Confidence is about feeling good in our own skin. It is about knowing ourselves well and learning to live with this person.
Here are three small confidence-boosting “nudges” that you can practice daily to help you become more self-assured:
1.Pay attention to how you look and present yourself
Confidence is the positive affair with your self-image.
It’s barely a secret that first impressions matter. How you carry yourself matters. How you come across, the image you want to project matter. If you go to a business meeting where you make acquaintance with new people, for instance, and wear casual clothes, you may have a challenging time building trust and respect.
The best part, though–you don’t have to break the bank to buy expensive clothes or do plastic surgery or use lots of makeup. It’s all about looking composed, carrying yourself with respect. An advice I was given a while ago by a former manager has served me really well: “Always dress accordingly to the position you want to have, not your current one.”
Never underestimate the mental shortcuts and the biases people resort to. Use them in your favour.
2. Devote time to yourself and do what makes you happy
Confidence is about self-fulfillment.
We are all so busy with our lives–errands, chores, work, family–these take up most of our time. We often neglect to take care of the most important person in our universe–ourselves. We may have even forgotten how to make ourselves happy.
And this is not good for your confidence.
Every day, I devote my lunch hour to myself. I don’t take phone calls, don’t check my email and social media. I spend time with myself. Do things that make me and only me happy–go to the gym, take a walk, go to my favourite spot for lunch. It makes me feel good–doing something for myself that is mine only.
Being there for others is important, of course, but don’t forget that you are also the person who knows you best and can find the best ways to make yourself feel good.
And don’t underestimate the power that self-care and a bit of pampering may have on your mental health and self-esteem. A little dose of selfishness is needed for confidence.
3. Learn self-acceptance
Confidence is about feeling good to be yourself.
Self-acceptance is a bit like a Catch-22 situation, though. On one hand, being too self-accepting may mean that you like the status quo and you wouldn’t be too interested in changing the Current You. On the other hand, though, being too self-criticising is not great either–it may throw you into a perpetual battle with yourself–to do better, to always strive for perfection, to never be satisfied with your achievements.
So, what is the right way to self-accept?
The first step to self acceptance is self-knowledge. Because you can’t really accept what you are not aware of, right? So, make it a habit of purposely getting to know yourself. For instance, every morning, as part of my confidence-boosting ritual, one of the things I tell my self is: 1 thing that I like--and try to be quite specific. For instance–one of my favourite books is the Godfather, or that one of my most-liked dishes is Greek salad, or that I like working with numbers.
The point is that this exercise reinforces your identity. It makes you think consciously about who you are, your likes, dislikes, your preferences. It’s great for self-exploring.
The second step to self-acceptance is to acknowledge that you are not perfect. No one is. You have good parts (externally and internally), ok parts and a side of you that needs work. And this is absolutely fine–it’s pretty much how most people are.
The right way to accept yourself so that you can become more confident with the person living in your body is to NOT to say to yourself things as: “You are so stupid. You are not worth it. No one likes you.” All these things are not motivating, they have the opposite effect. They put you down, drown your energy and won’t spur any action on your side.
Disliking yourself this way makes you lose self-respect.
Rather, your internal dialogue should be along the lines of: “I know I’m not perfect. I know I need to work on my social skills/ grades/ relationships/ etc. and I will get there.” This sets a much more positive tone, acknowledges that you are work-in-progress, and reinforces your self-belief that you can persevere.
And finally, also remember that no one is confident all the time, no matter how they appear. We all need an occasional boost, priming, or a nudge to our self-assurance.
All that matters is that you continue to believe in your stars–that regardless of what happens, you will be able to get on your feet again and will continue to evolve.