Many people suffer from low self-esteem. This might have a number of causes including childhood experiences, poor health, losing a job, getting divorced or perhaps a general feeling of having lost control of life. In some cases, these events can result in mental health issues, but with all problems that individuals face, the first and most important step is to recognize the problem. If you do suffer from a lack of confidence, identifying that as the problem will set you on the road to a solution.
Self-confidence is an elusive characteristic and many people seek it through reading articles, inspirational blogs and self-help books. It is very tempting to believe that simply by reading up about self-confidence will somehow give you the confidence you seek.
There is good, helpful advice available, but reaching it can involve trawling through a lot of dross. It is hard to ignore the misguided and delusional material that floods the self-help market.
How does increased self-confidence help you? If you are basically a nice person, who goes through life not upsetting anyone else, trying to get by without drawing too much attention to yourself and endeavoring to please everyone, then increasing your self-confidence will change you. It will likely make you a better person.
This new better person will be feeling both competent and confident in stressful situations. They will seek fresh opportunities and push out of their comfort zone in search of new challenges. A better person can express their views without fear, speaking calmly and knowledgeably, yet diplomatically, about a variety of topics. The new you will put their own needs ahead of others, especially when developing your life. As a better, more satisfied, more successful person, you will in turn improve the lives of those around you. Lastly, you won’t have to be jealous of anyone else. When you are happy with who you are and with your place in the world, you won’t wish to be another person.
Before moving on, however, you do need to consider one of the main factors that stop people with low self-esteem from making progress towards greater self-confidence. That factor is stress.
Stress is a killer. It can arise from many causes. Financial worry, bereavement, work worries, and family disagreements are just a few. How an individual deal with stress will depend on the type of person they are. Those who have a positive approach to life will be better able to cope with stress. Their ‘can do’ attitude will lead them to take action to diffuse a stressful situation. The positive thinker will put a stressful event into its proper context and are more likely to talk the problem through.
Signs of stress should never be ignored. Lack of concentration, resentment, anxiety, poor sleep patterns, physical tension, and being inconsiderate are just some signs.
Stress symptoms can be reduced in a number of ways. Meditation, massage, listening to music, meeting friends, strenuous exercise and reading all can help in combatting stress.
Here are 9 ways of building your confidence in order to build a new, better you.
1. Know your dream
It is important to have reason to get up in the morning. Your life needs a purpose. The first step to greater self-confidence is identifying that purpose – your reason for getting on with life.
A good way to do this is to write a paragraph or maybe two that outlines where you want to be if, say, a fairy godmother happens along and grants you a wish to change your life. Be honest, and include what you want to be doing, how you would like to be seen by other people, and what you want to able to view yourself. Make the description of your ideal life as detailed as you can and use positive language.
It will also help to add to the short paragraph two lists. The first list should be devoted to your strengths. Many people who suffer from low self-esteem often feel they have no strengths. Think hard before dismissing yourself in this way. We all have strengths. What skills do you have, however unusual? Can you swim? Can you speak a foreign language? What about drawing, cooking, writing, or crafting? You will have skills!
The second list should comprise of your achievements. Again, you will have achievements. We all do. Just learning to ride a bicycle, to draw, to sew, to cook, are achievements. Did you win a cup at a swimming gala? Or a school prize for a poem you wrote? Do you have a degree? These are all achievements and you must write them all down.
Keep your lists along with your inspirational paragraph close by your bed and re-read them before going to sleep or after waking in the morning. It is important to remind yourself how good you are.
These lists and notes will help you realize that you are special and feeling good about yourself is just fine. Avoid negative thoughts. They will only do you harm. Be positive about yourself, and your confidence will soon begin to grow.
2. Write down your goals and how to achieve them
When you write down your goals in life, you must also include a means of achieving that goal. You will be laying down the road you will follow to that goal. An example might be that you want to seek a promotion. Your goal must then include studying for the qualification that will lead to that promotion.
Keep your goals under your control. Remember that luck does not play a part in you achieving your goals. What is often perceived as luck is the result of a string of decisions made over a period of time. Luck can be bad as well as good, so make sure it is not a factor in your life. Keep everything you do towards achieving your goals under your control.
3. Only read self-help books written by genuinely successful people
There are plenty of self-help books written by people who have not really tasted success. What they write is not based on experience.
