Five ways to increase self-confidence
When my two children were younger, they loved balloons. Everywhere we went, if they spotted someone selling them, they would be desperate to buy one. Their eyes would light up as they carried the big, bright balloon around, heads held high and grinning from ear to ear. Sometimes though, the balloon would snag on a branch and pop and, just like the balloon, they would instantly become deflated, upset by the fact that it had gone in a flash.
This is exactly how self-confidence can feel; one day our balloon feels full, our heads are held high, up in the clouds. Then something can come along and knock our self-confidence, making us feel small and deflated. For some of us, getting that balloon filled with air in the first place is really tricky, just like the balloons I often used to get, that for some reason wouldn’t inflate, no matter how hard I tried.
In this blog I share my thoughts about some of the reasons we lack self-confidence and how we can begin to make our internal balloon bigger and brighter.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is defined as ‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment’. People with self-confidence tend to value themselves, demonstrate resilience when faced with challenges and are open to trying new and different things.
Self-confidence is important to our health and psychological well-being. People with self-confidence tend to make decisions which are good for their health, take care of themselves and are active. Their outlook is positive, which has a beneficial impact on their emotional well-being.
Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help you become successful in your personal and professional life. However, many people really struggle with self-confidence. Most of us have areas in our life where we feel more confident about some things than others, and that’s natural. It’s also likely that events will happen that might knock our self-confidence, even if it’s only for a few moments, while we pick ourselves back up and move on. When it starts to affect us more deeply though, it can become detrimental to our overall well-being.
A lack of self-confidence will show up in the way we behave, our body language, and the words we use. We may be detached from others, look small and closed, and have more negative thoughts. Decisions become harder, as we doubt our own judgement, preventing us from getting involved, or trying new activities.
Why we often lack self-confidence
Having a perfectionist ego can be a block to self-confidence. Because there is a need to do everything perfectly, we can avoid giving things a go, or put off starting something new for fear that we won’t do it well enough. Even if we do try things, a lack of confidence is likely to affect our performance, knocking our confidence further and creating a vicious cycle.
The parenting style we experienced when growing up can also affect our level of self-confidence. Having parents who are overly critical or correcting in their approach can make us feel as though we are never good enough. This sometimes results in a need for constant external validation to know we’ve done a good job. We don’t have the confidence in ourselves to know this, so seek out validation from others.
Significant experiences in life can knock our self-confidence. This could be one event, or a period of difficulty we have faced. An extended period of low self-confidence can make it harder to re-inflate our internal balloon.
How to increase self-confidence
1. Use positive affirmations
I find daily positive affirmations to be incredibly helpful. Make a list of 10 positive affirmations about yourself, even if at the time you are struggling to believe they are true. Look at them every day, say them out loud to yourself, feeling what it’s like to be, do and have what you have listed. You can even add new ones as your self-confidence begins to grow.
2. Remember times when you did feel confident
Go back to those times in your mind, experiencing how you felt, what you saw and heard. Breathe how you breathe when you feel confident. The scenario can be in any context, it doesn’t really matter. Doing this each day for a few weeks will help to increase your self-confidence.
3. Notice what comes up when you think about doing something
The doubts, words, or feelings. What, specifically, is causing the lack of self-confidence? Being aware of the causes can help you to work through and overcome them.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
Everyone has different strengths and making comparisons can have a big impact on your self-confidence. Measure your own progress, rather than yourself against others.
5. Do visual rehearsals
Give yourself a confidence boost before events you are fearful about by doing a visual rehearsal. See the event playing out from beginning to end, with everything going as you want it to, achieving what you want from it and feeling good about yourself and the outcome.
Sometimes the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves can prevent us from increasing our self-confidence, just like those tricky balloons I mentioned at the beginning. I work with people who struggle with self-confidence and want to make positive changes in their personal or professional life to improve their overall well-being.
I offer a free confidence kickstart session, enabling you to discuss the challenges you are facing, define your priorities for change and decide your next steps. Contact me to book your free confidence kickstart session.