How Do You Build Confidence?
In this post, you will learn
- how to build or rebuild self-confidence and
- how you can practice confidence.
I will also outline 17 tips on boosting your self-esteem and will tell you why I know so much about it.
How do you ruin someone’s self-confidence for life? Story Time
One day my grandmother looked at me and said: “You look good, but you aren’t beautiful. I tell you this now, so you don’t get too confused in life.” I was probably 11-12 years old.
Obviously, I still remember it.
I remember that I had just washed my hair and it was sparkling under the warm summer sun. I was feeling in peace with myself, enjoying my summer break with the people I truly loved. And yet, she decided to give me a lesson in life.
My grandmother loved me very much, and I loved her too. I miss her every single day of my life, and I wish I could turn back the time just for a day and have the chance to talk to her again.
But she sucked at building my self-confidence.
When she told me that sentence above, I didn’t know it was one of my first steps in building low self-esteem and negative inner image for myself. In my high school years, I was wearing wide clothes to hide my feminine parts; I wouldn’t move from my school bench for a fool day unless I had to go to another study room. I wouldn’t eat in front of people and would stay hungry all day because someone else told me the way I chew was weird. I still get blushed when the attention of other people, who aren’t my family, is focused on me.
I spent my teenage years believing two things:
- I’m smart.
- But I’m not attractive.
Can you guess which one was more important to a teenage girl? I had my first ever boyfriend when I was 18, and it was the first of many dreadful, unhealthy and self-destructive relationships. Each one of them worse than the previous one.
At some point, I ended up with a guy who was waiting for me to go to sleep so he could go on parties, visit friends and probably sleep with other women. I would wake up in the morning, and he would be waiting for me in the living room, drunk (once even on drugs) to apologise.
And I would accept his apology.
Because I thought that’s the best I could do.
Because he’d agreed to be with me.
Because I thought I didn’t deserve more.
Self-Confidence is Your Only Shield in Life You Could Build For Yourself
For reasons, I don’t wish to mention publicly; I ended up in a hospital. Alone. Scared. Thousands of miles away from everyone who cared for me. And wondering what happened to the smart girl who had dreams of building a life that’s worth living.
For a while, I was seriously considering ending my life (I talk more about this in my depression and loneliness post here). I couldn’t find many reasons not to do it.
I had hit the bottom of my life.
I was ashamed of myself and my failure TO BE MORE.
MORE beautiful. MORE loved. MORE appreciated. MORE of everything.
You see, I wasn’t too young to blame the lack of experience and wisdom for everything I had brought to myself. I was 29 years old and most people at this age have children, families, career and a mortgage.
I had quit my successful career as a bank office manager, boarded the plane to a country on the other side of the continent and found a man who was suffering from his own wounds and couldn’t do more than wound me as well. Two unhappy people could create only a troubled relationship. Don’t ever think that a relationship could save you from your misery. It could only make things worse.
What Are The Benefits Of Improved Self-Confidence?
What would it mean to be confident? Would you agree with the following benefits of improving your self-confidence?
- Maybe it would mean trust in yourself that you are worth it.
- It’s probably a belief in your ability to control your life in a better way.
- It could mean a feeling of self-worth.
- Inner strength and urge to enjoy life.
- Maybe it’s freedom from self-doubt or at least to reduce it.
- Freedom to express your desires and stand behind your decisions.
- Courage to make decisions that satisfy your needs in life.
- Positive self-image and inner happiness.
- More smiles…
Self-Confidence is a Skill
Self-confidence is a skill, and if you were as lucky as me and no one helped you build it in your early years, then you must start today. Now.
I often connect self-confidence with self-love too. None of them could exist without the other. And once you start working on one, the other blooms too.
You could access 42 free tactics on how to learn to love yourself here. Don’t miss on your chance to reach for some new knowledge. We tend to put in practice only a small percentage of what we learn. Hence, the more we learn, the more things we put into practice.
Self-confidence is also an ongoing process that never ends. Just like a new language – if you don’t practice it you will forget it.
How To Build Self-Confidence – 17 Ways
How to build self-confidence?
I could tell you many ways to do it.
Will they all apply to you?
But some of them will benefit you more than others. Maybe one of them will resonate the most with you. Hold onto it. Work with it.
I’ve tried them all. I still use a few.
1. Define what self-confidence means to you.
I listed many things that self-confidence mean to me.
But what does it mean to you?
List how better self-esteem would benefit you. What would you be able to achieve? How would it make you feel?
2. Find a Mentor
Find someone to look up to. It’s not necessary to be someone you know. It could be an author, an actor, a historical character. But it should be someone confident and strong. And it should be someone with a good heart.
Every time you have a chance, ask yourself what makes that person worth knowing. How does he (or she) face challenges in life? What makes them strong and worthy in your eyes. Try to find out their most important values and the habits they practice.
3. Know Your Flaws and Accept Them
Advice as old as this world.
Accept yourself with your flaws.