Choose a book written by a successful person, and you will be getting the benefit of first-hand experience. There are an increasing number of billionaires who write their memoirs – and indeed some who write self-help books too – and you will gain more from those books than those based just on theory.
4. Managing your frame of mind
You will already have recognized lack of confidence as the problem you need to solve. A good start is to take action that will make you feel good about yourself.
Personal hygiene is important. Make sure you take a shower each day, keep your hair tidy and clean your teeth. This may sound basic stuff but often those with low self-esteem just don’t bother to look after themselves. Now is the time to bother about hygiene. You will feel better about yourself if you present the world a clean, well-groomed individual.
Keep your clothes clean, and try to avoid wearing grubby, crumpled clothes. Just as an example, military personnel always wear clean uniform, and look well-groomed, and so feel confident that they can do their job properly.
Make sure that you eat properly. A balanced, healthy diet will help you feel physically well. Exercise regularly. There are very many exercise regimes you can follow, but sometimes a simple routine is best. Take a walk each day, regardless of the weather. Try to fit in some tougher exercise three times in a week.
Sleep is vital to help you feel good about yourself. Waking up refreshed enables you to face the day positively. Eating properly and doing some exercise will help you sleep better.
Make your home an attractive space to come home to at the end of the day. Make sure it is clean and comfortable. Doing the jobs that make your home a better place to live will boost your feeling of love for yourself.
Having followed the tips to make you feel better about yourself, you are now ready to face the world. You will now be able to approach any new situations in a receptive mind frame. If a new situation involves meeting a number of new people, approach it in a confident, sociable way. You will have to talk to these new people, so expect to be part of a conversation.
If you have to switch from one situation to another, quite different one, approach it gradually. Take your time to put the first activity out of your mind for the time being, and bring your thoughts around to the new situation. Some people do this by having a coffee and maybe a bit of small talk with colleagues, just to get into the mood for conversation.
5. Balancing action with learning and mentoring
Action builds confidence. Learning through reading tends to be a passive activity, and while it has a place in building confidence, action is a better way. It is generally accepted that for each hour spent reading, two more should be spent being mentored or coached and seven should be devoted to practicing or active participation.
Action leads to tangible results and the boost to your confidence will be the positive result.
6. Talk to strangers
For many people, going up to someone they do not know and speaking to them is a really scary thing to do. If you are at a meeting or conference where there are people you don’t know, make a point of approaching one and opening a conversation. Do this a few times, and your fear of talking to strangers will gradually disappear.
7. Try new things often
Being in a boring routine can be incredibly confidence-sapping. Every now and then break out of the routine and try something new. Don’t just limit this to going somewhere different on holiday, although that is good. Try to find an activity where you can learn a skill.
The opportunities are legion. Learn a craft, a sport, or go to a dance class. Learn a language or to play a musical instrument. It is never too late to learn something new. And the great thing is that as you become better and more skilled at your new activity, so your confidence will grow. Confidence in one area of your life will leak into other areas and help you become generally a more confident person.
Make sure to do things that you enjoy. Aim to do at least one enjoyable activity each day. Maybe it’s a simple pleasure like having a special desert, or perhaps you might go to the theatre or an open-air concert. Don’t let life become burdensome and letting your hair down occasionally will make you feel good about yourself.
8. Seek the company of successful people
All around you are people who are not motivated to achieve much. They will often feel there is no point in doing things. Also, there will be those who see life differently and take a ‘can do’ attitude.
Try to create a circle of friends and acquaintances that are ‘can do’ types. You can bask in their confidence until you have built your own up to an untouchable level.
Remember that success breeds success so these successful people will go on to greater success, and that is something you can emulate.
Avoid wherever possible people or places that make you feel anxious or negative. You might have to assert yourself when any decisions are being made and insist that some places are avoided, or some people let down. For example, if your family are planning a trip to a place which has bad memories for you, don’t be afraid to say so. Your new-found confidence will allow you to explain why you would rather go somewhere else.
9. Try not to care what others think about you
The only expectations you should have are those you have for yourself. By endeavouring to live up to them you will achieve much more than trying to live up to the expectations of others.
Competing with others is a great motivator, but you must learn to ignore what your competitors say about you. The only important thing is what you believe about yourself.
Now you have read these tips, don’t just sit back and do nothing. Go out and take some action towards achieving your goals and dreams.