How to Build Self Confidence

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  • How to Build Self Confidence

    Five Parts:Cultivating a Good AttitudeDealing with EmotionsPracticing Self-CareSetting

    Goals and Taking RisksGetting Help Building Confidence

    Self-confidence, the combination of self-efficacy and self-esteem, is an essential part of

    humanity.[1] Self-efficacy is the internal sense, or belief that we can accomplish a variety of

    tasks or goals throughout life. Self-esteem, is similar, but more related to believing we are

    generally competent in what we do, and that we deserve to be happy in life. A person with

    self-confidence generally likes herself, is willing to take risks to achieve her personal and

    professional goals, and thinks positively about the future. [2] Someone who lacks self-

    confidence, however, is less likely to feel that she can achieve her goals and she tends to have

    a negative perspective about herself and what she hopes to gain in life. [3] The good news is

    that self-confidence is something that you can build on your own!

    Part 1 of 4: Cultivating a Good Attitude

    1. 1

    Identify your negative thoughts. [4] Your negative thoughts might sound like this: "I

    can't do that," "I will surely fail", "no one wants to hear what I have to say." This

    inner voice is pessimistic and unhelpful and will hold you back from achieving high

    self-esteem and greater self-confidence.

    o The purpose of identifying your negative thoughts is not to dwell on them; it is

    to become more self-aware so that you can begin to think more positively

    about yourself.

    2. 2

    Target negative thoughts and replace them with positive thought. As you pay

    attention to your negative thoughts, turn them around to positive thoughts. This may

    take the form of positive affirmations, [5] such as "I am going to try it," "I can be

    successful if I work at it," or "people will listen to me." Start with just a few positive

    thoughts a day.

    o Try to change your negative thoughts into a corresponding positive thought by

    twisting the way that you are thinking. For example, change I feel fat to I have awesome curves and Im taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle.



    Refuse to allow negative thoughts to occur more often than positive thoughts. Eventually, your positive thoughts should be given more brain space than your negative thoughts. The more you counter your negative self-thinking with positivity,

    the more natural this will become.

  • 4.


    Maintain a positive support network. [6] Connect with those close to you, whether

    they are family or friends, to keep your perspective uplifted. Furthermore, stay away

    from people or things that make you feel bad. [7]

    o Someone you call a friend may actually make you feel bad, if they constantly

    make negative remarks, or criticize you.

    o Even well-intended family members who weigh in with their opinions about

    what you should be doing can be destructive to your self-confidence. o As you cultivate your own positive attitude and take steps to achieve your

    goals these naysayers may become more evident. As much as possible, limit

    your contact with them while you build your self-confidence.

    o Take some time to think about which people in your life really make you feel

    great. Make a goal to spend more time with people who are supportive and




    Eliminate external reminders of your negativity. Avoid spending time around

    things that can make you feel bad about yourself again. These might be reminders

    from the past, clothing that no longer fits, or places that dont fit with your new goals of gaining confidence. Though you may not be able to get rid of every negative source

    in your life, you can certainly think about how to cut your losses. This will go a long

    way in building your self-confidence up.[8]

    o Take the time to sit down and think about all of the things that are bringing

    you down, from mean friends, a career you don't much care for, or a living

    situation that is almost unbearable.



    Identify your talents. Everyone is good at something, so discover the things at which

    you excel, and then focus on your talents. Give yourself permission to take pride in

    them. Express yourself, whether it's through art, music, writing, or dance. Find

    something you enjoy and cultivate a talent to go with your interest.[9]

    o Adding a variety of interests or hobbies to your life will not only make you

    more confident, but it will increase your chances of meeting compatible

    friends as well.

    o When you're following your passion, not only will it have a therapeutic effect,

    but you'll feel unique and accomplished, all of which can help build your self




  • Take pride in yourself. Not only should you feel proud of your talents or your skills,

    but you should also think about the things that make your personality great. It can be

    your sense of humor, your sense of compassion, your listening skills, or your ability

    to cope under stress. You may not think that there's anything about your personality

    worth admiring, but if you dig deep, you'll realize that you have plenty of admirable

    qualities. Focus on them by writing them down.



    Accept compliments gracefully. Many people with low self-esteem have difficulty

    taking compliments; they assume that the person complimenting them is either

    mistaken or lying. If you find yourself responding to a compliment by rolling your

    eyes, saying, "Yeah, right," or shrugging it off, you should reframe your response to


    o Take it to heart and respond positively. (Saying thank you and smiling works well). Let the person giving the compliment know that you really

    appreciate it, and work to reach the point where you are able to truly accept

    the compliment at heart.

    o You can add the compliment to your list of positive attributes about yourself

    and use it to bolster your self-confidence.



    Look in the mirror and smile. Studies surrounding what's called the "facial feedback

    theory" suggest that the expressions on your face can actually encourage your brain to

    register or intensify certain emotions.[10] So by looking in the mirror and smiling

    every day, you might feel happier with yourself and more confident in the long run.

