Confidence is something we all want to have. So why does it sometimes seem impossible to see yourself in a good light? Mostly because you have a lot of clutter in your mind and you prefer to focus on solutions outside of yourself instead of trusting your inner voice. Connecting to your intuition…to that inner voice will be the key in establishing a new sense of confidence.
The benefits of having confidence in ourselves is widespread These include:
- Openness to trying new things. When you believe in yourself, you’ll be more willing to try new things. Whether you apply for a promotion or sign up for a cooking class, believing in yourself is key to putting yourself out there.
- Better performance. When you feel confident in yourself, you’re able to devote your resources to the task at hand. Rather than waste time and energy worrying that you aren’t good enough, you can devote your energy to your efforts. So ultimately, you’ll perform better when you feel confident.
- Better resilience. Confidence, or believing in yourself, can enhance your resilience, or ability to bounce back from any challenges or adversities you face in life.
- Improved relationships. Having a healthy dose of self-confidence can help keep your relationships happy and healthy potentially because people with self-confidence tend to set stronger boundaries and prioritize their own needs and emotions. Having self-confidence not only impacts how you feel about yourself, but it helps you better understand and love others. It also gives you the strength to walk away if you’re not getting what you deserve.
Confidence is deeply rooted in our understanding of self-esteem and self-worth, which are not the same things. Self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves based on external measures. Accomplishments, achievements, appearance and success all play a role in developing our sense of self-esteem.
Self-worth, on the other hand, is about the value we place on ourselves simply for being who we are. Imperfect, flawed and accepted just as we are. While this sense of worthiness can be more abstract to understand, it is this element that deeply effects our overall confidence. Self- worth is something that many of us have struggled with or continue to struggle with but is pivotal to confidence and self-acceptance.
This is where we begin. By learning to love and trust ourselves, we begin the process of understanding and self-acceptance. This acceptance provides the foundation for confidence in every area of life. Once your own voice…your own opinion…is the one that takes priority, everything changes.
Here’s a breakdown of how you can change your understanding of value, worth and esteem, which will ultimately shift your confidence.
1. Love Yourself
This may seem like an obvious one but trust me – it’s not. Loving yourself doesn’t mean buying a new dress or a pair of awesome shoes.
True love for yourself comes from nurturing and taking care of your needs. It comes from seeing your positive characteristics AND your flaws, and being ok with it all.
And it comes from putting yourself first. No, that doesn’t imply that you are an egoistic person. It means that you’ve begun to appreciate your uniqueness and celebrate your strengths, as well as your flaws.
2. Watch The Negativity
Throughout the day, your mind keeps up the chatter about all sorts of things, most of which you don’t even consciously notice. For example: sometimes you get angry, frustrated, or scared—and you don’t really know why. This happens because you are not aware of your negative thought patterns.
Negative thoughts have this nasty habit of coming into your mind and shaking you to your very core. If you don’t do anything about it, you are left with a bunch of glitches that keep you from achieving your goals. So how can you overcome them? I will dig deeper into this topic in another article but, for now, let’s say that there are two ways to deal with negative thoughts: clear your mind and replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
Meditation is one of the best ways to clear your mind. A lot of people have a hard time seeing themselves sitting in quiet and simply breathing for 10-15 minutes. We all are so used to running through life, working, being with our family and friends, watching TV, or reading books in our spare time. But meditation allows us to slow down. To create space. And within the space created by meditation, there is clarity.
I’ve created a free resource to help with your meditation flow. You can access it here.
4. Stop the Comparison
Whether you compare how you look to your friends on Facebook or you compare your salary to your friend’s income, comparisons aren’t healthy. Often we are comparing ourselves to a perceived image of success or worse, a socially-constructed persona that isn’t actually real.
Pay attention to times when you compare your wealth, possessions, skills, achievements, and attributes. Thinking that other people are better or have more will erode your confidence in yourself. When you notice you are drawing comparisons, remind yourself that doing so isn’t helpful. We all have our own journey…There is no competition.
Here are a few tips to help free yourself from the trap of comparison:
- Be kind. When you’re being your best self, you may be less prone to compare yourself to others or focus on the things that you lack. Helping others, especially those less fortunate than you, can provide a great perspective on how blessed you truly are in life.
- Count your blessings. If you’re feeling envious of someone else’s life, remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Consider keeping an ongoing gratitude journal to help you focus on your own life and not the lives of others.
- Seek positive support. Those that constantly judge and compare, just bring out your competitive streak so if possible, avoid them completely. As you weed out the negative people in your life, it’s also important to cultivate a tribe of people who support and motivate you to be your best self, and who remind you of the good in you.
5. Practice Self-Compassion
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, look back on the past or experience a shortcoming. Engaging in beating yourself up over failures, won’t motivate you to do better and even has the opposite effect.
Rather than beat yourself up or call yourself names, try speaking to yourself like you’d talk to a trusted friend. Cut yourself some slack, laugh at yourself, and remind yourself that no one is perfect.
6. Engage in Positive Self-Talk
Using self-talk that is optimistic can help you foster self-compassion, embrace self-doubt, and take on new challenges.
- Instead of telling yourself “I can’t handle this,” or “This is impossible,” try reminding yourself that “You can handle it”.
- Instead of telling yourself “I can do nothing right,” when you make a mistake, remind yourself “at least I learned something.”
- Instead of saying you “hate” public speaking, use a milder word like “don’t like”.
7. Feel the Fear (and do it anyway)
Sometimes, people put off doing things—like inviting someone on a date or applying for a promotion—until they feel more confident. But sometimes, the best way to gain confidence is by doing. Try doing things that your brain tells you that you can’t.
Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.
You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. Each time you move forward you gain a little more confidence in yourself.
Above all, the relationship that you have with yourself must change. Your sense of worth…not on external things like a job title or financial status….must change. You must connect to who you are and the value that you bring to every relationship. This is the key.
In the end, ask for help. We live in a very busy world and every day brings new challenges. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to try to solve everything on their own.
Achieving your goals, finding success and changing how you see yourself is something that I can help you with. Trust your instincts. Reach out.
PS: It takes 21 days to develop a new habit, and 90 days for that habit to become a way of life. That’s 3 months that, at the end of which, your life could look very different.
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.