We all want to be confident. But what we don’t realize that people we know that are confident did not become confident overnight or were born confident. They are confident because they have gone through certain experiences that helped them build up their confidence level little by little.
Your comfort zone keeps expanding every time you get out of your comfort zone.
- Mo Seetubtim
Some people were lucky enough to grow up with parents who give them the opportunity to or help them build their self-confidence. Some of us have to go through periods of confidence building ourselves as we become teenagers or early adults.
No matter what quality we want to have, we have to adopt it, embrace it, and live it until it becomes a part of our character. So if you’d like to become a more confident person, I’d like to encourage you to set goals and follow through with them. Use the steps below as a guide to help you build confidence from within that is hard to break and is only going to get stronger as time goes on.
1. Identify where you are and where you want to be.
The first step to achieving any goal is to decide that you’re going to change.
Setting goals helps you turn the intangible (your thoughts, imagination, dreams, and wishes) into something tangible (measurable sets of actions).
If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got.
- Albert Eintein
Then answer the below questions:
- What will having more confidence help you achieve? Why do you want to be more confident?
Identifying the reason and the motive behind any goals set can help you feel more motivated and assured of your action. Ask yourself this question ‘Why’ and write them all down.
- What is your current confidence level? Where do you want your confidence level to be over the next 12 months?
If you rate your current confidence level from the scale of 1-10, where would it be? And how confident do you want to see yourself become in a year’s time, 3 years’ time, or 5 years’ time?
- What's holding you back from building the confidence you wish to have?
So what has been holding you back so far from achieving the confidence goals you want? Is it time? Is it fear? Is it a belief? Is it a mindset? Is it someone in your life who keeps belittling you and adds to your own self-doubt? By identifying this, you will be able to remove the block or the obstacle more effectively.
- What are you currently confident in? Think about your abilities and past achievements. What can you jump right in and do without hesitation and with pride?
Recognizing our own abilities, talents, and strengths can elevate our level of confidence. If you could feel confident in one area of life, why can’t you feel confident in another area of life too? The process can be replicated and it starts with setting goals, building willpower, and fake it until you make it!
- What are you not confident in? What gives you anxiety? What are you scared of doing? What makes you nervous just thinking about doing it?
Now, after recognizing your amazing-ness, now it’s time to think about what makes you anxious - the areas we feel least confident in! These are the areas that can be improved. These are the areas we should try to push ourselves out of our comfort zone.
- What else would you like to be confident in doing?
Set goals, deadlines, and action plans of how you're going to build your confidence in those things.
2. Build self-esteem based on who you truly are.
We cannot build strong lasting self-esteem based on something external - whether it be things or someone else in our lives. Surely, we can use material possessions as something that shows how hard we have worked - that represents our inner quality to the outer world. However, if we gain our self-esteem by deliberately purchasing items people admire, the self-esteem gained from this isn’t going to last. You will have to run from one thing to another and it can get very tiring at the end of the day. Plus, if you’re not careful, it can make you feel very empty inside.
And if your self-esteem is based on your relationship with someone else where you find yourself in a codependent relationship, this is definitely not healthy. In order to fix this, you have to start by looking within yourself and re-building up your self-esteem from the root and the core. This might involve looking into your childhood and past experiences and see what might have been missing and then find ways to fulfill them in a healthy, constructive way.
- Discover yourself and appreciate good things about you.
It’s hard to build our self-esteem and our confidence from within without knowing who we truly are. Take some time off to really spend time with yourself. Embrace your solitude. Journal. Write it all out. Look back to your childhood - what you were naturally good at and what used to make your heart sing.
Make a list of things that you’re good at and what you’re proud of about yourself. Make a list of your past achievements and use them as a reminder to reminds yourself of the hard work you put in in order to learn something new and master it and to never give up easily. This also includes building up one’s confidence.
Appreciating yourself doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist. It’s practicing self-love, and self-love is the foundation of everything.
- Accept yourself including your flaws. Be comfortable in your own skin.
We all have flaws. We cannot accept ourselves fully without making peace with our own selves. The number one confidence killer is not being confident in our own skin because this is who we live in - our body is our home. Imperfections make people unique and interesting. Remember that no one is perfect. Those who seem perfect to you might just be better at hiding their weaknesses than others.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.
