What is confidence? Confidence is the ability to believe in your own capabilities and talents and to realize your own potential in whatever you do. It is being able to take risks without fear of failure and with the strength of optimism and positivity. Most of all, it is being your own best version of yourself.
Indeed, gaining confidence is a subjective matter. Each individual is unique and therefore will have different obstacles and fears. The key to success has an individually designed shape, as we all have varied strengths and weaknesses. Yet, I can tell you that it universally takes hard work, persistence and determination.
We are naturally inclined to have a negative mindset, with scientists terming this the ‘negative bias’ which will hinder personal growth, self- esteem and confidence. All too often we judge ourselves in comparison to others instead of valuing our own special talents. We’ve all heard the saying “comparison is the thief of joy”, and it couldn’t be more than true. If we continue to compare ourselves to our competition, our co- workers or our friends we will always find flaws within ourselves.
To overcome this, I suggest you turn your focus inwards, towards your own body and mind. When we truly reflect on our experiences, our beliefs and emotions we can become in tune with our bodies. We see what qualities we would like to improve and others that we are proud of. Mindfullness brings an overall awareness to our thoughts and their habitual patterns. From here, we can recognize and accept these thoughts as normal before re- focusing on the task at hand. Focusing on your breath and other sensations such as sound and touch, grounds us and reminds us that we are in the present moment, rather than in our thoughts. Replacing these negative thought patterns with powerful positive affirmations such as “I am clear, calm and content” or “I am confident in my abilities to perform this task” can also re- align your brain with your bodies capabilities. Most often, it is our fearful thoughts that hold us back rather than our physical self.
Furthermore, here are my top confidence tips for increasing self- awareness:
- Reflect on your fears and your talents: Ask yourself questions such as, why are these situations or events scary? What experiences and events have led to me doubting myself? What attributes do I possess which can help me achieve my goals? What are my favourite qualities in others and within myself? These questions are designed to help you reflect on what exactly it is that is holding you back and how you can overcome these. Simultaneously, it allows you to become aware of your strengths which will help you in your personal growth.
- Realize it’s okay to ask for help: In situations where you feel uneasy or not confident in your ability, talk up. Most often, a lack of confidence stems from a belief we are inadequate. By asking more experienced individuals for help, you can learn the skills and techniques required and develop these at your own pace. As such, your self- esteem will increase dramatically.
- Practice gratitude: Reflecting on what it is that makes your life purposeful, enjoyable and happy are key to increasing confidence levels. Being gracious shows you the things you do have instead of focusing on what is lacking, helping you to remain humble and positive. It can be as simple as, “I am thankful that I am happy and healthy, and am surrounded by people I love and who love me”.
- Accept and give compliments: Being able to humbly accept compliments when given out instead of challenging them, can really raise your self- esteem. When you accept a compliment, you acknowledge that someone else finds you admirable, in turn increasing your confidence and theirs. When you give compliments to others, feelings of generosity and kindness emerge to help ensure you feel good about yourself also.
- Fake it till you make it: This is an oldie but a goodie. The old adage of faking confidence is genius. While you are in the process of self-reflection you still have to go about your daily life. It can be worthwhile to practice what it will be like when you achieve an increased sense of confidence. For you, this could mean grooming yourself, having good posture, smiling and making eye contact with others. In a way, it fast tracks your journey to confidence as you are already acting the part.
No matter what, I think it’s most important that you see confidence as a journey and a continuous process. Very little in the world happens overnight, it takes months of planning, preparation and commitment to achieve your dreams.The same goes with confidence, which will only further your ability to succeed. Some days you will feel like you are back in square one with a head full of negativity and hurtful criticism and other days you will feel as though you could tackle all of your fears head on. It’s okay to fall down, because confidence isn’t an end goal but a concept that is constantly built upon and improved with daily reflection and new experiences.
A long time ago, someone once told me that “your best will always be good enough”. This is what I choose to live by and remains my number one tip for increasing confidence.
Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