Low self-confidence is something we all struggle with from time to time. However, if your low self-esteem holds you back from enjoying your life or achieving your goals, it’s time to make a change.
How Do I Know If I Have Low Self-Confidence?
The symptoms of low self-confidence include being hyper-critical of yourself, not adequately recognising your achievements or being socially withdrawn.
People with low self-confidence or low self-esteem may have difficulty prioritising their own needs and setting boundaries, preferring instead to people-please or live to other people’s expectations.
If you notice these symptoms in yourself, your low self-confidence is something to tackle.
Why Should I Build Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence means trusting in your skills, abilities and self-worth.
Research suggests that confidence and a positive self-image can improve mental wellbeing and help you become a more successful person in both your personal and professional life.
The good news is, if you’re suffering from low confidence, there are ways you can improve it. Use the following tips to boost your self-confidence and become the best version of yourself.
Acknowledge Your Strengths
The first step to build self confidence is acknowledging your strengths. Write a list of your strengths and skills, then consider whether your lifestyle choices reflect these qualities.
It’s crucial for building self-esteem to focus on your positive attributes and forgive yourself for any less-than-positive qualities. Making a list of your best features will serve as a reminder of your worth for moments when you’re lacking in confidence.
It’s also beneficial to ensure your career and hobbies align with your skillset. Being stuck in a job that doesn’t reflect your abilities can be unfulfilling and damaging to self-esteem.
Try to find a career and hobbies that allow you to use your best qualities, allowing you to put your skills into action.
Switch Up Your Style
Looks aren’t everything, and beauty is certainly more than just skin deep. That said, sometimes a makeover can be just what you need to boost self-confidence.
Looking good can help you feel good, so buying a couple of new flattering items for your wardrobe or implementing a new grooming routine can make a difference to your confidence levels.
Simple cosmetic tricks such as having your teeth whitened, eyebrows tinted, or lashes lifted with a product such as Lash Bomb can enhance your natural beauty and revolutionise how you feel about your looks.
Even a spritz of your favourite perfume can make you feel ready to take on the world.
Surround Yourself With Support
Knowing your worth is much easier when people around you recognise and value your best qualities.
Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and remove people with toxic or harmful attitudes from your friendship circle. Your close circle should be made up of people who support and facilitate you in achieving your goals.
Perfect Your Posture
Sitting and standing up straight wields well-known health benefits, but the mental benefits are less obvious.
Posture doesn’t just make you appear more confident to others. In fact, a strong posture can positively impact your feelings of self-confidence.
Multiple studies have shown that when people are told to sit or stand upright, they’re more likely to have confidence in their abilities or rate their abilities more highly.
Sitting up straight can help your brain function better because you increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. So the next time you’re nervous about a presentation at work for a first date, stand up straight, open your shoulders, and feel the nerves slip away.
Set Achievable Goals
Achieving targets can boost our self-esteem and give us the confidence to try new endeavours. Instead of setting yourself huge goals that will take months to accomplish, begin by setting yourself small, achievable daily goals.
Examples of these goals could be to go on a twenty-minute walk every day for a week or get your 5-a-day. It could even be something as simple as speaking up in a meeting at work or signing up for a local hobby group.
Achieving these small, daily goals will give you a hit of confidence and spur you on to set and accomplish further goals.
Move Your Body
Research has shown that exercise is correlated with increased self-esteem. Regular exercise helps burn calories and tone muscles, which can improve how you feel about your appearance as you spot physical changes over time.
However, the benefits of regular exercise are much more than simply aesthetic. Exercise benefits your mental health by releasing endorphins and distracting your mind from daily stresses.
The most significant way that exercise can contribute to high levels of self-confidence is through the sense of accomplishment it creates. When you beat your previous fastest 5km time or win a competitive sports game, you’ll feel a sense of pride that will boost your self-confidence.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘do something every day that scares you’. Now, this isn’t to suggest you should be conquering your fear of skydiving on a Tuesday and bungee jumping on Wednesday. It simply means that stepping outside of your comfort zone can reap huge rewards.
If you never attempt a task that scares you, you’ll never build the confidence to know you can do scary things in the future. Confidence is, in part, about the ability to be comfortable in a variety of unique and challenging situations.
Small acts outside your comfort zone could include agreeing to give a presentation at work, joining a friend at the gym or attending a local book club to meet new people.
Commit to trying activities outside your comfort zone at least twice a week to improve your confidence in new situations.
Affirmations are positive statements that you can repeat to challenge negative or self-critical thoughts.
It might seem cheesy, but saying frequent affirmations is a great way to build self-esteem. Repeating affirmations every morning can change your perspective and set you up to be confident and successful in the day ahead.
To boost your self-confidence, you could repeat affirmations such as ‘I am a successful person’, ‘I love myself’ or ‘I have confidence in my abilities’. Repeating these affirmations
Negative thinking can have a self-fulfilling effect, meaning if you believe one of your endeavours isn’t going to work out, this defeatist attitude may cause you to give up trying.
Positive thinking, therefore, is an essential part of fulfilling your goals.
When it comes to staying positive, smiling more has been shown to increase confidence. Smiling naturally releases ‘happy hormones’, such as serotonin and endorphins, which can make you feel more confident in your endeavours.
Recognise Your Achievements
Setting new goals and achievements is a great way to build confidence, but in the meantime, it’s crucial to reflect on your previous successes to instill a sense of accomplishment.
Create a list of all the achievements you’re proudest of to remind yourself how much you’ve accomplished. Reflecting on the steps you took to accomplish these achievements can also improve your chances of reaching future goals.
Even the most confident people in the world occasionally face setbacks and rejection, and your journey will be no different. What matters is not these setbacks occurring but how you deal with them.
If you’re rejected from a job interview that you wanted or a romantic relationship breaks down, do not beat yourself up. Part of building self-confidence is acknowledging that some things are out of your control, and as long as you’ve done your best, it isn’t your fault.
Experiencing setbacks is crucial to building resilience. If you learn lessons from failures, you’ll avoid making similar mistakes again and build your confidence in similar situations.
Sometimes being confident means having the confidence to say ‘no’. Self-confidence is about having faith in your own convictions and prioritising your own needs above others’ expectations.
Suppose your manager asks you to work on more projects than you can take on, or you have a friend with unreasonable requests. In that case, it’s in your and their interests to politely say no. Overstretching yourself to meet others’ demands is a recipe for burnout and will damage your wellbeing in the long term.
Trust your own judgement and set boundaries where necessary to protect your mental health.
The Bottom Line
You can build your self-esteem by stepping out of your comfort zone to improve your ability to flourish in unfamiliar scenarios.
Other tips and tricks include exercising regularly, updating your grooming routine and improving your posture. The more you exude confidence on the outside, the more likely you are to feel it on the inside.
Having self-confidence is a vital aspect of good mental health and wellbeing. Having confidence in your abilities allows you to create meaningful relationships and succeed in your professional life and hobbies.
If you’ve identified symptoms of low self-confidence or self-esteem in your behaviour, it’s time to start using the tips above to boost your confidence and start putting your own needs first.