Self-confidence is the starting point for any accomplishment.
“Believe you can and you're halfway there.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
But, is self-confidence is something that you are just born with?
If that is true, how could you possibly improve the same?!
Well, the answer is – nope!
In fact, it may surprise you to learn that a lot of famous and highly successful people once struggled with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. Possible, many of them are struggling even now.
For example, Kim Kardashian (the world famous reality star) said, “I don't find myself as sexy as everyone thinks. I'm a lot more insecure than people would assume.”
She's not the only celebrity who has suffered (or continues to suffer) a lack of self-esteem. Other well-known celebrities who admitted to the same are Lady Gaga, Robert Patterson and the list goes on.
This just goes to show that confidence is a ‘learnable skill.’ Just like these celebrities, you too can turn the situation to your favour.
In this article, you'll find proven ways to improve your self-confidence.
Without further ado, let's get started!
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Numerous researches have found that a leading cause for low self-esteem is the comparison with others. Most times, this inferiority complex can be provoked by media usage because you are constantly exposed to the enviably fancy lifestyle of celebrities and the young millionaires.
Even when you are merely browsing through the social media profiles of your friends, you may feel #FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. Indeed, all the beautiful travel photos can make you feel like you are missing something in life.
Before we move on to the solutions, let's first understand what self-confidence really means?
Does it mean that you don't feel below others?
Or is it that you feel above others?
It really is not either of these things.
In fact, think about any great spiritual leader or historical figure - for example, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein or anyone else for that matter. You will find that weren’t show-offs who dominated others to prove their worth. Rather, they were modest people who stayed true to their passion and didn't bother about competing with others.
The simple truth here is – ‘You are born to walk your own path.’ Comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples to oranges - it just doesn't make any sense! Everybody has their own journey and mission. When your inner critic provokes your insecurities, just remind yourself that you are good enough. Your birth in itself is a testament to your value to this world.
To wrap up, ‘Stop comparing yourself to others. You're your own path!
2. Eliminate or reduce negative people
Often times, our self-esteem can be undermined significantly by negative company. It could be your classmates, or your colleagues at work, or your arrogant boss, or maybe even your own relatives! In such cases, you have to consciously take measures to prevent yourself from getting affected.
Let me tell you about an interesting experiment –
At the beginning of a year, the school teacher was given 2 new classes. He was told that in class 1, the kids are more intelligent and capable than the kids in class 2.
It's no surprise that a while, the “smart” kids from class 1 were faring better than the kids of Class 2.
Here is the catch – even though the class teacher was told that Class 1 students are smarter than the Class 2, in reality, it was not the case. The students had been randomly divided.
So, why did Class 1 kids still perform a lot better than the Class 2?
Well, it is because of the differential attitude (driven by the differential expectations) the teacher had towards the two classes.
Psychological studies have confirmed that we innately tend to satisfy the expectations of others. That is why it is so very important to eliminate the negative people who constantly bring you down and don't expect great out of you.
Of course, this is easier said than done. This negative person could be your colleague or maybe even your relative. During such times, it is hard for you to completely eliminate them. For such instances, here are 2 recommendations:
- Reduce the amount of time you communicate with them.
- Always take the time to bounce back.
Imagine that you have come home after a long walk in the cold weather – you have a few frozen bites and your toes are numb. You would certainly take measures to feel better, right? Maybe, drink some hot chocolate or draw a hot bath etc. Follow the same steps with negative people – when they try to bring you down, allocate extra efforts to pump and motivate yourself.
Watch inspirational videos. Read inspirational books. Listen to inspirational music. Do whatever it takes redeem your self-esteem and neutralize the negative influence.
Remember this – ‘Your self-esteem is your choice.’
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
3. Give compliments and Thank people
Initially, everybody is self-centered. They are occupied with their own thoughts, plans, and wishes. At this point, they're neutral towards you. However, if you make them feel good, they would start liking you. The easiest way to make people feel good is to thank and appreciate them. Of course, you should be authentic. The easiest way to come up with genuine compliments is just to say the truth!
I am sure everybody has at least one positive quality (even the person that you dislike). You can mention this in your compliment. And of course, never forget to thank people for any good thing that they do for you (even if it's a minor one). Giving compliments not only increases your likability, but it also makes you feel good because you can see the positive impact your appreciation has.
4. Accept compliments.
A sign of one’s low self-esteem is their ability to accept compliments. Usually, they tend to reject it or create a distraction so that the attention shifts.
If this sounds similar to what you do, stop. When you are given a compliment, just look them in the eyes, and say ‘thank you.’
5. Act confident.
If I were to ask you for some of the common behavioural patterns and characteristics, you’d know some, right?
All you need to do is follow these traits!
You may think, ‘Why should I fake it and not be authentic?’
Well, here is an analogy to convince you.
The 1000 most common words comprise 89% of everyday writing. This does not mean that you know only these 1000 words. It just means that you use them more frequently than the other world. On average, the lexicon of an adult is in the range of 20 to 35000 words.
It's the same with our behavioural patterns - there may be some patterns that you use more frequently but it does mean that you only have these qualities. Indeed, if I were to ask you to describe situations where you felt and acted confidently, you’d have several examples, right?
This just goes to show that you do have this quality in you. All you need to is use it more frequently.
Act as if you are a confident individual. But, do so in a way that is not in contradiction with your inner critic. Don't just say to yourself, “I'm confident.” Instead, tell yourself, “I will act as if I were a confident person.” Simply said, fake it till you make it.
6. Do something for your health and beauty every day
For example, exercising is one of the best ways to deal with stress. For thousands of years of evolution, the natural reaction to stress was ‘fight or flight reaction.’ In either case, we need to ‘act.’
Nowadays, unfortunately, we seldom do this. When we're stressed, we tend to sit or stand and don't really do anything. This hinders the build-up of stress and energy from exiting the body. This is why exercising is one of the best ways to relieve yourself from negative emotions. Exercising also releases “feel good hormones.”
All in all, take the good of your body. Value yourself. Invest in yourself. Indulge in beauty treatments that make you feel good. This will not only enhance your health and beauty but it will also boost your self-esteem.
7. Have a fresh haircut
When you take good care of your beauty and your body, you're sending signals to your brain that you're wealthy and that you deserve to be treated well. A new hair cut is a symbol of refreshment. Therefore, it's nice to get a haircut, especially when you are starting a new chapter in your life.
8. Cultivate your inner confidence
Oftentimes, we hope that once we get “something,” we will feel more confident. For example, you may think that if you lose weight, you would start feeling more confident. Or when you make a certain amount of money, your self-esteem will be higher.
But the tough truth is that confidence comes from within. External factors can only support your confidence but they can never be a source of it. For example, there are several people who’ve been through plastic surgery to make themselves “beautiful,” and yet struggle to feel so.
Similarly, 70% of the lottery winners lose their money within the next few hours, because they aren’t “ready” for the wealth.
Many celebrities who’ve achieved fame and love of millions of people, yet not feel secure. For instance, Robert Pattinson (famous Hollywood actor) said,
“You have to confront your insecurities quite a lot, and I have plenty, plenty of insecurities. Even more now.”
To summarize, external factors will never be the source of your confidence. Therefore, you would have to cultivate this from the within. There are a lot of techniques that can help with the same.
For example, you can use positive affirmations.
Check out this blog posts which describes how to make affirmations work for you. (Post link).
Another way is to visualize yourself as what you want to be. It has been proven that mental training actually makes your body react to it.
Another great way is to define your goals. Write them down. Fixate your mind to focus on your major goals. This will get you excited about the future.
9. Help others, Volunteer
Chronic low self-esteem can make you anxious and less able to establish relationships with people or to try new activities. A good solution for this could be to volunteer. When you volunteer, you know for sure that those who you are helping will be super grateful for what you do to them.
Researchers have found numerous benefits of volunteering. It can be a source of additional physical activity; it could reduce your blood pressure. In fact, a study found that people who volunteer regularly live longer!
When you help others, you send a signal to your brain and the universe that have more than enough power to not only help yourself but to also help others. This can make you feel really powerful and confident from the inside. This along with the gratitude from others will prove to be a great confidence booster.
10. Keep learning something new every day.
There was interesting research which studied what motivates people at work and what makes employees feel goods at their workplace. It was found that people felt good when they experienced progress, even if it was a minor milestone. It boasts one's happiness and feeling of satisfaction. Progress is so inherent to human nature; that is why, when you learn and grow, you start feeling good about yourself.
A lot of the highly successful people and millionaires, tend to have a habit of reading something educational or inspirational at least for half an hour every day. You too can do this as a morning ritual. You will not only learn more but you will also feel good about yourself, thereby setting the right tone for the rest of the day.
Confidence is a learnable skill. A lot of successful and famous people have experienced low self-esteem for several years of their life.
Therefore, it is your duty to raise your level of confidence.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (bodybuilding champion and famous actor) -
“If you don't believe in yourself, who else will?”
In this article, you have learned 10 proven ways to improve your self-confidence. Pick one or more that resonate with you. This will help in building your core inner self-confidence.
P.S Which confidence building resonates with you the most? Reply in the comment section below. Help out your friends and share the article.