5 ways to boost your confidence
To some people, confidence is elusive. Even those who appear the most confident can often struggle.
Lacking confidence can make it hard to get involved in activities with other people. It could be as simple as having a chat with someone while standing in line at the supermarket or as complicated as going to a large party or perhaps even a working event.
Confidence is something people are in need of. Why? Because humans are wired to be social. Being social is a natural part of living on this earth. It's also important for our mental, emotional and physical health.
According to a University research project (Penn State, USA):
“In a study led by Ruixue Zhaoyang, assistant research professor of the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State, the researchers found that when adults between the ages of 70 and 90 reported more frequent, pleasant social interactions, they also had better cognitive performance on that day and the following two.”
And now for the good news!
There are several simple strategies to improve your confidence over time. When you apply these, you'll never need to miss opportunities that come your way. Here are five of them:
1. Know what you bring to the table
There are almost 8 billion souls on this good earth. We're all very different from each other, but we do have some things in common. One of those commonalities is: we need to feel accepted.
Boosting self-confidence begins with understanding and knowing the skills you have, the people you know, and any accomplishments and achievements you may have reached throughout your life.
Many people aren't aware of how much good they've done, or how many people think well of you. You've only to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" to get this concept.
2. Acknowledge your flaws
We all have them. But, it's just that we don't like to admit it. However, what if embracing our flaws can make us more confident?
A way to embrace our flaws is to reflect on any accomplishments (big or small) to remind ourselves of what makes us stand out from the group. People often struggle with the idea of being unique, and what they tend to do is to focus on how they stack up against others, forgetting their own amazing qualities.
Instead, don't waste time comparing yourself to others. Do an inventory and list any talents, skills, knowledge or experience you have so that they are fresh in your mind for when you need a confidence boost.
3. Understand that people do like you
When you feel down or sad, it is important to remind yourself that people do honestly like you. You might not see that in your moments of feeling anxious or depressed, but people do want to be around people – especially those who are comfortable with themselves.
So, if you are shy, people see this and appreciate your company. Good people seem to be able to find ways to draw shy people out of their shells.
4. Know what you want out of a conversation
If you feel unable to say, with confidence, what you want from a conversation or what you need from the person talking, there's a good chance that your confidence will be 'lost in translation' (for want of a better phrase!).
On the other hand, there's an aspect of you (your spirit) that tends to rise as soon as you know what you want. When you know what you want, you have the ability to ask for it from the other person. One way to feel this 'spirit' of confidence is to trust. And, never apologise for things that don't need an apology.
You could try practising this. Have a brief conversation with a friend or maybe your co-workers. Ask them to practice having a conversation with you, where you have the option to contribute. When you get it 'wrong', button your lip and don't apologise. See how that makes your emotions feel.
5. Accept compliments gracefully
A major cause of a lack of confidence is not being able to accept compliments. Most people don't understand their negative thoughts about themselves, they just listen to them constantly throughout the day, and most of those negative thoughts can ruin our confidence. Some of those negative thoughts are from other people's criticism.
One of the keys here is to hear the negative thought/voice in your head and shout at it "Stop!" Then, in your mind, reframe that negative thought with a possible positive (or even neutral) answer.
Practice in the mirror if you wish. Look at yourself and act out a scenario where someone pays you a compliment. Look at yourself (as though your reflection is the other person) and say "That was kind, thank you!" Smile. Then move on. No need to make a big drama out of it, or bow your head or reject it. Thanking the person for the compliment makes them feel 'validated'. Appreciating their comment makes both of you feel better!
I hope you will begin to learn to use these five ways to boost your confidence. I'm pretty sure they will help you feel more confident and less shy or embarrassed when you are in a situation that calls for it.
Remember, confidence comes from within yourself. Basically, it comes from knowing you and becoming aware of the things you can bring to the table. When you know what you are able to do (and not do), you begin to appreciate the knowledge and experience you have gathered over the years. Then comes the most important aspect, you begin to accept yourself.