Self-confidence isn’t always easy to come by. When building your self-confidence, it’s important to develop good habits that make you feel positive about yourself. Being self-confident is a mindset, and it’s about believing in your skills and capabilities. When you value these, your confidence grows. And when your life has a clear direction and purpose, you have greater strength to achieve your goals.
To build self-confidence, recognize what you’ve already achieved, talk yourself up, and focus on the things you know you’re good at. When you learn to love yourself and trust your abilities, you’ll develop high self-esteem.
What Self-Confidence Looks Like
Self-confidence is more than just how we feel about ourselves – it directly impacts how we behave in our relationships, our jobs, and our day-to-day lives. To be confident is to trust in your abilities and believe in your worth. People with high self-confidence:
- Seek feedback (both positive and negative). Nobody gains confidence by seeking only positive feedback. Instead, ask for honest, constructive criticism from people you trust.
- Come prepared. Self-assured people don’t leave much up to chance. By taking measures to train, prepare, study, or rehearse, knowing what you’re doing becomes second nature.
- Stay calm under pressure. Confidence doesn’t come from always knowing all the answers but from knowing that even if you don’t have the right answer, you can figure something out and learn along the way.
Eight Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence
1. Be conscious of body language
Nonverbal communication is arguably just as important as what you say out loud. Eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, and even movements like crossing your arms can tell others how you feel at any given moment. Hold yourself confidently (even if you have to “fake it till you make it”), to show others that you feel good about yourself. Stand up straight, meet others’ gaze, give firm handshakes, and speak clearly.
2. Practice affirmations
Affirmations are positive, encouraging statements that remind you of goals you wish to achieve and that you’re on the path to success. Working toward a goal can be hard, and setting a new affirmation every 30 days can be a great way to acknowledge how the support and encouragement you need will shift over time. To build self-confidence, try repeating this statement to yourself daily: “I am capable. I am confident. I can do this.”
Smiling can trick your brain into happiness, and happier people are more confident. This isn’t to say that plastering a smile on your face when you’re having a bad day will automatically turn things around. Instead, smiling and then saying affirmations like those mentioned above will train your body and mind to move through tough days with more strength and resilience as well as confidence.
4. Step outside your comfort zone
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane day-to-day tasks that are part of our routines. But improving self-confidence takes time, which means that we have to look beyond our known strengths, things that are familiar, and our oh-so-comfy comfort zones. This doesn’t have to mean leaving everything you know behind, quitting your job, or dyeing your hair. It can be as simple as striking up a conversation with someone in the same aisle at the grocery store or trying a new food. Achieving small victories will help you believe you can achieve large ones, too.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
We love to compare ourselves to other people. These comparisons serve as inspiration and encourage personal development, but they can also leave you feeling inadequate. Everyone has a different journey in life that’s filled with twists and turns other people often don’t take into account, especially when looking at social media that shows only a fraction of someone’s world. Comparison is the thief of joy; learning to love the life and abilities you do have ‒ and accepting that your path will look different from someone else’s ‒ will lead to boosted self-confidence.
6. Take care of your body
Exercise offers both physical and emotional benefits. Working out can help you lose weight, build muscle, and increase your life span. It can also improve your mental health: Exercise is known to raise serotonin levels, which helps your brain regulate your mood. It also sparks the release of endorphins, hormones that promote feelings of happiness, well-being, and confidence.
7. Be nice to yourself
To overcome feelings of low self-confidence, shift your perspective and think about yourself as a friend. You wouldn’t speak poorly of a close friend, so why would you speak that way about yourself? Treat yourself how you want others to treat you. When you’re kind to yourself and practice positivity, any negative internal dialogue can be reprogrammed.
8. Surround yourself with positive energy
The people you surround yourself with influence how you feel about yourself. If they’re constantly putting themselves – or you – down, you’re likely to mirror their feelings. This is called emotional mirroring. Sharing issues with and leaning on others for support is one thing, but dragging others down to your emotional level is quite another. If you find yourself surrounded by friends and family who don’t believe in themselves, you may find yourself lacking confidence as well. Find a community that lifts you up and makes you feel like the best version of yourself!
The Bottom Line
Cultivating confidence won’t happen overnight. Like any change you’re seeking, becoming more self-assured takes time. Self-confidence is about more than just feeling good about yourself ‒ it also means believing you deserve love; valuing your thoughts, feelings, and goals; and trusting in your abilities.
Having confidence not only impacts how you feel about and treat yourself; it can also play a role in how you allow others to treat you. If you’re looking to improve your confidence, working with a mental health professional, life coach, or Health Coach can get you on the track to improved self-confidence.