How to Build Self Confidence
You want to be confident and feel confident, but what if you're starting with little or no confidence? How do you get from Point A to Point B? True self-confidence isn't an overnight acquisition. It takes dedication to realize you are a human being who is worthy of respect and love. If you want to know how to start building your self-confidence today, see Step 1 to get started
Part 1 of 3: Changing Your Perspective
1 Identify your talents. Everyone is good at something, so discover the things at which you excel, and then focus on your talents. Give yourself permission to take pride in them. Inferiority is a state of mind in which you've declared yourself a victim. Do not allow yourself to be victimized. Express yourself, whether it's through art, music, writing, or dance. Find something you enjoy. Everyone is born with talents and strengths. You can develop and excel in yours. Plus, adding a variety of interests to your life will not only make you more confident, but it will increase your chances of meeting compatible friends.
- If it's difficult to name two or three things you have some ability in or just plain love to do, think about things others do that you would like to do too and take some lessons or join an enthusiasts club.
- When you're following your passion, not only will it have a therapeutic effect, but you'll feel unique and accomplished, all of which can help build your self confidence.
2 Take pride in your good qualities. Not only should you feel proud of your talents or your skills, but you should also think about the things that make your personality great. It can be your sense of humor, your sense of compassion, your listening skills, or your ability to cope under stress. You may not think that there's anything about your personality worth admiring, but if you dig deep, you'll realize that you have plenty of admirable qualities. Revel in them and write them down. You'll be on your way to building your self-confidence.
- Whenever you feel bad about one of your weaknesses, comfort yourself by thinking about all of the positive qualities about yourself. You'll see that they far outweigh the things you are insecure about.
3 Recognize your insecurities. What does that voice in the back of your mind say? What makes you uncomfortable or ashamed of yourself? This could be anything from acne, to regrets, friends at school or a past traumatic or negative experience. Whatever is making you feel unworthy, ashamed, or inferior, identify it, give it a name, and write it down. You can also tear these written pieces to start feeling positive on those points.
- This exercise isn't meant to bring you down or to make you realize that there was even more wrong with you than you thought. It's meant to make you aware of the problems you're dealing with, and will put you on the path to solving them.
4 Talk about it with friends and loved ones. Wear it on your sleeve. Each day you should chip away at it; wear it down. There's no quick fix. Get to the root of the problem; focus on it and understand that you need to resolve each issue before you can move on. Check if it's an old past emotion and if it is really still relevant or applicable in your life today. Just having someone to talk to about your problems can make you feel more confident, even if that person can't help you find a solution.
- This doesn't mean you have to get rid of whatever makes you feel bad (many times, you simply can't). You need to learn to accept yourself, your past, your circumstances as they are, without necessarily thinking of them as "bad".
- Just having a friend offer you encouragement can help you feel capable of tackling your insecurities. It'll be much harder to build up your self-confidence if you have to be your own cheerleader all the time.
5 Bounce back from your mistakes. Remember that no one is perfect. Even the most confident people have insecurities. At some point in any of our lives, we may feel we lack something. That is reality. Learn that life is full of bumps down the road. And that often these insecure feelings come and go, depending on where we are, who we are with, the mood we're in, or how we are feeling. In other words, they are not constant. If you've made a mistake, the best thing you can do is to recognize it, apologize, and make a game plan for avoiding it in the future.
- Don't let one wrong turn make you think you don't have what it takes to achieve your dreams. Maybe you weren't a great boyfriend and your last relationship ended in failure. This doesn't mean you're not capable of turning your act around and finding love in the future.
6 Adopt a more positive mindset. Avoid self-pity, or the pity and sympathy of others. Never allow others to make you feel inferior — they can only do so if you let them. If you continue to loathe and belittle yourself, others are going to do and believe likewise. Instead, speak positively about yourself, about your future, and about your progress. Do not be afraid to project your strengths and qualities to others. By doing so, you reinforce those ideas in your mind and encourage your growth in a positive direction.
- The next time you catch yourself having a negative thought, counter it with at least two positive ones. Make a habit of this until you feel the negative thoughts creeping out of your system.
- When you talk to your friends, focus on making many more positive comments than negative ones. You don't want to develop a reputation for being a whiner, and you also will feel more positive if you talk about more positive things.
7 Stop comparing yourself to others. If you want to build your self-confidence, then you have to focus on improving your own life for the better, not on making your life more like your best friend's, your older brother's, or like those of the celebrities you see on television. If you want to build up your confidence, then you need to know that there will always be someone who is prettier, smarter, and richer than you, just like there will always be someone who is less attractive, less intelligent, and less wealthy than you are; all of this is irrelevant, and what is relevant is caring about advancing your own goals and dreams.
- You may lack confidence because you're convinced that everyone else has it better than you do. Forget about them! At the end of the day, it only matters if you're happy by your own standards. If you have no idea what those are, then it's time to do some soul searching before you move forward.
Part 2 of 3: Taking Action
1 Accept compliments gracefully. Don't roll your eyes and say, "Yeah, right," or shrug it off. Take it to heart and respond positively ("Thank you" and a smile works well). Let the person giving the compliment know that you really appreciate it, and work to reach the point where you are able to truly accept the compliment at heart.
- You can even write the compliment down and read it over. Let it show you that you aren't as hopeless as you may think.
2 Look in the mirror and smile. Studies surrounding what's called the "facial feedback theory" suggest that the expressions on your face can actually encourage your brain to register certain emotions. So by looking in the mirror and smiling every day, you might feel happier with yourself and more confident in the long run. This will also help you feel happier about your appearance, and to accept the way you look.
3 Fake it. Along the same lines of smiling to make yourself feel happy, acting confident might actually make you believe it. Pretend you're a completely confident version of you; go through the motions and see how you feel! Pretend that you're the most confident person in your school; was that so hard? Is there anything from the experience that can inform the way you live your own life? You'd be surprised by how much stepping outside of your own mindset can help you build confidence.
- Body language can go a long way in helping you develop your confidence. Stand tall and proud instead of hunching over, look straight ahead of you instead of at the ground, and don't cross your arms over your chest. Keep your body active and engaged, and you'll start to feel more confident as you go about your day and approach others.
- There's never any harm in smiling (under the right circumstances). Smile at strangers throughout your day and see how good it makes both you and them feel.
4 Help others. When you know you're kind to the people around you, and are making a positive difference in other people's lives (even if it's just being kinder to the person who serves you coffee in the morning), you'll know that you are a positive force in the world — which will boost your self confidence. Find a way to make helping others a part of your weekly routine, whether you volunteer at your local library or you help your little sister learn to read. The act of helping will not only benefit others, but it will build your confidence because you'll see that you have a lot to offer.
- You don't have to help someone in your community to feel the benefits of helping others. Sometimes, someone close to you, such as your mother or your best friend, will need your help as much as anyone.
5 Stick to your principles. It might be tough, but if you don't have something you can believe in, you don't have anything. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. No matter what's happened in your life, you can always lay claim to the fact that from this day forward, you've followed your principles to the best of your ability. Be true to yourself instead of doing what other people expect, and know that, at the end of the day, you have to be able to live with yourself to feel confident.
- Sure, you may feel a small burst of confidence from showing off just to please others or by making fun of someone less fortunate than you, but these are not long-term solutions for true confidence.
6 Get rid of as many sources of negativity as you can. Though we can't get rid of every possible source of negativity in our lives, we can certainly make an effort to cut down on the negativity that plagues us. Take the time to sit down and think about all of the things that are bringing you down, from mean friends, a career you don't much care for, or a living situation that is almost unbearable. Though you may not be able to get rid of every negative source in your life, you can certainly think about how to cut your losses. This will go a long way in building your self-confidence up.
- If you have toxic friends who have been making you feel bad for years, it's time to cut them loose.
- If you think you lack confidence because of a large part of your life, such as a career path that you don't really feel cut out for, then start making a plan to change the course of your path. You may not be able to do this instantly, but starting a plan in the right direction can make a big impact on your self-confidence.
- If there are certain parts of your life that you can't really change, such as living with parents who are always nagging you, then you need to find the best way to cope with them. You can't let these things affect your confidence or your sense of self.
