Lacking self-confidence? Try these eight steps!

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We’re all insecure at times. And we all fall prey to the influence of perfect ideal images on social media. But what if you always struggle with a lack of self-confidence? There’s nothing more devastating than low self-esteem. That’s why we’ve gathered the best tips to boost your self-confidence!

Why do some people have low self-confidence?

Some people think that self-confidence is your inner voice, a voice that can tell you you’re good enough or you’re hopelessly inadequate. They have a point: self-confidence is all about how you value and assess yourself.

There are several reasons why some people have low self-esteem. It usually starts in childhood. Perhaps you felt like you couldn’t live up to high expectations. Or maybe you were often made fun of for your body or a character trait, which led you to think negatively of yourself. Our parents, siblings, friends, and teachers bombard us with positive and negative messages about ourselves. And, for some reason, it’s the negative comments that linger the longest and have the most impact.

Sometimes we repeat these negative comments and thoughts so often in our heads, says Jessica Koblenz, that we start to believe they are true. In this way, we build a story about ourselves out of these destructive building blocks. A story on which we also base our self-image.

For some reason, it’s the negative comments that linger the longest and have the most impact.

We are our own worst critic

Your self-image is also formed by experiences in your adult life such as dysfunctional relationships or problems and bullying in the workplace or the choices you’ve made and the paths you’ve taken. We are our own worst critics. And our self-image grows and shrinks by the way we judge our choices.

A negative self-image is therefore formed by what goes on in our heads, not by what we actually are or do. You could be a brilliant musician or scientist and still doubt yourself all the time. Just like there are always people in the world who never reflect on anything for more than two seconds and still think they know the truth. Your self-image and your abilities do not necessarily have anything to do with each other.

We are our own worst critic


But what is the cause here? Your character and personality. People with low self-esteem tend to be extra critical of themselves. They are often extremely perfectionist and find it hard to get over setbacks. If they’ve made a mistake, they don’t let it slide but blame themselves endlessly.

And to protect themselves against such feelings, they eventually do what it takes to avoid difficult situations. They avoid social situations, don’t try new things and no longer dare to take on challenges. This makes them feel so worthless that their self-esteem tumbles even further. A lack of self-confidence can therefore influence how people behave, how they look at life and how their lives are ultimately shaped.

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What are the benefits of having more self-confidence?

Working on your self-image can have a lot of positive impact, both at home, at work and within your relationships. People with a strong self-image usually feel pretty good about themselves and their lives. Because they look at things with optimism, they are more resilient and can better deal with the setbacks they encounter.

Give love

A stronger self-image can have quite a few positive consequences. You’ll notice that you perform better at work as you become more confident. You won’t waste time on hesitation, doubts and worries about whether you’re good enough. Instead, you can focus your energy on the task at hand. The added bonus? You’ll enjoy your work a lot more when you’re feeling confident.

Your relationships will also improve drastically when your self-image blossoms. Sure, it’s a cliché that you first have to learn to love yourself before you can give love to someone else. But, like every cliché, there’s a grain of truth to this. A little self-confidence not only makes you feel better about yourself, it also makes you more gentle and understanding towards others.

Seizing opportunities

Furthermore, when you boost your self-confidence, countless new worlds will open up for you. People with less self-confidence are usually more anxious in life and will not easily try new things. People with a strong self-image and a lot of bravura dare to do so.

They dare to take chances and meet new people, which allows them to taste more of life. Does something go wrong, or does it not go as they had hoped? Then they’re usually resilient enough not to be thrown off balance. They’re also more accepting of the fact that not everything is going perfectly, and they do not immediately put the blame on themselves.

You will find that as you become more confident, you will perform better at work.

Eight steps to boosting your self-confidence!

The good news? You can do quite a bit yourself to boost your self-confidence. From reducing negative thoughts to sport or taking a break from social media, there are more than enough strategies to keep growing and developing!

1: Be aware of negative thoughts

Do you often think that you’re not smart enough to do something? Or that you would’ve been more successful if you had been thinner, prettier, or perkier? Be aware of the things you tell yourself and ask yourself if they’re really true or if they’re based on irrational fears and insecurities. Often, you think about yourself in a certain way for a long time and you begin to think it’s normal to feel like this. After all, you aren’t as smart or beautiful as your sister, you tell yourself. You also have trouble standing out in a group, right?

Such ingrained ideas are hard to cut loose and they can eventually dominate your entire self-image. But they don’t have to. You can start thinking differently about yourself and give your life a boost in a more positive direction. Do you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts? Challenge them: where do these thoughts come from? Are you making things worse than they are? Do these thoughts help you at all or do they only drag you down? Then put positive thoughts in their place to reprogram your self-image. When we become aware of the negative chatter that we use to poison our self-image, we can distance ourselves from the feelings that come with it. And that means that we can eventually detach from the thoughts themselves. Don’t believe everything that goes on in your head. They’re just thoughts, not facts set in stone.

2: Thinking positively about yourself

Step two! Write down all your good qualities on a list. Don’t be modest and don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself, even if you find it hard to believe it. Check your list regularly and add to it whenever you do or say something you can be proud of. Often, we forget positive events and focus on what we perceive to be our failures. Think about the things in your life that have gone well. And focus on the skills you used in those moments.