None of us is perfect. And we shouldn’t be. But we are unique. And our flaws are part of our uniqueness. Don’t pretend they aren’t there because this doesn’t make them disappear…
Actually, it makes them grow. Your anger towards them and towards yourself feeds them. Just let it go. You are who you are. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or you couldn’t improve your life. But it does mean that there are things you cannot change.
4. Know Your Strengths and Embrace Them
It’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong.
But how many times you honestly embraced your qualities and listed your strengths?
At some point in my life, I thought that embracing my qualities means I’m showing off and that’s not nice.
But there’s a difference between foolishly putting yourself above the others and admitting you are good at something. Choose the second.
5. Read More and Then Read More
If I have to choose one thing that my grandmother taught me and completely changed my life I wouldn’t choose the situation I described above.
It’s my love for reading.
And that’s what changed my life a few years ago when I realised a changed must be done.
So, I advise you to read. More. And then read some more.
Self-help books. Novels. Poetry. Whatever makes your heart melt – read it. Watch less TV and actually make your brain work harder for knowledge and entertainment.
Reading is like entering thousands of new worlds and living thousands of lives. It’s the fastest portal to visualising who you want to become and how.
6. Set Up Small Daily Goals
Low self-confidence and self-esteem usually mean disappointment and self-anger.
There is a way to fight them back.
Step by step.
Set up small daily goals. Even if it’s something ridiculous, you wouldn’t even share with your dog. Write it down and before you go to sleep check if you’ve done it. If you have – that’s a win. If you haven’t – list it for the day after and don’t move forward until you do it.
Here are a few examples of small (ridiculous or not) daily goals:
- Read a page from a book.
- Learn one new word from a language you’d like to speak.
- Listen to 2 uplifting songs.
- Cook something healthy.
- Book an appointment for a haircut.
- Spend 10 minutes without social media.
- Tell yourself you are beautiful/worth it/brave in front of the mirror.
7. Change or Implement a Habit.
Here’s the thing.
Life is an endless chain of habits. The moment we finish practising one habit, we jump into another one.
As Og Mandino says in his book “The Greatest Salesman In The World”: “If I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits.”
Change your habits, moderate them in a way that benefits you. Stick to them. If you feel you aren’t practising a good habit anymore, just go back to it the minute you realise it.
Never give it up if it promises you good.
8. Every Day Ask Yourself This
No self-confidence or low self-esteem push our focus away from us. We don’t like ourselves. We don’t love ourselves. And when we don’t love something we don’t look after it.
But instead of running towards your new goal and start “a new life” from tomorrow, implement the change bit by bit.
Ask yourself every day these questions: “What could I do for myself? Right now. What would make me feel loved by myself? What would I do if I was practising self-love and was confident enough.”
The great thing about this exercise is that it’s like a game.
What’s the most important think about games?
They aren’t real, and they’re fun. When we play, we pretend to be something different. Entering the role of a confident person gives us the power to stay there and “play it” as long as it feels good and it’s fun.
So what would you do for yourself if you were as confident as you wish you were?
9. Learn Gratitude
If you read a few more posts on my blog, you will see that I see Gratitude as the single most important and powerful tool I’ve known so far.
Life-changing is a weak word to describe it.
Gratitude means focusing on what we have instead of what we don’t have.
It’s appreciating things we don’t recognise we have.
A grateful person is a happy person. Because even when it looks like he doesn’t have anything, he could list tens of thing he does have.
Practice gratitude and see how it changes you.
Related post: GRATITUDE. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS TODAY
10. If You Wouldn’t Tell It To Your Best Friend, Don’t Tell It Yourself Either.
Have you noticed that we are more polite to the people around us than to ourselves?
We would never look at our best friend, our child or our parent and tell them “You are worthless. You never do anything well. You are a failure.”
And yet, we never miss a chance to tell it ourselves.
Stop right here!
Never tell yourself these again. Negative self-talk must stop right now.
If you see you talk to yourselves things you wouldn’t tell your own child, spend the next few minutes in positive self-talking.
11. Find Your Affirmation
Wanna know a secret?
Affirmations are your weapons to keep your negative mind busy with something positive.
When I first started working in a bank (almost 15 years ago), I couldn’t talk to clients without blushing. My voice was squeaky and shaky. I hated it.
I still do it sometimes. I still fight my battles. But I’m better at it.
I used affirmations to help myself back then, and I still use them when I need them.
“I am a strong and confident woman who communicates easily with everyone.” Don’t laugh, but that was my affirmation for many, many months. Every morning I would travel for 40 minutes to my workplace and would spend the time in repeating this affirmation in my head. I would walk, and each step would be a word in my mind.
It helped me get to the point where I was the most confident person in my office, the most important clients of the branch were waiting for hours to sit and work with me only, I got promoted to a bank office manager and was known by my colleagues as a professional who knows what they’re doing.
And it’s all because of this simple sentence.
12. Put Yourself First
Here’s the deal.
If you are not willing to put yourself first, no one else is going to do it.
