Practical guidance: building confidence

Someone asked me: how do I build self-confidence?

Confidence is trust, and we can trust someone to do a good job or trust someone because they are trustworthy. Let say that they always keep their word; therefore, they have integrity, a rare quality in our times.

When you practice everyday integrity and keeping your word, in the beginning, you practice with yourself, doing things that you decided you would do that day, and as you tick things off, you know that it feels good. You are honouring yourself, which is a big deal because you show respect by keeping your word.

For example, you decide to cook a meal twice a week instead of ordering a takeaway. You decide today to make that call that you’ve been putting off, and you actually do it. If you need to be constantly working, decide to give yourself a break, do it, enjoy it, make this part of your new healthier routine.

When you agree to meet with a friend, and even though you don’t feel like going, go anyway, and don’t be late. You stop being that unreliable friend who always cancels and is late and begins to be the reliable friend who is always there.

“Most people live in two extremes. One is poor self-image, and the other one is arrogance, which is an overly high self-image. Both of these are not in touch with the reality of who you are. Self-respect is right in the middle and seems to be the hardest to maintain. It is hard because self-image by itself is a temporary phenomenon.” - Raju Ramanathan, 

What else can you do to empower yourself and build confidence?

Take more responsibility. However, remember you want to be realistic and build your confidence gradually. So buy a small plant, grow it, and nourish it. Then, for example, buy a bigger one, get a pet or join a group and decide to participate fully.

Trust and confidence “refer to expectations that may lapse into disappointments. However, trust is the means by which someone achieves confidence in something. Trust establishes confidence.” - Michalis Pavlidis from the University of Brighton.

If you always wanted to study or learn something, start from the basics. Don’t be discouraged when you’re just starting out.

Small steps, when done well, fills one with a great sense of achievement.

You will unwittingly be building a solid base or foundation for yourself on a cognitive level while continuously growing in many ways, with confidence being one of them.

Those of you who are young parents would know the power of encouragement, the simple statement 'you can do it,' and the joy of a child who is learning and making progress because of your trust. Should the child not succeed this time, your support will teach them resilience and belief in themselves. You will know your feedback was constructive when they continue and push to do things for themselves.

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela 

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Gunnersbury, W4

Written by Agnieszka Jacewicz | Psychotherapist | UKCP Accred.

Gunnersbury, W4

Integrative Transpersonal Psychotherapist based in the UK, Chiswick and online.

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