“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” Helen Keller
Everyone needs some confidence at some point in their lives. Some situations will be easier to show confidence than others and some will take a lot of courage to complete as our confidence can vary.
Here are some steps to becoming more confident:
1. Taking Action
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
It’s easy to say just go ahead and be confident and just get on and do it, but how easy is it in reality. When people say ‘Go on, just do it’, they could be causing you more harm than good. To some, it may be a simple thing to overcome, but to others, it can cause immense anxiety. This is because when you are already low and people are challenging you and you really feel that you cannot do it, it can make you feel like even more of a failure.
I don’t want you to just sit there, letting life pass you by and use your fear of trying as an excuse not to try at all. I am saying that for some people it’s about taking slow and tiny steps towards your goal of being more confident. People are always quick to judge others, but just know that they can never say they understand how you or someone else feels, even if their situation may be similar, it will never be the same. This is evident when people’s reactions to the same situation are emotionally and physically different.
You have to really want to change to make that change. That change will come when you are ready emotionally and when you are ready to commit. You may not be feeling confident at the moment, but you know that you are now taking steps to make it happen.
Don’t beat yourself up about finding it hard to take that first step. Let’s not put any additional pressure on yourself. Stop worrying or focussing on it, as then it as if you are being forced into doing it. Just give yourself time and space to relax to not cause any extra anxiety.
2. Face your fear
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.” William Jennings Bryan
Nothing will change and your life will continue as it is unless you are ready to make a start and take that first step. Affirmations or meditation, although positive, will have a limited effect on changing your life and making it what you want it to be until you change your mindset. You have to start to believe in yourself and ultimately face your fears. Having experiences where you face your fears is what really builds self-confidence.
There are simple steps you can take, like:
- Being curious and start opening yourself up to new ideas or new beliefs. Try to reduce the barriers that you are putting up probably for your protection and be open to new things. Once you have it in your mind to be curious, you will find things will automatically open up as curiosity is filled with anticipation and enthusiasm.
- Be rational and don’t let your negative thoughts create situations that are not rational. See situations for what they are and don’t allow your thoughts to say different or allow you to misjudge a situation.
3. Things happen when they need to
“Realise that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you”.
If you have low self-confidence things will not change immediately. It will take time to build your confidence and to gain the ability to handle different situations. Take small steps towards your goal of building your self-confidence. It’s a form of gentle desensitisation.
You will not need to psyche yourself up to do it, or make yourself anxious beforehand, because you are approaching it in a more natural way.
For example, if you have to do some public speaking in front of a large audience, it can seem a scary concept, but it need not be this way. You can start small and practice in front of two people, then six, then eight, getting some constructive feedback as you go, until you don’t even have to think about speaking in public and it happens naturally. You may look back and think what held you back, what were you afraid of and possibly why you avoided doing it for so long?
4. Realise that failure or being wrong will not kill you
“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre
At some point, you will have to face your fear. Failing at something or being wrong will not kill you. Thousands of successful people are consistently wrong or make mistakes every day of their lives. It’s just how you react to being wrong. Being wrong is the biggest learning curve you could ever take and it’s the only way to progress in life.
The thing is to reframe failure from being something that makes you anxious, to something useful. It is important for the growth of your self-confidence and self-esteem and your overall growth as a human being.
Experiencing failure can help:
- You learn. Instead of seeing failure as something terrible, you can start to view it more as a learning experience. When standing in the middle of a failure, you can ask yourself questions like: What have I learnt from this? Analyse what you did and what you could have done to have a better outcome.
- You change your mind. You may have thought that this way was the only way to succeed, but in failure, you have opened your mind to new ideas and new ways of thinking. In failing, you may have opened new doors and new, alternative options that you never knew were there.
- Make you stronger. Every time you fail your self-esteem grows and you become more accustomed to it. You become more desensitised and less worried about what could happen. You can handle things that would have been very hard to handle a few years back. Failing can also make you feel stronger when you work through the issue and see that at least you took a chance, which takes a lot of courage and determination. You didn’t just sit there doing nothing,
- Your chances of succeeding increase. Every time you fail you can learn and increase your inner strength. So every failure will make you more and more likely to succeed.
Sometimes you worry about what other people think, but remember that people have their own lives to worry about and nine times out of ten really don’t care what you are doing. They are not watching your every move and so are unlikely to see if things don’t go as well for you as you would have liked. Let go of that worry.
5. Know who you are and what you want out of life
“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” Napoleon Hill
To build and find more confidence in yourself you have to get to know yourself better. Self-development exercises can be enlightening. They can show you who you really are, rather than who you think you are. It can be very difficult to accept how others see you, as opposed to how you see yourself. Exploring yourself will help you to understand why you have those fears and also how to overcome them.
With more confidence, you will become more stable and self-aware and see things for what they are. You will grow stronger through your experiences and become more internally relaxed. Know what you like and persevere to get what you want out of your life. When you know yourself, you will have more confidence in yourself and in what you can do.
With more confidence, you will care less what other people say or think and it will have less of an impact than it used to because you will know who you are better than they do. You will not need to things better than anyone else or feel any less because someone can do more than you, because it will not matter.
Through your journey to greater confidence and your invaluable experiences and since you have taken time to really get to know yourself and stretch yourself, you will trust your own opinion and ability more than anything outside of you.
This will of course take time and it’s the beginning of your learning as you continue to grow.
Get started now, take that first step and sign on to the course, by Inner Freedoms, on Boosting Your Self-Confidence.