- Lao Tzu
- Remove labels that may be holding you back.
Society likes to impose on us ‘labels’. Sometimes we can’t help but feel that we’re held back by them. Labels often come with stigma and judgment to a certain extent. Whatever label you feel associated with, if it affects you in a negative way, you need to learn to let go of it. And if you find it hard to let go of the label where you are, then maybe it’s time to move to a new environment. Sometimes a change is needed in order to let go. I know it can be scary to move away from our old environment for the first time, but sometimes experiencing things from different angles, meeting people with completely different ideas of what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s good, and what’s bad can be such an eye-opener and help us realize that what we believe is right, wrong, good, and bad is quite subjective.
3. Identify and build a support system.
A support system is absolutely crucial. In order to achieve great things in life, we need to surround ourselves with people who believe in us. One of the causes of your lack of confidence could be that some significant people in your life do not believe in you. It might sound like a small thing but it is a very big thing and it can make a tremendous effect on how you do everything. Is there someone in your life who does not believe in you? If so, can you minimize contact with them? Can you inspire them to be more positive? Is there anything you can do to make them believe in you more? Try not to let their discouraging words get to you. I know it’s hard and I’ve been there and still have to face it every now and then. Sometimes people project their own inner fear onto you. If they don’t believe you can do something, it could be because they’re battling their own self-doubt.
Some people also have a pattern of not knowing how to say the right thing. These people normally don’t actually mean as bad as what the words that come out of their mouth sound like. They just have a destructive pattern that is hard to break - a pattern they built since little through their own childhood and life experiences. So they’ve probably been living this pattern for over 20, 30, 40, or 50 years now. Unless they truly want to break the pattern, it’s unlikely they’re going to change. So if this is someone significant in your life that you cannot cut ties with, your best bet is to try to not let their bad words get to you. I’ve been there and I still have to remind myself this every single day.
- Surround yourself with positive energy
Now that you’re an adult, you have the right to choose how you live yourself and who to surround yourself with. Energies are contagious. Passion is contagious. So surround yourself with people who live you higher; who inspire you and help you grow.
Psych yourself up with positive self-talk. Read motivational content and quotes. Read stories of people who do what you aspire to do well. I myself have been at a point in my life where I felt all alone and that no one believed in me. I had to be my own cheerleader. My blog was also my emotional outlet. It was hard, but I knew what I ultimately wanted to achieve so I persevered. There are also tools out there for you to use and communities of people who go through the same thing as you. So use them as a place to build support for your own self and meet like-minded people.
4. Build confidence from within. Adopt an attitude of confidence.
- Do things that align with who you are.
When we do things that are not in alignment with who we are, we experience resistance emotionally and physically. We feel stuck, uneasy, unhappy, unfulfilled, and stressed. Your cause of low confidence could stem from this - from not doing things that align with who you truly are. If this is the case, plan to make the change. Once you start doing things that are more in line with your true selves, your confidence level will naturally increase.
- Building confidence is mastery.
Think about the things that you're good at that took a long time for you to master. What are they? How did you learn to master them? How long did it take? Next time when facing a difficult challenge, remind yourself of how you managed to master the thing that you're good at.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
Challenge yourself. Start from small then move to bigger things. Get used to pushing yourself so that you can grow. Facing your own inner fear and anxious emotions will get easier as you keep fighting against them.
- Adopt an attitude of confidence
Remove self-doubt. Get rid of your self-limiting beliefs. Pretend to be confident, over and over, until you actually feel confident. Our brain remembers things and creates patterns. Build a pattern of confidence.
- Practice positive affirmations and visualization.
These practices have been extremely valuable to me. Positive affirmations help me turn negative thoughts, emotions, doubts, and fears into something powerful. When you practice positive affirmations, not only do you tell yourself what you want but you also make a promise to yourself that you will make it happen. When you tell yourself what you want over and over that it goes into your subconscious mind, your life will be directed towards that without you realizing that you’re doing so sometimes. And this is very powerful!
- Set confidence goals to achieve - one goal at a time.
No matter what quality you want to have, you need to build it. If you want to be confident, you need to build confidence - just like building a new habit or adopting a new mindset. Whatever you want to be more confident in, practice it until you're good at it. And if you just want to be a confident person, start by building your self-esteem from within.