Before diving into some tips, let’s establish what self-confidence is. Simply put, it’s your perception of YOU – what you think and how you feel about the constellation of talents, skills, abilities, experiences, personality, etc. that are uniquely you. It includes a positive view of self, neither exaggerated or deflated, and a feeling of trust in yourself. It’s certainly not an all or nothing way of being. Most, if not all, of us have times and/or situations when we feel more self-confident than others for a variety of reasons, both external and internal.
When self-doubt creeps in, you’re second guessing yourself, you feel inferior, you notice you’re especially sensitive to criticism, imposter syndrome is holding you hostage, or you find yourself in a state where you feel disempowered, deflated, down or just want to hop in a crock pot and pull the lid over to simmer, here are 10 suggestions to help you flip the script, and lift yourself up and forward.
- Challenge Negative Self-Talk
What are the negative messages looping in your head? I’m not smart enough. I’m not capable. I’m not lovable. I’m so dumb for making that decision. Who do I think I am going after this goal? I can’t do that. I’m just not enough. Whatever the message, challenge it. Is it yours, or does it belong to someone else? Follow the breadcrumbs of that message, and you’ll probably find it originated with someone else, and you’ve claimed and now carry it. Challenge it. Is it true? And even if you decide, for whatever reason, to conclude it is true, realize that it is NOT always true. Practice positive self-talk instead.
- Snip the Perfectionism Cord
Trying to be perfect results in a direct hit to our confidence. First of all, no one is perfect. Strive for excellence instead. Do your best and let it go. Be kind and gentle with yourself when you make a mistake; isn’t that how we respond to others? You’re just as worthy of compassion. Haven’t you found that there’s gold hidden in those mistakes? When you lay out lessons learned when hitting the mark versus when you miss it, there’s no comparison. Reframe the mistake as a great opportunity to learn and grow versus a chance to spotlight your flaws.
- Save Some Yeses For You
Sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed and drained because we give away our YESES too freely. Years ago, I heard someone explain it this way. We have so many yeses in a given day, if we give all of our yeses away to others over the course of the day we have none left for ourselves. Are you a YES person? When you say YES to something or someone, what or who are you saying NO to? If the one on the short end of the YES stick is you, remember, save some YESES for yourself.
- Let the Comparisons Go
Comparisons can wreak havoc on our self-image. Recall the statement above about the constellation of talents, skills, abilities, experiences, personality, etc., that make up you. Comparing ourselves to others when we’re each clearly unique just doesn’t add up. Yes, we’re steeped in a cultural environment that coaxes us to compare ourselves to others on a daily basis. Social media is notorious for this. As you scroll through Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, or some other social media platform, all you see are opportunities to compare your outer and inner life to someone else’s “posted” outer life, all fancy, exciting, and in living color. Really give serious consideration to the futility of comparing yourself to others and let the comparisons go. Instead, compare yourself to the next best version of yourself.
- Stretch Yourself a Bit
Building self-confidence is like building muscle. Every time we achieve a goal, especially one that stretches us a bit, it feels amazing, and gives us a confidence boost. Where do you need to build your self-confidence? Identify a small goal that challenges you. Perhaps you’d like to improve as a speaker, exercise more, expand your professional network, go to bed earlier, read more; wherever you identify an opportunity to learn and/or grow, set a small goal and achieve it. It’s not about the size, it’s about the transformative power of making it happen.
- Play What Am I Great At
When was the last time you sat down to review your accomplishments, your achievements – both large and small? Here’s a fun and simple way to get started. Get some sticky notes, a pen/pencil, and a whiteboard, or find a wall to stick them on. Now, write down as many of your accomplishments as you can. No matter how small. If you accomplished it, jot it down on a sticky note and proudly slap it on that whiteboard or wall. Start from when you were a kiddie pop, move through your teens and into adulthood, and don’t leave any period out; if it mattered to you and made you feel good, great, and confident, it’s fair game to post. You’ll be surprised what a boost this exercise can be to how you see yourself. Have fun with this! Take this a step further by taking a pic of your sticky note on a whiteboard or wall for a visual reference. Refer to it when doubt and fear show up and you feel unsure of yourself. It’ll make you smile!
- Take Good Care of Yourself
Improving our quality of life makes us feel better and can be a big ‘ol self-confidence boost – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Whenever we eat well, get our ideal amount of sleep, move our bodies in ways that we enjoy, learn new things, express ourselves and own our power in healthy ways, and nurture our spirit, it’s a good thing. Take a quick assessment and identify where you can make some small improvements in one or more of these areas. You’re worth it!
- Get Curious
I don’t know about you, but learning something new and expanding my knowledge on a subject of interest makes me feel great. What are you curious about? Take some time to read a book on that subject or listen to an audiobook. Do a little research online. Visit a place of interest. When our knowledge grows, so does our self-confidence. Make a list of people, places, and/or things that spark your curiosity, find interesting, and get busy exploring.
- Shift Your Focus
If you find yourself often focusing on what’s going wrong, shift your focus to what’s going right. Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re loitering in the negativity aisle. For one week, challenge yourself to pay closer attention to the lenses through which you see the world and the language you use. A small shift in focus can make a big difference.
- Adopt a Gratitude Attitude
Similar to a shift in focus, adopting a gratitude attitude can make us feel so much better. There are SO many things to be grateful for if we just pay attention. Try jotting down what you’re grateful for at the end of each day for a week and checking in to see how you feel. A gratitude attitude is a quick way to change your perspective.
Ultimately, self-acceptance is the best antidote to a lack of self-confidence. What is self-acceptance? Merriam-Webster defines it as, “the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations.” And let’s add, fully embracing them. It takes practice and it must be unconditional. Start by exploring your inner voice – “what you really think, feel, know, sense and want, including what you’re unconscious of” according to Helene G. Brenner, Ph.D., psychologist and author of I Know I’m In There Somewhere. Ease up on being so critical of yourself, and practice mindfulness and being compassionate. Self-acceptance really is the best gift you can give yourself!
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”Brené Brown
Looking for additional suggestions and a little support on your self-acceptance journey, sign up for a complimentary consultation. The time to be who you want to be, contribute what you want to contribute, and have what you want to have is now. A coaching partnership is a great place to start.