Instead of taking action, I just dreamed of what life would be like if I was more confident.
But ever since embarking on my personal development journey, I am convinced that a major component of self-confidence is skill and experience. Don’t get me wrong, some people are predisposed to be more confident than others, but the important lesson here is to not let this belief limit your personal growth. Self-confidence is a skill, and like all skills, you can get better at it if you put in the work.
5 Ways to Build Self-Confidence
1. Positive Affirmations
Our actions are influenced by our own beliefs and one way to shape our beliefs is to repeat positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome negative thoughts. Humans tend to believe whatever we tell ourselves constantly, therefore, when you repeat them often, you can start to make positive changes.
Here are some of my favorite affirmations for confidence:
- “I am happy and free because I am me.”
- “Every challenge I face is an opportunity to grow and improve.”
- “I am learning to trust the journey.”
- “Feeling confident, assured, and strong is a normal part of my everyday life”
- “I am, and always will be, enough.”
If you’ve never done affirmations before, I recommend finding 3-4 positive messages like the ones above and saying them aloud to yourself daily. I make a habit of saying mine to myself in the mirror right after my morning shower. If you can find a way to include them in a simple, daily activity, you’ll find it so much easier to make daily affirmations a part of your life.
2. Make Fear Your North Star
As humans, we are instilled with the “fight or flight” instinct. As a result, we instinctively run away from fear. This instinct is amazing at protecting us from physical danger such as fires, but this instinct also kicks in when we encounter non-life-threatening fears. This fear mechanism explains why most people get nervous before a big speech. However, if we run away from our fears, we will never be able to grow. So, to build up your self-confidence, you will have to make fear your north star and let it guide you.
The best way to overcome fear is to face it head-on, so a great way to challenge yourself is to do something that scares you every day. By making this a habit and working on your confidence daily, you will see your self-confidence grow.
Now, you don’t have to tackle your craziest fears every single day. Make a list of all things that scare you, both big and small. You can include things as big as your fear of heights and as small as fear of dining alone. Then, order these fears from the smallest and most do-able, to largest and most terrifying. Every day, attempt to tackle one of these fears until you’re done the list. I say “attempt” here for an important reason, sometimes we will try our best to face a fear, but it gets the best of us. The goal here isn’t to get over all your fears as quickly as possible; the goal is to build the resilience to face your fears every day.
3. Get Rid of Negative Self-Talk
Did you know your mind is constantly thinking, even when you are not aware of it? Your inner voice is constantly chattering, which can be problematic if you are sending negative messages to yourself. If we consistently beat ourselves up with negative self-talk, we will start to believe it ourselves. As a result, our minds become our worst critics.
However, we can use this to our advantage by replacing our negative inner dialogue with positive, reassuring thoughts. Instead of being critical of your actions, be your biggest cheerleader. Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes. One of the easiest ways to start this is to notice when you are being critical to yourself and correct it. For example, the next time you find your inner voice saying “I suck at this” acknowledge that you are being critical. Then, correct yourself by saying “actually, I’m not understanding this right now”. You can find more great negative self-talk swaps in this article from Self Magazine.
4. Remember Your Small Wins
We tend to remember the times when we felt unconfident, rather than focusing on the times when we acted confidently. However, a big part of building your self-confidence is recognizing your efforts and celebrating small wins.
A great exercise you can do is to think back and recall every time you wandered outside of your comfort zone. Don’t discount any small acts of confidence as insignificant, because your confidence flourishes every time you flex your confidence muscle.
I highly recommend writing this down in a journal so you can keep track of your progress. Alternatively, you can download our free worksheet to create your self-confidence action plan and track your progress. By having this ongoing list of acts of confidence, you’ll be able to look back at it whenever you feel low. Simply reminding yourself that you are capable of stepping out of your comfort zone can have such a huge impact on your self-confidence.
5. Mark Your Boundaries
Another way to build your confidence is to define your boundaries. Learn to say no to anything that does not align with your thoughts and beliefs. The more control you have over your own life, the greater your self-confidence will be.
For example, Sunday morning is reserved for my self-care routine, so I will block that time in my calendar and decline any invitations to go out during that time. By setting up these personal boundaries, you get to do what you want to do, not what you’re expected to do.
Free Resource: Worksheet for Building Self-Confidence
Now is the best time to take action in building your self-confidence, so we developed this downloadable worksheet for anyone who wants to grow their self-confidence.
The worksheet contains a self-assessment to evaluate your current self-confidence level and an action plan to grow your confidence and track your progress.
The worksheet can be completed electronically in PDF format, but you may also print it out if you wish.
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