The Importance Of Self-Confidence And Tips For Improving It

Confidence, Life Coaching, Mindset & Mindfulness
09/26/22 - Natalia Tamburini
woman smiling waving at computer

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It’s pretty common that most of us feel pretty confident when we do something well, or get positive feedback, or someone else approves of what we have done. But what about the times that we’re not feeling so hot, or we make a mistake, or when we do well, and everyone compliments us, and we still feel like an imposter?

Those moments call for tapping into self-compassion to increase your self-confidence and develop a deeper level of high self-esteem. Before we dive into the how, let’s get clear on some of the terms we’re going to be talking about. 

A Three-Piece Band

Self-Confidence is your belief in yourself and your abilities. This can change depending on the situation. It’s normal to feel quite confident in some circumstances and less confident in others.

Self-Esteem refers to whether you appreciate and value yourself. Your self-esteem develops and changes as a result of your life experiences and interactions with other people.

Self-Compassion: Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings or challenges.

While these three terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually are more like three members of a band, building on each other and creating a certain type of harmony. When one of them is off, the rest can’t quite fall into rhythm either. But when we take the time and care to fine-tune one, it encourages the others to follow the beat 🙂 

Today, we’ll focus on a few simple tips to tap into self-compassion in your day-to-day life so you can start to see your self-confidence grow and start to build a deep-rooted sense of self-esteem. 

  1. Treat Yourself as You Would a Friend

Imagine if a friend called you before a big presentation or interview for a job, and you spoke to them the way you speak to yourself. “Oh, you’re nervous? Well, you’re probably going to fall flat on your face anyways, and everyone will think you’re a phony. You’re definitely not good enough to do this” Can you imagine ever saying this out loud to someone you love? No way! 

Next time that your self-confidence needs a little bump, show up with kindness and love. What would you actually say to a friend? Maybe it’d be something like: You’re going to do great, I heard you practice – you got this! Or, Oof, I feel you! Interviews are always nerve-wracking. Want to go to a yoga class in the morning to get grounded?

This may seem simple, and it’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this, but if you’re not your own best friend, then who are you to yourself? Increasing your self-confidence is a lot like flexing a muscle, and the more practice we have in speaking kindly to ourselves, showing up in moments that feel scary, and proving to ourselves that we will be okay, self-confidence follows suit. 

  1. Zoom Out and Focus on Others

Whenever something happens that causes our confidence to take a hit: some constructive criticism at work, a social faux paux, or a rejection email from a job opportunity – we tend to zoom in and focus on everything that is wrong with us. The invitation here is to shift the focus from you and your narratives to others and your community. 

This isn’t a “get over yourself” type of thing, but rather it’s actively creating space in between your experience and its importance while also connecting with your community and making an impact. 

This can look like volunteering to pick up trash, doing a grocery run for an elderly neighbor, watching your sister’s kids for free, or paying for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-through. 

When we start to focus on what’s around us, we notice that our value is much deeper than a job title, some positive feedback, or a raise. The magic of being human really exists in our relationships to each other, and in nurturing those we can start to take our insecurities a little less personally and move with more ease and a sense of connection. 

  1. Use Mindfulness to Reap the Benefits of Comparison

I know what you’re thinking… You want me to compare myself to others?! Nope, not quite. But I do know that naturally, you probably will. And it’s not always bad. Comparative thinking plays an ever-present role in person perception and social cognition. In other words, to compare is to be human. 

Bringing mindfulness into this is the key to turning it from a vicious cycle of negative thinking to positive and motivating observations. Usually, when we see or think of a person that “has the life that we want”, we see it as very all-or-nothing, they have it, we don’t. That mindset makes any path towards growth very challenging. Besides, we usually don’t really ask ourselves what is “it” and why do I want it?

Cue mindfulness. The next time you see someone or something that makes you feel not good enough, go through these questions to check in:

  1. What is “it” that they have that I want? Be specific here, you can’t say “they have a perfect life”
  2. What do I believe would be better/different about my life if I had that?
  3. What are some current obstacles that keep me from having that?
  4. What part do I play in not having that? How am I getting in my way?

Once you’ve slowed down and assessed the comparison by breaking it down, take a deep breath. Then another one. 

Now, ask yourself one more question: What is one thing I could do today to get a tiny bit closer to feeling the way I want to feel if I had that thing in my life? Bonus point if you can think of something to stop doing 😉

Most of the time, we think only the one thing that we’re missing will give us everything we need, but it turns out that small tweaks and shifts (especially in our mindset) are much more motivating when it comes to achieving our goals and growing our confidence. Moving slowly is better than not starting at all. 

Wrapping Up

Self-confidence is a muscle, one that most of us don’t flex very often. I hope these tips give you some guidance on how to start strengthening your self-confidence muscle through self-compassion so you can slowly but surely grow your self-esteem. If you’re feeling stuck, book a consultation with our life coaches and learn how we can support you in letting go of limiting beliefs and boosting your self-confidence one step at a time.

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