“It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.”
– Mark Twain in Eruption
Self confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling paralyzed by fear.
Many factors affect “self-confidence” that are beyond your control but there are a number of things we an do consciously – to build self-confidence.
- Dress Sharp
Although clothes don’t make the (man) in this case the woman, they certainly affect the way we feel about ourselves. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage by taking care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made, outside of the obvious of bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean, untattered clothing, and being cognizant of the latest styles.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on clothes, or become a cookie-cutter fashionista. One great rule to follow is “spend twice as much, buy half as much” – To spend a little more for a few pieces will not only minimize some of the clutter in your closet but higher quality continues to wears better, over a longer period of time. Plus you send the message – to yourself, that you’re worth it!
- Walk Tall
One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? tired? painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self confidence by putting some “pep in your step.” Walking 25% faster will make to you look and more importantly feel more confident.
- Good Posture
Similarly, the way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You’ll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.
- a Personal Commercial – a positive internal dialogue.
One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker are few and far between. You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial. Write a 30-60 second speech that highlights your strengths and goals. Then recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost. Create an internal (positive) dialogue.
When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can’t have it. It can lead you to dwell on your weaknesses. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to mentally list everything you have to be grateful for. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive momentum. You’ll be amazed how much you have going for you and motivated to take that next step towards success.
- Compliment other people
When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you’ll attract positive energy – build self-confidence By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.
- Sit in the front row
In schools, offices, and public assemblies, and around the world, people are usually content to sit in the back of the room. Most people prefer the back, it is a non-engaging choice, in some cases because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self confidence. By deciding to sit in the front row, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self confidence. You’ll also be more visible to the speaker in the front of the room.
- Speak up
During group discussions many people never speak up, afraid of judgement, and ridicule for saying something stupid. This fear isn’t really justified. Generally, people are much more accepting than we imagine. In fact most people are dealing with the exact same fears. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you’ll become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts, and recognized as a leader by your peers. Leadership is example – not a title. And curiosity gains us knowledge.
Along the same lines as personal appearance, physical fitness has a huge effect on self confidence. If you’re out of shape, you’ll feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By working out, you activate your endorphins, raising your energy level, you improve your physical appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, it creates positive momentum that you can build on throughout the rest of your day.
- Focus on contribution
Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you’re more apt to be less concerned with your flaws – inadequacies. Increasing your self-confidence and allow you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world, the more you’ll be rewarded with personal success and recognition.
- Identify your negative thoughts
Your negative thoughts might sound like this: “I can’t do that,” “I will surely fail”, “no one wants to hear what I have to say.” This inner voice is pessimistic and unhelpful and will hold you back from achieving high self-esteem and greater self-confidence. If you chose to give more “brain-space” to the positive thoughts, and counter your negative self-thinking with positive, eventually it becomes more natural.
- Maintain a positive support network
Connect with those close to you, whether they are family or friends, to keep your perspective uplifted. Furthermore, limit your time with people, places or things that just generally make you feel bad.
- As you cultivate your own positive attitude and take steps to achieve your goals – naysayers may become more evident. As much as possible, limit your contact with them.
- Take some time to think about the people in your life – consider spending more time with those who are supportive and uplifting.
- Eliminate reminders of your negativity
Avoid spending time around things that can make you feel bad about yourself again. These might be reminders from the past, clothing that no longer fits, or places that don’t fit with your new goals, your quest of gaining confidence. Though you may not be able to get rid of every negative source in your life, you can certainly think about how to cut your losses. This will go a long way in building your self-confidence.
- Identify your talents
Everyone is good at something, so discover the things at which you excel, and then focus on your talents. Give yourself permission to take pride in them. Express yourself, whether it’s through art, music, writing, or dance. Find something you enjoy and cultivate a talent to go with your interest. Celebrating your own talents, eliminates comparison! And by actively participating in the things you love and are of interest to you – it provides the opportunity to develop new and healthy relationships.
- Take pride in yourself
Not only should you feel proud of your talents or your skills, but you should also think about the things that make your personality great. It can be your sense of humor, your sense of compassion, your listening skills, or your ability to cope under stress. You may not think that there’s anything about your personality worth admiring, look again, and continue to look – you’ll realize that you have plenty of admirable qualities. Focus and concentrate on what you find! Following your passion, not only will it have a therapeutic effect, but will give you such a sense of accomplishment.
- Accept compliments with grace
Many people with low self-esteem have difficulty taking compliments; they assume that the person complimenting them is either mistaken or lying. If you find yourself responding to a compliment by rolling your eyes, saying, “Yeah, right,” or shrugging it off, you should reframe your response to compliments.
- Take it to heart and respond positively, “thank you” is the most gracious way to receive a compliment. And it lets the person who is giving the compliment know that you appreciate it. Work to reach the point where you are able to truly accept the compliment at heart.
- Be comfortable with fear
You may think that people who are self-confident are never fearful. This simply is not true. Fear means you are at your growing edge. Perhaps your fear is speaking in front of a group, introducing yourself to someone you don’t know, or asking your boss for a raise.
- When you are able to confront what you fear, you will gain self-confidence and you will feel the boost immediately!
- Fear is nothing more then an obstacle that stands in the way of progress. In overcoming our fears, we can move forward, stronger, wiser and more confident – within ourselves.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela