3 Tips to Boost Your Confidence
Let’s be honest with ourselves right now. Gaining confidence isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It’s crazy hard to go from down-in-the-dumps to top-of-the-moon in an instant. Even writing this, it sounds out of reach and virtually impossible to obtain.
Imagine being in a place in life where you feel like anything is possible because you are good enough, smart enough, capable, valuable or even... necessary. This may be cliché, but the truth is, YOU ARE.
So, I know, I don’t know you personally. It’s highly likely that we haven’t met yet. You’re right, and you have a valid point. But, the truth is that you’re here right now. You are a living, breathing, feeling, human being. You’re likely a daughter, son, mother, father, friend, brother, sister, employee, or boss. And you have a purpose.
Whether or not you know what it is right now or are just thinking about it for the first time, that purpose is connected and often impacted by the confidence you have or don’t have in yourself. So, what do you do if it’s pretty much non-existent? How do you get out of a years-long slump of disbelief or self-sabotage?
I’d be lying if I said I had a magical trick for this. There are a bazillion variables that filter into our thoughts that lend to our ability to believe in ourselves at any given time. Maybe you’re coming out of a painful relationship or divorce. Maybe you are grieving right now. It could be that you feel overlooked or invisible, or maybe just feeling inadequate.
All of these have the potential to send us soaring above the clouds or cause us to dive into self-doubt or negative self-talk. So, how do we begin to start believing in ourselves? What can we do to reduce the deep dive? What actions can we take to rise above our thoughts and challenges in effort to live life to the fullest? Here are Three Tips to Increase Your Confidence Today.
Tip 1: Positive Affirmations Aren’t a Thing of the Past
Maybe you're thinking that it’s not possible to be positive all of the time. You’re absolutely right! However, it’s possible to remind yourself of your great qualities. We all have strengths...things we’re good at...talents. This is true, even when we don’t believe it.
So, go find a notecard and a sticky note. Or, a sheet of paper and some tape (scotch, washi, painter’s, etc.). While you’re at it, grab a pen or pencil. Hey, crayons and markers work too.
Think of something you like about yourself. In the beginning, you might say things like, “I have nice eyes,” or “I have a pretty smile”. These are positive words about yourself, so if you’re starting here, that’s OKAY. Building confidence happens when we create a safe space with ourselves, and we are all in different places with this right now.
If you’re ready for something a little deeper. Try thinking of characteristics that affirm a skill or talent you have. For example, “I am capable of this task/job because I am focused and driven.”
Taking it another step further, we could target our deepest thoughts or fears. Imagine how powerful it could be to repeat the words, “ I am enough” to ourselves on a regular basis and actually believe it.
The practice of building self-confidence through words of affirmation is not a novel concept. This is something that has been done for ages, written in loads of self-help books. But, how many people do you know that actually follow through? When was the last time someone told you to just say nice things about yourself?
As children, it might be common for a parent, teacher, or mentor to encourage kind words to self, but that fades over time and we tend to focus on ways to make our inward selves match the outward perceptions of reality. This is often based on how we see the world or what we choose to influence us. This type of thought can be exhausting and incredibly limiting.
The challenge today is to get back to our roots. To share kind words with ourselves, just as we so often encourage kids (and others) to do.
Words we speak over ourselves matter. These words affect us. They influence our ideas and opinions of ourselves. Let’s choose these words carefully. Let’s choose words that impact us in ways that motivate us and lift us up. Words that build strength.
So, if you’re ready, let’s put that notecard and sticky note to good use. No matter which stage of affirmations you’re in, think about some of your qualities that you like about yourself. Choose one or two that resonate with you. Write them down. Put the sticky note somewhere you can see it clearly (mirror, dashboard, laptop screen, etc.). The notecard can go anywhere (as a bookmark, wallet, nightstand, etc.).
Repeat these incredible words to yourself on the daily. Even multiple times a day. Over and over and over again until you start to believe them. Until they become a part of you.
Tip 2: Allow Yourself to Feel
I’m not sure which stage in life creates an obligation to suppress our feelings, but it’s definitely a stage of life. For some, it passes quickly. For others, it can linger and cause resentment, added anxiety, or bottled up emotions that either push us or drag us along in life.
If you’ve ever needed someone to tell you it’s okay to feel the exact emotion you are feeling at any given time, today’s your day.
It. Is. Okay. to. Feel.
Part of what makes us human is our brain power. The other part is our heart. The most important part is that they work in tandem to allow us to function on the daily. This interaction is what allows us to empathize with others.
This ability to feel is not a weakness. In fact, it is a tremendous strength. In reality, our weakness is the desire to suppress feelings or emotions that are not what society deems as ideal. This doesn’t mean we cry for hours every day for years. It means that when we’re experiencing joy, we get to let ourselves experience joy. When we experience the loss of a loved one, we grant ourselves the space to feel sadness. If our relationship is toxic and ends, we give ourselves time to process and heal.
Our lives are packed with experiences, good...bad...and ugly. Let’s work to allow ourselves to feel - one experience at a time. Over time, this will boost our confidence in ourselves and our ability to rise above our challenges.
Tip 3: Provide Space for Grace
This is a big one! Somewhere along the road, it was encouraged to strive for perfection. That errors or mistakes didn’t create more social media followers. If you haven’t read the post Perfectly, Imperfect---take a minute to check it out.
Being perfect is the “perfect” setup for failure. This is unattainable and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and comparison. While we want to strive for excellence and to do our best as often as possible. We can lose sight of our ability to learn through our mistakes. This learning has great value...an often underestimated value in how we truly learn new skills, gain insight, and build confidence.
Wait, what? Did I just say, we can build confidence by messing up? Yep! That’s exactly what I said.
Providing space for grace in errors is crazy powerful. It means that we are able to assess the situation, figure out where we erred, and create a new and improved method to the madness.
This is gold!!! Imagine the amount of confidence that can be tapped into when we can figure out our own mistake and create our own solution. This is the kind of confidence that makes people unstoppable. This is world-changer style confidence.
I’m a World Changer. Now what?
I encourage the teens and adults I work with to encourage themselves just as they would someone else. To extend the same level of care and concern often given to others, with themselves.
This isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. Humans are complex creatures. We have feelings in addition to all the other stuff. We think, and feel, and breathe. We are not robots. Our feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness affect us in more ways than we know.
Confidence isn’t always something we’re born with, or have the tools to nurture. Confidence takes practice through repetition.
If only for today, choose kind words for yourself too, allow yourself to truly feel, and tell yourself that mistakes are okay. If you can do this for one day, you can do it for two...and three...and four, until it becomes a habit. Until you truly start to believe it.
Building confidence is attainable. Yes, even for you. Definitely for you!
On solid ground,