It has nothing to do with selfishness, but it’s everything to do with self-esteem. Looking after your physical body, maintaining your inner peace, improving your mental health and respecting your wishes is what every confident person would do.
13. Forgive Yourself
Sadly, many of us struggle with low self-confidence because they wouldn’t forgive themselves for the choices they’ve made.
But you know what?
No one is pushing you to forgive yourself today.
In fact, self-forgiveness is the hardest thing ever. It’s proven that we are much better at forgiving others for whatever than forgiving ourselves.
We are our biggest judges, and we keep our own records of mistakes, wrong turns in life and bad choices.
The worse part is that we are yet to regret many more. Because no one’s perfect.
However, there’s one thing you will agree with immediately.
Whatever decision you made – it was the best you could do at that moment, right?
None of us takes decisions they believe will be a failure.
Am I right?
Hold on to that thought and don’t punish yourself for years. Instead, treat yourself honestly – admit it was the best you could think of and forgive yourself for it. Then do it again and again until you truly do it.
14. Dream More.
Benjamin Franklin said: “Some people died at twenty and aren’t buried until seventy-five.”
And I know that we die the moment we stop dreaming. The fire in our eyes gets quieter with the time passing, and we just exist.
Dream. And then dream some more.
Keep that fire alive, keep walking towards new things in life, keep hoping for the best. Keep imagining yourself doing great things. See yourself as a confident and happy person. Dream about it. Feel it. Live it.
15. Help People
Helping people is one of the most rewarding free activities ever. In serving others, we find ourselves.
And there are so many people in need of help. Just look around. It could be a parent, a friend or a stranger. Help someone. And you will help yourself too.
16. Rinse and Repeat
Did you notice it?
I referred to one thing all the time.
Do it again!
Whatever you do, just do it again.
Miracles exist, but they like persistence and need your push. I am a strong supporter of the belief that failure doesn’t exist, only experience.
If you feel you’re losing your focus, start again. If you feel you don’t practice self-confidence well enough, just keep trying. Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Happiness waits for you there.
The Skill of Self-Confidence – The Best TEDx Talk
To understand more the importance of building self-confidence and boosting your self-esteem I’d like you to take a few minutes and watch the video below. It’s the best TEDx talk on that topic you could put your hands on.
5 Simple Ways To Practice Self-Confidence in Your Day-To-Day Life
After outlining the 17 ways to build self-confidence, let’s talk how to practice it. In public. Among other people.
These are 5 simple ways to “trick” yourself and the others around you that you’re more confident than you are. I’ve used them all and I still use them almost every day. They work.
1. Look Them In Their Eyes
Confident people don’t look at their shoes while talking to other people. Their eyes don’t “wander” around the room trying to avoid eye contact.
Actually, no matter how uncomfortable you feel, looking at the other person in the eyes is your most important task if you’d like to look confident.
2. Straighten Your Shoulders
As you could guess, straight shoulders make you look confident, but that’s not just “fake” body language posture. It”s scientifically proven that if you stay tall you will actually not only look more confident but feel confident too. So, head up, my friend.
3. Smile More
Once, I heard that if you smile while you talk over the phone, the other person will “hear” your smile and that will make it easier for you to approach them for whatever.
Use the same technique while you talk to people. Straighten the shoulders, look the other in the eyes and smile.
In the beginning, I was feeling stupid – who smiles for no reason?
Then I understood that there’s a difference between laughing and a gentle mini-smile. The gentle mini-smile will make you feel more relaxed and positive and it will release the tension in your chests.
4. Ask Question
Every time you feel like you are losing your confidence and feel like you want to dig a hole and jump in it, so no one sees you (ever again), just pause and ask a question. Any question. (obviously related to the topic)
While the other person answers the question you will have time to take a few deep breaths and take control of your emotions.
“Duh!” I hear you say.
However… many people struggle with getting blushed while talking or being in the centre of attention. I blush all the time. Once I feel my cheeks are burning I get so nervous that they almost go on fire. It’s funny and unfortunately, there is no cure for it. Sorry.
But I do two things that help me. Okay, three.
First I take a deep breath, then I take another one and then… another one.
Yep, I take a few deep breaths, I try to shut my mouth and let the other person do the talking until I calm myself down. It’s hard. But it works.
You could even crack a joke about it and that would make it less awkward. Trust me.
What to read next?
If you enjoyed these 17 tips on how to build confidence, consider subscribing to my email list, I publish only well researched and useful content every week.
Also, check these articles below for more inspiration and some extra navigation in life.
- 42 WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF AGAIN
- HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE – 2 EASY WAYS TO START
- 5 INSPIRATIONAL EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ
- 10 QUOTES FOR STAYING STRONG
- 50 POWERFUL AFFIRMATIONS TO ATTRACT MORE LOVE IN YOUR LIFE
- YOUR SECRET KEY TO ETERNAL HAPPINESS. THIS WILL MAKE YOU CRY AT THE END