In sixth grade I was bullied to the degree it shattered my confidence for the next several years. Kids can be so unkind, but what I lacked was the tools to boost my self-confidence despite what my peers said to me. I was missing some of the essential elements of self-love and had replaced them with self-doubt.
When you lack confidence, it can affect every area of your life. In high school, I went searching for acceptance in all the wrong place. As an adult, I had anxiety attacks about asking for a raise I deserved. I put off finishing my degree because I worried about how hard it would be. I second guessed decisions and avoided taking risks because of my fear of failure. I settled for playing small and let my insecurities and fear hold me back.
Sound familiar? What I eventually learned was I could increase my self-confidence by consistently finding ways to push me to my limit. It was uncomfortable but I was tired of reluctantly living in the shadows of doubt. Boosting your confidence is not hard but is definitely uncomfortable.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Face a Fear
Sometimes, taking a risk can seem too scary to try. Maybe you think you could never go bungee jumping from a cliff. It’s beyond my limit for sure! I found better ways to face my fear of heights — like riding in a glass elevator or walking across a tall bridge. Doing these things didn’t make the fear go away, but it retrained my brain to realize I could still do it. Facing your fears and proving you can survive is a great start to building confidence.
Learn Something New
I love learning. When I first started taking time every day to learn about something new and interesting, I had no idea how it would affect my self-confidence. The more I learned, the more confident I felt. The more confident you feel, the easier it is to create an intentional life.
Sometimes, low self-confidence makes it hard to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. I’m not one who enjoys talking in front of groups of people. But learned when I wasn’t assertive, I was causing additional damage to the little self-esteem I had.
One trick that helped me was to practice what I wanted to say in front of a mirror. It gave me the impression of someone watching (listening) and helped me work through my thoughts so I could communicate them more clearly. The test-run helped me gain the confidence I needed to ask or say what I intended.
Let Go of Toxic Relationships
For some people, their low self-confidence is tied to a draining relationship. Perhaps your spouse or parent is always making cutting remarks adding to your own self-doubt talk. If possible, let go of these toxic relationships.
If you can’t, try to limit their impact on you by establishing healthy boundaries. I have learned to share how critical comments make me feel. Often the person isn’t even aware of how their toxicity is wearing on me.
Try a Power Pose
You may not realize this but your body language sends out signals about your self-confidence. Often those with low confidence will hunch their shoulders, keep their heads down, or avoid eye contact.
The next time you need to communicate confidence try a power pose. Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips. Your head should be up and pointing forward. Notice as you stand how alert and energized you feel.
Visualize the Best Outcome
When our confidence is low, it’s hard to think of the future in a positive light. What you may not realize is your expectations often become your results. Meaning, if you expect the worst to happen, it usually will. Some of the people I’m closest too have an overly active sense of worry, paranoia, and anxiety about what “might” happen. When I’m trying to visualize a positive outcome it’s hard to hear their excessive concern and not have it transfer to my level of confidence.
The good news here is the opposite is also true. When you expect good things to come your way, they usually do. When you project positive vibes it can’t help but affect the way you feel and ultimately act.
Do Something Creative
Creative activities can boost your self-confidence when you’re feeling low. Try to make time for your favorite hobbies. I believe we are each blessed with divinely given talents. When we work to develop those talents we are moving toward the person we were sent here to become. It may be only spending a few minutes to draw a simple sketch or knit a few stitches on the blanket your creating, whatever it is take time to honor your gifts.
Stop Comparing Yourself
You were feeling good about your parenting skills until you saw the way your friend Jenny handled her toddler having a temper tantrum. She remained so calm and never raised her voice. Her love and patience were just oozing from her pores. She knew exactly what to do to be an effective parent.
Now, you’re worried you’ll never be as good of a parent as Jenny. You’re certain everyone around you will judge your ability and intuition as inferior. This type of comparison is dangerous to your self-confidence. You don’t have to compete with Jenny or anyone else. Instead, focus on doing the best you can do.
Set Micro Goals
Not every goal has to be huge. In fact, big goals can be overwhelming and make you less likely to make any actual progress. So, you should always aim to set easier to achieve micro goals.
Instead of telling yourself you’ll give up overeating, set a tiny goal like eating two cookies instead of the whole box. Instead of telling yourself you have to save thousands of dollars for a down payment on a home, set a small goal of saving fifty dollars.
Surround Yourself with Love
When you lack self-confidence, it’s easy to surround yourself with people who aren’t good for you. Maybe you have a friend who always puts you down or never shows up when you need her.
Instead of spending time with these friends, make friends with people who genuinely want to support you. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your good qualities and build you up. If you’re having trouble finding friends, look around. Some of my best friends are ones I met in random places. I’m sure new friends are just waiting for you to take the first step.
Give Yourself Permission to Experiment
Part of growing your self-confidence is trying new things. But to do that, you need to remove the pressure of failing or succeeding. Instead, look at every new project as an “experiment”. When it’s over, you can evaluate what you learned from your experiment and what you can do better next time.
Exercise boost endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in your brain. Not only will exercise leave you feeling more positive, but it’s also a self-confidence booster because you feel best about yourself when you’re taking care of your body.
But don’t feel like you have to hit the gym. You can choose activities you find fun and energizing like taking a yoga class, going for a bike ride, or anything else you can think of. The activity isn’t as important as the fact that you’re moving your body.
Make It Easy to Follow Through
Some people set a goal but they don’t take steps to put it into motion because of an internal or external roadblock. But those with self-confidence know the best they can do to overcome their resistance is to plan for it.
For example, if you want to learn how to learn a new skill but you’re too tired to focus on it at the end of the day, switch up your learning session to the early morning hours when you feel more energized. You’ll be more likely to study and get the work done.
Celebrate Your Wins
People with low self-confidence often struggle with acknowledging their accomplishments. Instead of simply letting your wins pass you by, record them in your Creating Positive Habits Journal and then find a way to celebrate!
Do something fun when you reach a milestone on a goal or complete what might have felt like an insurmountable task. You could go for a pedicure, treat yourself to your favorite meal, or see a move in theaters. By celebrating your success in a memorable way, you’re less likely to doubt yourself in the future.
You deserve good things. Not because of what you’ve done or what you’re going to do. You were made to be loved and treated well simply because you are a precious human being. When the doubts come calling, remind yourself that you’re more than the sum of your thoughts.
You should consistently work to boost your self-confidence. However, you need to understand that there’s no destination here — while your confidence can grow, there will always be new challenges to tackle and overcome. But if you approach them with confidence, you’ll be more likely to succeed and enjoy the process a lot more.
What has helped boost your confidence when it’s been at a low?
Originally published on ChoosingWisdom.org