Did something go wrong? Don’t panic and think: “Oh no, I messed up that presentation completely and no one will ever take me seriously again,” but tell yourself: “Okay, perhaps it didn’t go the way I wanted, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes finds it difficult to speak in front of a group. I’m sure you’ll do better next time.” When you think optimistically about yourself, you’re better able to develop self-compassion, overcome self-doubt and take on new challenges.

3: Build positive relationships

You probably notice that some people and some relationships make you feel nicer than others. It’s important to think about this, as the people you hang out with affect your self-image more than you think. Pay attention to how your family and friends make you feel. Do they give you energy or do they seem to suck it all away? Do they constantly comment on and criticise your choices? Or do they make you feel like you’re not important to them?

If there are people who make you feel bad about yourself, try to avoid them. Instead, build strong relationships with people who are positive, who appreciate you and who energize you. In short, surround yourself with people who love you in a healthy way and spend less time with types who pull you down. If the negative chatter’s coming from people close to you, like your family, start a dialogue and actively try to change things.

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4: Don’t compare yourself with others

Whether you’re comparing yourself to your best friend or that old roommate on Facebook, comparisons are never healthy. And the more you scroll through those perfect profiles on social media, the more likely it is that your self-image will drop. Do you feel jealous when you see someone’s dazzling Instagram feed? Then remember that people usually only share the best parts of themselves online. Close your laptop and remind yourself of your own strengths and successes.

Everyone struggles with insecurities and everyone has their own, often invisible, struggles and setbacks. Just because you don’t see them on social media doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Life is not a competition. You’re often much more critical of yourself than others. Try to keep be gentle on yourself, too,  and always start with your strengths. Others can never be the standard for your self-image, because there will always be people who are better at something than you. Comparisons only lead to negative talk and that leads to fears, stress and inferiority complexes.

5: Be kind to yourself

You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, you don’t always have to think well of yourself. Your self-image will fluctuate and vary from time to time and from situation to situation. This is perfectly normal. Some people feel relaxed with friends, but uncomfortable and shy with colleagues. Others may feel comfortable at work, but quickly become uncomfortable in social situations. Don’t be too critical of yourself, accept who you are and focus on your strengths.

Also, be gentle on yourself when you make a mistake or experience a setback. The gentler you are, the better you can respond to challenging emotions and events. Moreover, people who are kind to themselves soon notice that they become more self-confident and stronger. So, are you feeling bad because you think you have completely ruined something? Think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. Bet you wouldn’t be so hard on them. We often give better advice to others than we do to ourselves.

6: Pay attention to your health

Being kind to yourself also means being kind to your body. That doesn’t mean you can only eat granola and crackers. Or that you have to be at the gym lifting weights before the crack of dawn. But it does mean paying a little more attention to your health, whether it’s physical or mental.

Eat nutritiously, as you’ll feel stronger and more energetic. Take a long walk in the open air every day. Do yoga or meditation to bring your nerves to rest. And get enough sleep to recharge your body and mind and be more optimistic about life. Listen to your body and go easy on alcohol, sugar, and fast food. The occasional wine, chips or bowl of crisps is fine, but keep it for a unique occasion. We don’t want to sound like our mothers, but everything in moderation is very good advice!

7: Accept challenges

People with low self-confidence often avoid difficult situations. If you want to boost your self-esteem, you might want to take a risk. Do something new, which you know will take effort and is not necessarily in your comfort zone. If you succeed, it will be a huge boost to your self-confidence.

Are you afraid you’ll make a complete fool of yourself or make a huge mess of it? Do it anyway. Tell yourself that it’s a just an experiment and that you’ll see where it goes. Learn that a little fear or a few mistakes are not as dramatic as you always think. Each small success makes your self-confidence grow. But this is only possible if you also dare to take a risk. So don’t let stage fright or nervousness get in the way. Start with small goals and develop the skills you need to achieve them. You know what they are: just check your list!

8: Say no.

People with low self-confidence often say ‘yes’, even when they don’t want to. They find it difficult to be assertive and to stand up for themselves. Why? Because they doubt themselves and want others to like them.

However, this lack of assertiveness does mean that they are often overwhelmed by the expectations of others. And that others take advantage of them more easily, because they never say ‘no’ and just go along with everything. If you want to increase your self-confidence, it’s important that you become more assertive. There are courses that can help you learn how to do this, but you can also learn by watching people who are more advanced in this area. How do they go about it? How do they stand up for themselves? It’s often the case that once you have dared to say ‘no’, it soon becomes much easier. You just have to get over that threshold.

That is how you learn that a little bit of fear, or a few mistakes, are not as dramatic as you always think

Now kick some ass!

Are you eager to get started with these tips? Great! Of course, you’ll not transform from a scared wallflower into an extroverted diva in just one day. And you don’t have to. Instead, you’ll notice that you become a little more self-assured every time.

What matters is that you focus on the big picture. Not on that one moment when you felt very sad and insecure again. That kind of moments will stay. So be mild when you slip back into negative thought patterns in a ‘weak moment’. Just give yourself a gentle kick and then get back on your feet. Eventually, you’ll feel better, stronger, and more confident. Promise!

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