    This will also help you feel happier about your appearance, and to accept the way you


    o Other people will likely respond to you well when you smile at them, so in

    addition to making yourself feel happier, you may get a boost in confidence

    due to the feedback you get from other people as well.

    Part 2 of 4: Dealing with Emotions

    1. 1

    Be comfortable with fear. You may think that people who are self-confident are

    never fearful. This simply is not true; its just that self-confident people do not allow the fear they feel to stop them from acting.[12]

    o When you do feel fear, acknowledge the feeling, then ask yourself whether

    you want that fear to stand in the way of your goal. As you become more

    confident, you will begin to feel less paralyzed by fear.

    o For example, fear may be stopping you from asking for a raise at your job.

  • Think about why you feel fearful: Do you think that instances of poor

    performance will be brought up? Do you think you will lose your job

    or seem ungrateful if you ask for a raise?

    Then think of what you have to gain: You can make more money,

    which may allow you to live more comfortably. You can feel assured

    that you are doing a good job at work.

    Assess the worst-case scenario: Could you lose your job? That is

    extremely unlikely. Could they say no? That is possible, but you do not

    really lose anything if this happens, and you still will have overcome

    your fear by asking in the first place.

    Overcome the fear and act. Once you have acknowledged and assessed

    your fear, take action. Ask for that raise, and you may be rewarded for

    overcoming that fear.

    2. 2

    Be patient with yourself. Sometimes you go backwards to go forwards. Gaining self-

    confidence does not happen overnight. [13] You might try something new and not meet

    your goal. If possible, see what lessons are there. Not meeting your goal the first time

    around is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. Self-confidence needs to be

    nurtured and grown, a bit at a time. [14]

    3. 3

    Strive for balance. Like everything else in life, building self-confidence is about

    maintaining balance. Too little self-confidence can keep you from achieving your

    goals and feeling good about yourself. [15] People with too much self-confidence often

    face the same problem because they underestimate the time and effort needed to

    achieve their goals. [16]



    Stop comparing yourself to others. If you want to build your self-confidence, then

    you have to focus on improving your own life for the better, not on making your life

    more like your best friend's, your older brother's, or like those of the celebrities you

    see on television. If you want to build up your confidence, then you need to know that

    there will always be someone who is prettier, smarter, and richer than you, just like

    there will always be someone who is less attractive, less intelligent, and less wealthy

    than you are; all of this is irrelevant, and what is relevant is caring about advancing

    your own goals and dreams.

    o You may lack confidence because you're convinced that everyone else has it

    better than you do. However, at the end of the day, it only matters if you're

    happy by your own standards. If you have no idea what those are, then it's

    time to do some soul searching before you move forward.

    o Additionally, studies have found that spending time on social media often

    encourages people to compare themselves with others. Because people tend to

    post only their triumphs and not their realities of daily life, it can seem as

  • though the lives of others are more wonderful than your own.[17] This is likely

    not true! Everyone has ups and downs in their lives.



    Recognize your insecurities. What does that voice in the back of your mind say?

    What makes you uncomfortable or ashamed of yourself? This could be anything from

    acne, to regrets, friends at school, or a past traumatic or negative experience.

    Whatever is making you feel unworthy, ashamed, or inferior, identify it, give it a

    name, and write it down. You can then tear or burn these written pieces to start feeling

    positive on those points.

    o This exercise isn't meant to bring you down. It's meant to make you aware of

    the problems you're dealing with, and empower you to move past them.



    Bounce back from your mistakes. Remember that no one is perfect. Even the most

    confident people have insecurities. At some point in any of our lives, we may feel we

    lack something. That is reality. Learn that life is full of bumps down the road. And

    that often these insecure feelings come and go, depending on where we are, who we

    are with, the mood we're in, or how we are feeling. In other words, they are not

    constant. If you've made a mistake, the best thing you can do is to recognize it,

    apologize, and make a game plan for avoiding it in the future.

    o Don't let one wrong turn make you think you don't have what it takes to

    achieve your dreams. Maybe you weren't a great boyfriend and your last

    relationship ended in failure. This doesn't mean you're not capable of turning

    your act around and finding love in the future.



    Avoid perfectionism. Perfectionism paralyzes you and keeps you from

    accomplishing your goals. If you feel like everything has to be done perfectly, then

    you'll never be truly happy with yourself or your circumstances.[18] Instead, work on

    learning to be proud of a job well done instead of wanting everything to be absolutely

    perfect. If you're in the mindset of a perfectionist, then you'll only be getting in the

    way of a more confident version of yourself.



    Practice gratitude. Often at the root of insecurity and lack of confidence is a feeling

    of not having enough of something, whether it's emotional validation, material items,

    good luck, or money. By acknowledging and appreciating what you do have, you can

    combat the feeling of being incomplete and dissatisfied. Finding the inner peace that

  • accompanies true gratitude[19] will do wonders for your confidence. Take some time

    to sit and think about all of the things you have going for you, from your wonderful

    friends to your health.

    o Sit down and make a gratitude list, writing down all of the things you are

    thankful for. Read it over and add to it at least once a week, and it will put you

    in a more positive, empowering frame of mind.

    Part 3 of 4: Practicing Self-Care

    1. 1

    Take care of yourself. There are many small steps to this one action. It involves

    maintaining your personal grooming by bathing regularly, brushing and flossing your

    teeth, and eating tasty and healthy food. It also means making time for yourself, even

    when you are very busy and when others monopolize much of your time.[20]

    o It may not seem this way, but when you take care of your basic needs, you are

    telling yourself you deserve the time and attention it takes to practice self care.

    o When you begin to believe in yourself, you are on the way to increasing your

    self-confidence. [21]



    Put care into your appearance. You don't have to look like Brad Pitt to start

    building your self confidence. If you want to feel better about who you are and how

    you look, then take care of yourself by showering daily, brushing your teeth, wearing

    clothes that fit you and your body type, and making sure that you've taken time with

    your appearance. This doesn't mean that superficial looks or style will make you feel

    more confident, but making an effort to mind your looks tells yourself that you're

    worth caring about.

    3. 3

    Exercise regularly. [22] Part of taking care of yourself is getting exercise. For you,

    this may mean a brisk walk outside. For someone else, it may mean a 50 mile bike

    ride. Start where you are now. Exercise does not have to be complicated.

    o Many studies have shown that exercise is essential to a positive outlook on

    life, [23] and a positive attitude contributes to self-confidence. [24]

    4. 4

    Sleep well. Getting 7-9 hours of sound sleep every night can help you look and feel

    better. It can help you have a more positive attitude and more energy. Plenty of sleep

    also helps you moderate your emotions and deal with stress more effectively. [25]

    Part 4 of 4: Setting Goals and Taking Risks

    1. 1

  • Set small and achievable goals. [26] Often, people set unrealistic or unattainable

    goals, and either become overwhelmed with the challenge or never get started.[27] This

    is a real damper for self-confidence.

    o Gradually adjust your small goals to make the larger goal achievable.

    o Imagine you wish to run a marathon, but are worried you would not be able to

    achieve this goal. Do not go out and try to run 26 miles on the first day of

    training. Begin where you are. If you are not a runner at all, set a goal to run

    just 1 mile. If you can run 5 miles relatively easily, then begin with 6.

    o For example, if you have a messy desk, perhaps it is too overwhelming to

    think about cleaning the entire desk. Begin by just removing the books and

    placing them back on the bookshelf. Even stacking the papers neatly to be

    sorted through later is movement toward the goal of cleaning your desk.



    Embrace the unknown. People who lack self-confidence worry that they'll never

    succeed in an unpredictable situation. Well, it's time to stop doubting yourself and to

    try something completely new, unknown, and different. Whether you're traveling to a

    new country with friends or letting your cousin set you up on a date, making a habit of

    embracing the unknown can help you become more comfortable in your own skin and

    to feel like you're in control of your destiny or, rather, that you're okay with not being in control. If you find that you're able to succeed even in a situation you didn't

    anticipate, then your confidence will go through the roof.

    o Spend more time with people who are adventurous and spontaneous. You'll

    soon find yourself doing something unexpected and feeling better about

    yourself because of it.


    Address your perceived weaknesses. There may be some things that you don't like

    about yourself that you simply cannot change, such as your height or the texture of

    your hair. However, there are likely many things that you view as weaknesses that

    you can address with a bit of dedication and hard work.

    o Whether you want to work on being more social or being better in school, you

    can make a plan to succeed and begin to carry it out. While you may not end

    up being the most social kid in school or your class valedictorian, you can go a

    long way in building your self-confidence just by making a plan to start

    changing for the better.

    o Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't try to change absolutely everything. Start

    with just one or two aspects of yourself that you would like to change, and

    take it from there.

    o Keeping a journal where you chart your progress in achieving your goals can

    make a big difference. This will help you think about how well your plan is

    working, and it can help you feel pride in the steps you have taken.


  • Seek to help others. When you know you're kind to the people around you, and are

    making a positive difference in other people's lives (even if it's just being kinder to the

    person who serves you coffee in the morning), you'll know that you are a positive

    force in the world which will boost your self confidence. Find a way to make helping others a part of your weekly routine, whether you volunteer at your local

    library or you help your little sister learn to read. The act of helping will not only

    benefit others, but it will build your confidence because you'll see that you have a lot

    to offer.

    o You don't have to help someone in your community to feel the benefits of

    helping others. Sometimes, someone close to you, such as your mother or your

    best friend, will need your help as much as anyone.