Putting the confidence back in self
One definition of confidence might be: A feeling or a belief that you can rely on yourself, someone or something.
Confidence is so important to our lives and our self-worth, yet so many people struggle to find it. There is an anxiety that seems to go along with self-confidence, around judgement and what others might think of us. Confident people tend to be those we admire or we find inspiring and being confident can make us feel better about ourselves and our experiences.
How do you get from a place where you are anxious about how you might be seen or how you might judge yourself to a confident person not afraid to put their view forward?
First the bad news, reading this article is not going to instantly make you become confident. Yet, the good news is that everyone can improve their confidence by taking the principles out lined below and practising them in their daily lives.
Like all new skills you can expect to have to work to learn them and a few setbacks along the way. If you can keep that goal of being more confident firmly in your sights you will get there. Of course it can be easier if you have the support of a friend or a counsellor who can help you to review your progress and give you a boost when you want to give up, but everyone can achieve greater confidence.
One of the first steps is to look at your strengths and weaknesses. If you are like the majority of the population you will find it easy to identify your weaknesses and while it is important to understand what they are, you should give equal weight to your strengths no matter how small they might seem. If you find it difficult to think of your own strengths imagine what someone who really loves you might say. Perhaps it’s that you make the best banoffee pie in the world or perhaps it’s that you are always there to lend a hand. Take a few minutes to bask in your successes.
Acting confident has been shown to make people feel more confident. Of course that is a very easy sentence to say and a harder one to make happen. Yet there are some tricks of the trade. First think about your clothes. Many of us feel better in particularly smart clothes or with our hair done a particular way. I even had a client who felt that good underwear always improved their confidence. Next smile, a genuine smile and greet people with a confident hello, speak positively about yourself and don’t run yourself down. Talk about your hopes not your woes. Never let other people run you down remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can and if they don’t like it that is their loss.
Remember part of feeling confident is accepting any compliment that comes your way, without trying to minimise it or push it away. Accept it with a simple thank you. Helping others can help us to build confidence both in the giving of our time and in the realisation that everyone has areas of their life that they need help with. Avoid perfectionism as we all make mistakes, indeed making mistakes is one of the key tools we have in learning new behaviours.
Finally know what you believe in and stick to it. Of course others will have different opinions and that is just fine, what is right for them is not necessarily the way you see an issue nor is it necessarily right for you.
So give yourself a self-confident boost as we enter the new year and enjoy the positives in your life.