Having low confidence can be highly unpleasant for anyone afflicted with the condition, but at the same time it can also be highly damaging and stifling and have far reaching consequences on your entire life. Confidence is a highly valuable asset that can help us in our social lives to form and maintain relationships, as well as in our careers to help us gain the confidence of others and present ourselves as someone who can provide value. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, then you can’t expect anyone else to either. And worse, if you have no self-confidence, you might even find it rubs off on those around you. Thus confidence building is crucial if you suffer with low esteem, and there are several ways to do this. Here we will look at some of them.
Positive affirmations are positive phrases that you repeat over and over again in order to improve your esteem and to replace your negative thoughts. These might be something like ‘I am a worthwhile and powerful individual’ which while sounding potentially cheesy in the short term, can actually lead you to eventually stop thinking the negative thoughts as these ones become more habitual. Aim to repeat these a few times a day, and if you struggle then try leaving post-its and messages around your home. When you read the affirmations this works even better in some ways because the brain sees it as being like a compliment – and it won’t necessarily know the difference between reading an affirmation and hearing an honest to God compliment from someone in your circle of contemporaries.
Challenge Your Beliefs
One of the big challenges with low self-esteem is how it can become a self-perpetuating vicious circle. The danger here is that you believe yourself to be bad at something, and so you don’t try it, or you actually *do* become bad at it. So for example say you were shy and didn’t rate your ability to interact with others, this would then lead you to speak up less in public and will make you quieter and more awkward when you do. Each time you have one of these awkward encounters or you opt not to go out and socialise, you are then confirming your beliefs and this strengthens the associations. The solution then is to break out of the cycle by simply testing your theory. In other words you need to force yourself to go out into the world and interact with as many people as you can. By doing this you can then challenge your beliefs about your own abilities and start to actually feel more confident again. At the same time you will learn that even when you do choke in a social situation – no one really cares.
If you have low self-confidence then often this will stem from a particular trait or ability where you believe yourself to be lacking. Perhaps you don’t like your social skills or you don’t like your body? Regardless of the particular area of concern, if you can focus on improving yourself and developing your traits, then you can feel more confident in them as a result. Working out, having a makeover or practicing public speaking can all help you to overcome the chinks in your armour and feel more confident in yourself.
Develop New Skills
And one of the best ways to develop yourself other than to focus on where you’re lacking? Simply to challenge yourself to develop a new skill or to take on a new project. For instance join a martial arts class, or deign to learn carpentry and build your own set of front gates. Once you do this you can give yourself something to be proud of and you can break out of your current limitations which will help you to find more confidence.
Fishing for Compliments
While this isn’t a particularly scientific claim, it is often reported that we value insults five times more than compliments. In other words if someone says something negative about you, it would take five compliments to the contrary to get you back to a state where you feel neutral. Whether or not there is any substance to this (apart from anything else it will clearly depend on the individual) it outlines the value of compliments and the fact that we could use as many as we can get. Asking your friends to tell you what it is that they like about you can be a great boost, and you can make this into a game by doing it for each other. Alternatively it can help to just sit down and think about all the compliments and achievements you’ve had recently. Write down a list of all the nice things people have said and all of the things you’ve achieved and you can help yourself to start feeling much better.