7 Make eye contact. Making eye contact when you talk to people can go a long way in building your self-confidence. Doing so will make you feel like you are a valuable person who is worth talking to, and people will respond in kind. If you look at the ground or away when you talk to people, then you won't feel as confident in what you are saying, and other people won't think that you're strong in your convictions. The next time you talk to someone, make sure you look that person in the eye as you articulate whatever you wanted to say.
- You can break eye contact occasionally so a situation doesn't feel too tense or uncomfortable. Just don't make a habit of it.
8 Put care into your appearance. You don't have to look like Brad Pitt to start building your self confidence. If you want to feel better about who you are and how you look, then take care of yourself by showering daily, brushing your teeth, wearing well-fitting clothes, and making sure that you've taken time with your appearance. This doesn't mean that superficial looks or style will make you feel more confident, but making an effort to mind your looks tells yourself that you're worth caring about.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day or several times a week. You'll get those endorphins pumping and will feel better in both mind and body. Getting a perfect body won't make you feel better about yourself, but taking the time for regular exercise for the sake of exercise will.
- Make sure to get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night and go to bed and wake up around the same time. You will look and feel more fresh if you take the time to do this.
Part 3 of 3: Continuing to Build Your Confidence
1 Avoid perfectionism. Perfectionism paralyzes you and keeps you from accomplishing your goals. If you feel like everything has to be done perfectly, then you'll never be truly happy with yourself or your circumstances. Instead, work on learning to be proud of a job well done instead of wanting everything to be absolutely perfect. If you're in the mindset of a perfectionist, then you'll only be getting in the way of a more confident version of yourself.
- There's a difference between doing a sloppy job and agonizing over something until it is past flawless. Find a way to be happy with what you've done without obsessing over it.
2 Be thankful for what you have. A lot of the times, at the root of insecurity and lack of confidence is a feeling of not having enough of something, whether it's emotional validation, good luck, or money. By acknowledging and appreciating what you do have, you can combat the feeling of being incomplete and unsatisfied. Finding that inner peace will do wonders for your confidence. Take some time to sit and think about all of the things you have going for you, from your wonderful friends to your health.
Sit down and make a gratitude list, writing down all of the things you are thankful for. Read it over and add to it at least once a week, and it will put you in a more positive, empowering frame of mind
3 Address the flaws you can address. Of course, there will be some things that you don't like about yourself that you simply cannot change. However, there should be several things that you can address with a bit of dedication and hard work. Whether you want to work on being more social or being better in school, you can make a plan to succeed and begin to carry it out. While you may not end up being the most social kid in school or your class valedictorian, you can go a long way in building your self-confidence just by making a plan to start changing for the better.
- Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't try to change absolutely everything. Start with just one or two aspects of yourself that you would like to change, and take it from there.
- Keeping a journal where you chart your progress in achieving your goals can make a big difference. This will help you think about how well your plan is working, and it can help you feel pride in the steps you have taken.
4 Get good at something. Another way to build your self-confidence is simply to find something you're good at and to keep improving at it. This could be mastering a foreign language, playing badminton, or painting with watercolors. Whatever it is, make a habit of spending at least a few hours a week working on getting better, and be proud of the progress you're making. You don't have to turn into an Olympic athlete, but if you work on being the best that you can be, you will feel your confidence soar.
- A lot of people have low self-confidence because they feel like they don't stand out or don't have anything they are good at. Finding something to master is your chance to change this feeling.
- If you want to take it to the next level, you can even help someone else master whatever it is that you're good at. Whether you're helping a person learn a new yoga pose or understand the basics of writing a short story, you'll feel good about yourself when you're teaching someone because you'll see that you're needed.
5 Embrace the unknown. People who lack self-confidence worry that they'll never succeed in an unpredictable situation. Well, it's time to stop doubting yourself and to try something completely new, unknown, and different. Whether you're traveling to a new country with friends or letting your cousin set you up on a date, making a habit of embracing the unknown can help you become more comfortable in your own skin and to feel like you're in control of your destiny — or, rather, that you're okay with not being in control. If you find that you're able to succeed even in a situation you didn't anticipate, then your confidence will go through the roof.
- Spend more time with people who are adventurous and spontaneous. You'll soon find yourself doing something unexpected and feeling better about yourself because of it.