How to Build Self-Confidence
Updated: May 4
by Jessie Christian
“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered — just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” — Barrie Davenport
“I am not good enough.” Most of us know this thought. It is one of the core beliefs of low self-confidence. It holds us back from starting our own business , asking out a person or starting a new hobby. We are afraid to fail and not live up to expectations. If you want to start living your dreams, break free from traditional thinking and be truly yourself, you need to boost your self-confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, you cannot expect anybody else to.
To build self-esteem, you need to practice it every day. That’s why we put together seven tips for your daily life on how to boost self-confidence:
Tip 1: Accept yourself A lot of people think that self-improvement and self-acceptance are going against each other. Why would I improve myself if I accept myself the way I am? But the truth is that you can only work on yourself if you first accept your unique self. You will not be successful to change negative behavior out of a feeling of self-hate and disapproval. Accepting yourself is the first step to becoming more self-confident. If I am okay with the way I am, I also am more confident in my behavior. Understand that this is the way you are now. It does not mean that you will be like this for the rest of your life. You have the immense opportunity to change your life. It is one of our most significant gifts as humans that we are not fixed; we have possibilities to evolve. You do not have to love your flaws or imperfections. It’s okay to say: “I do not like myself the way I am. But I know that I can change.” Tip 2: Stop comparing One of the biggest problems for low self-confidence is comparison. We like to compare ourselves with others, especially with people that are close to us. People we went to school with, our co-workers and our family members. But comparison is a game that you cannot win. There will always be someone that is better than you. Instead, you should improve the parts that you can change about you and accept the ones that you can’t (see tip 1). But we also like to compare ourselves to excuse our faults or the way our lives are currently shaped. We argue that someone else is responsible for the pain: our partner, our parents or our siblings. You can only learn to be confident if you take responsibility for your life. Framing yourself as a victim will never lead you to feel as a fully-grown adult with own wishes, desires, and dreams.
Tip 3: Stay authentic to yourself Part of becoming more self-confident is knowing who you are and what you want. If you’re going to overcome a negative self-image, you need to understand why you feel this way. Listen to your thoughts, write them down in a journal. Keep the good things about yourself in mind: What are you doing well already? What are you proud of? What have you achieved? Think about your limitations and ask yourself if those are indeed limitations or if you just made them up, so you do not have to change. It can be a very uncomfortable process because you must entirely be honest with yourself. We tend to not do that in our daily life. But you’ll come out of this process with even greater self-confidence.
Tip 4: Kill your inner critic “You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay The biggest critics we have are often ourselves. You all know the “voice of the inner critic” that tells you what you are doing wrong and that nags about your short-comings. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)has found this inner critic to be one of our most significant problems on the way to achieving self-confidence. If we continuously bash ourselves thinking we are not good enough, not beautiful enough, not sporty enough or not smart enough, these thoughts will manifest as self-fulfilling prophecies. In CBT, you use strategies to question your inner critic and to look for evidence to support or deny the things that your inner critic is saying to you. If you believe you are not good enough, ask yourself: “What evidence is there that I am not good enough” and “What evidence is there that I am indeed good enough?” By second-guessing these statements, you will soon realize that they are often exaggerations. Try to replace a negative thought with a more accurate one. Instead of thinking “I am not good enough,” you could say: “I do a good job, and I am trying my best. It is more than enough.”
Tip 5: Accept failure as part of the journey If you want to kill the inner critic, you must accept failure as part of your journey. Often, we have completely ridiculous expectations on how we “should” perform. Instead of feeling like a failure when something goes wrong, see failure as the acceptable norm. No one is born a genius, an entrepreneur or an artist. Being human means being capable of always evolving and learning. And learning means failing. Often our best lessons come from our most significant failures. So instead of expecting always to experience a smooth ride, expect the failures and setbacks. It makes those moments when everything is falling into place, and your hard work pays off, so much more valuable.
Tip 6: Take care of yourself “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” — Christopher Germer It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or are low on energy. Establish a healthy routine of exercise, make time for eating and create good sleeping habits. But even more important: if you feel stressed, take a rest. Have a hot tea, a bath, watch a beautiful series or read an excellent book. It is okay to rest, and it should be part of your daily schedule.
Tip 7: Empower yourself An easy way to boost your self-confidence is empowering yourself. Read up on everything you need to know for your job or for the next presentation you are worried about. Try out new things and discover that a lot of limitations are just in your head. Find a new sport that you thought was not for you. Maybe you just need to try it out. All these little conquests will boost your self-esteem and make you feel more powerful.