8 Ways To Improve Your Self-Confidence

When we think about confidence, people will spring to mind that we see as extremely confident. Normally this person will get labelled with being an outgoing person, always achieving and always getting what they want. But is this really an appropriate label? Or are we just "jealous" at our lack of confidence?

Here are 8 ways where we can begin to improve our confidence. 

Rationalising the negatives

“You have been criticising yourself for years, and it has not worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens” - Louise Hay 

Why do we always pay attention to the poisoned parrot? Why in a list of 10 positives and one negative do we hone in on the negative? Why are we continually in the cycle of "downing" ourselves? Are we not used to seeing the good in activities we have carried out? Do we need to be our own worst critic?

When looking at rationalising thoughts it is important to look for the truth in our poisoned parrot, what really did happen and what did we really do or how did we truly look to others. Therefore it is vital that we look for evidence: did I really mess up the whole exam or was one question particularly harder than the others? Begin to find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself for even the smallest of successes.

Identify your talents

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What is a sundial in the shade” - Benjamin Franklin

Why do we struggle when we are meeting new people, or at interviews, to describe our talents or talk about what we are good at? Everyone is good at something so it is important when building confidence to discover the things you can do well and then give yourself permission to take pride in them. Express yourself, talk about why you are proud of your talents. Whilst doing this, begin to add to your list of talents, interests and hobbies and you should see your confidence growing.

Accept compliments

“Success is liking yourself , what you do and liking how you do it” - Maya Angelou

Many people with low self esteem and confidence have difficulty taking compliments. They often assume that the person giving the compliment is lying or mistaken and therefore, quite often, they will dismiss the compliment. If you find yourself doing this or responding to a compliment with an eye roll or shrugging it off, start to re-frame your response. Reply by saying thank you, allowing the person to give the compliment. Accept that they meant it, if they didn’t why would they have bothered to have said anything to you? Do we normally go out of our way to make comments which are untrue?

Set yourself realistic S.M.A.R.T goals

“To establish true self confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget the failures and the negatives in our lives” - Denis Waitley

Setting yourself specific measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound goals will help you to build confidence in your abilities within the roles that you play within society. Ensure the goals are not too difficult to achieve and that when success is achieved you reflect on your own personal ability. Setting goals in life will help you to develop and learn and grow as a person, therefore creating a new attitude of ‘I can do’, not an attitude of, ‘I can not’. Even if the goal was not achieved it doesn’t mean that you cannot try it again.

Visualise yourself as you want to be

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” - Napoleon Hill

This technique is seeing an image of yourself that gives you a sense of pride and a vision you are happy with. When we struggle with confidence our perception of ourselves is often inaccurate, practising visualising a fantastic version of yourself achieving what you want in life will help to change an attitude that you once held about yourself.

Learn to say no

“Until you learn how to confidently say no to so many things, you shall always say yes to so many things” - Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Learning to say no to people, or not doing things, when it doesn’t suit us will help improve our confidence. When our confidence is low we often tend to put other peoples needs before our own, feeling unable to reject an idea or say no, with the bottom line fear being that people may judge us. To improve on our confidence, look at what we are doing for others and the impact - negative or positive - it has on us and learn to put our own needs before others. This will in turn build assertive skills and we will become more confident and the outcome will not be as we initially predicted.

Exercise and get active

“Working out can improve you physical appearance and lead to increased confidence” - Anonymous

Getting up and doing something is always better than doing nothing. Of course this can lead to mistakes, but mistakes help us learn and grow. Get up and do something which will increase heart rate. When we increase heart rate the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it and therefore it releases endorphins (natural pain killers) which gives us that post workout feeling of bliss. This coupled with the fact that exercise will help improve your overall appearance will naturally increase your confidence therefore making you present differently in situations that you are faced with. 

Surround yourself with people you care about and love

“We would do ourselves a tremendous favour by letting go of the people who poison our spirit” - Dr Steve Maraboli

One of the best, and at times worst, confidence boost is the people we love. Sometimes they can be too honest, and it hurts, but the majority of the time they give us that pick me up feeling, that comfort and love. They know the true “us” and will be able to make us feel better about ourselves. Let go of the people in our life that pull us down and cause us pain. Simply put: negative people will make us feel negative, positive people will make us feel positive.