If you’ve ever had low self-confidence, you know how debilitating it can be. Life happens around you, while you’re paralyzed in this fear of stepping into your highest self. What will people say? What if I fail? I can’t do that. I’m not good enough. I’m scared. I could never… Sound familiar? The good news is that self-confidence can be developed. You’re not born with or without it, it’s not in your genetic make-up, but it is something that you need to consciously work on, if you need to build your self-confidence.
I’m not one to sugar coat, so some of the concepts around building your self-confidence may seem a little direct, but trust me, they work.
1. Choose healthy relationships
This may seem like a given, but it’s time to take inventory of all of your relationships. The ones with your family, your partner, friends, colleagues, boss, clients, vendors and team-mates.
Let’s do a quick exercise, on a piece of paper make two columns. Now think about somebody in your life who has brought out the very best in you and write their name at the top of the left hand column. Now think of someone who had the opposite effect on you. Write their name on the top of the right hand column. Now take some time to write out all the things they said, or did, and how they made you feel. This is a really cathartic exercise and one that unveils a lot of information.
The person who brought out the best of you should have made you feel happy, safe, included, loved/liked, accepted, part of a bigger picture, supported your ideas/dreams, they encouraged you, they listened to you, took time to get to know you, they were easy to be around and you wanted to be with them, work with them or work for them.
The person listed on the right hand side may have been a hostile character, that raised a lot of negative emotions and energy in you such as anxiety, fear, intimidation, anger, hurt, disappointment, embarrassment, hatred, rage, your physical health diminished, you felt threatened and excluded, perhaps you even felt worthless. One major key to developing your self-confidence is to eliminate these relationships from your life. For some, this may be very hard to do, but if you continue to put yourself in situations with people who bring out negative feelings in you, you will not be able to develop into the person you know you should be.
We outgrow people when we ourselves begin to grow. It’s normal and part of life. Usually when you eliminate negative baggage from your life, it allows for bigger and better things to take its place, but if there’s no room for greatness, then it’s impossible to grow.
2. Be your own best cheerleader
Simply put, you need to believe in yourself and trust in your capabilities. Continuously asking for external validation and approval is tedious, it wastes a lot of time and ultimately can lead to further disappointment and confusion. Opinions are like noses, they’re all different, and the only opinion that should matter, is yours!
Building self-confidence is achieved in simple ways. Celebrate your achievements, big and small. Make a big deal about any accomplishment. Life is made up of many moments, and the more time you take to acknowledge these moments, the happier you will feel about your choices and your life.
3. Attempt new things
“Do one thing that scares you every day” The first time I saw this statement was on a LuLu Lemon bag. Great concept and a great way to build your self-confidence, quickly. We’ve all procrastinated on doing something that we dreaded, but after we did it, we realized it wasn’t so bad after all, we survived. No biggie!
Challenging yourself to step-up in any aspect of your life that intimidates you is character and confidence building. Do it! Regardless of the outcome, I promise you will learn something.
4. Don’t be a Chicken Little
If you don’t know the concept of Chicken Little, he is an animated character who believes the world is coming to an end and often says “The sky is falling!!”.
Major drama queen, major exaggeration!
Don’t be a Chicken Little, keep perspective and don’t exaggerate situations to be more dramatic and problematic than what they are. Subconsciously this type of talk takes its toll on your mental awareness, which feeds your physical well-being and your behavior. Most situations in life are fixable and rarely catastrophic. Going back to point #1, if you are associating with Chicken Little people, then limiting your exposure to them may be the answer, as this attitude will not help build self-confidence.
This may be a lot to take in, but I recommend you choose one of the 4 concepts and implement it in your life immediately. Keep doing it until it becomes habitual or normal, then move on to the next concept. Building your self-confidence is like creating a savings account, you must keep at it, if you want big rewards.