I have never come across someone who has told me that they would not want to feel more confident. Some people are better at faking it than others but the truth of the matter is that we all suffer from self doubt and insecurities- every single one of us. Now that we know we are all in the same boat, let’s get started with some great ideas on how to be more confident.
1) Face Your Fears
Yep, this old one. It’s true though. Ten years ago I lived a comfortable life with a partner who paid all the bills and took care of most things. I was studying for my Psychology degree and was largely protected from the stress of life. I was miserable though but my biggest fear was standing on my own two feet. I thought that I would never be able to look after myself. Eventually, it was forced upon me and I had to learn a whole set on new skills:
Driving into the centre of London on my own Â (it was a big deal back then!)
Paying bills and budgeting
Looking back, I can see that I am a different person today and that is due to the fact that I had to find out what I was made of and push out of my comfort zone in a major way. Facing my fears has given me the confidence as I now realise I can look after myself and behave like an adult. If I had stayed in my comfort zone, I would still be miserable, I would have no confidence and I would never have tested myself. Sure, I had many negative things happens and made wrong decisions but they taught me lessons too.
2) Always Talk Kindly to Yourself
Many people are filled with self loathing and constantly berate themselves. Most do it automatically without realising the inner ‘poison’ they are feeding themselves. How are you ever supposed to make anything of yourself if you regularly tell yourself you are useless, worthless, not good enough, not confident enough etc? There is absolutely no useful purpose to this and it’s imperative that you treat yourself as you would a dear friend. Even if it doesn’t feel right at first, constantly reframe negative thoughts. For example: instead of thinking “I will never try that, I would be useless and probably embarrass myself” try something like “I might make mistakes but everyone does, it doesn’t mean I am useless and at least I am trying something new”.
This is just a general example but it gives you an idea…
Imagine someone giving you a parrot as a present. You put the parrot in the corner of the room and every time you say or do anything the parrot criticises you or verbally abuses you. How long would you put up with that? Think of your negative inner talk as a parrot that bashes your confidence – it will have to go.
Easier said than done when it’s your thinking but if you keep at it, you will get into the habit of decreasing negative thinking and increasing positive self talk. This will automatically enhance your confidence.
3) Ignore What Others Think
You will never be able to please everyone else so get stuck in with pleasing yourself. You are, after all, the one that has to live with you and deal with the consequences of your actions. So long as you are not hurting anyone else or doing anything legal, GO AHEAD and do what you want. We are all far too hung up on what others will think. What difference does it make? Even if they judge you negatively, does it really matter? As long as you are leading a good life and not harming anyone, who are they to judge? If you want to wear bright orange pyjamas on your holiday…go for it. It really is empowering when you follow your heart and do your own thing. Resist the urge to conform. It makes you feel alive, inspired and in control.
4) Foster Self Belief
I remember watching a fascinating TV programme a few years ago on the “Mind of a Millionaire” and one of the key characteristics was unwavering self belief. You don’t need permission to believe in yourself. You don’t even need others approval to believe in yourself. All you need to do is make a decision to trust yourself more. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever fail but when you believe in yourself you are far more resilient and life’s knocks may destabilise you but they won’t knock you down completely. Be optimistic and think big. Allow yourself to feel good about you.
5) See Failure as a Learning Curve
Failure is such a gloomy word. The very thought of it stops amazing people in their tracks. It really shouldn’t and here’s why: Attitude to failure is key. Some people are paralysed by the idea of failing as they see themselves as a failure. This is incorrect thinking – and you need to ask yourself what your definition of failure is.
Is failing when you try and don’t succeed? Or is failing to do with never trying at all? Or do you see failing as making a mistake? If that’s the case, give up now because we all make mistakes, and plenty of them. Give yourself some slack and adjust your attitude to failure. I see a failure as one step closer to getting it right! I embrace failure because it means I am learning and trying and that is an essential part of life. It certainly makes for funny stories to tell others. It shows our human side.
Confidence isn’t something that you ‘get’. It is a process whereby you stop beating yourself up for every mistake and stop comparing yourself to others. This will only serve to leave you feeling deprived/inadequate. When we lack confidence we tend to focus on all the characteristics others have that we lack.When we feel more confident we tend to be drawn less to other’s achievements and our lack. Our view is far more balanced.
Confidence is within you, it is not something you can get from outside yourself. Model yourself on confident people. Play the role of an actor if you have to, bring out the confident you…what seems an act will become natural.