by Peter Minkoff
Contributing Author, a passionate writer, professional fashion, lifestyle, and health, expert
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-confidence as confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities. We all have strengths, things we’re amazing at, traits that make us wonderful human beings. However, we have one, as Shakespeare called it ‘tragic flaw’ – there are times when, either due to internal pressure to achieve more, other people’s expectations or even harsh criticism, we begin to doubt all these qualities. For some reason, we tend to believe criticism more than compliments, and sometimes it takes a hundred ‘you’re so smart’ comments to erase just a single ‘you’re incompetent’ one; that negative one tends to be etched in our brains. Well, it’s time we put an end to this madness and stopped letting ourselves be belittled, by ourselves or anyone else. It’s easier than you might think, but you have to start, and these ten basic steps are guaranteed to get you on the right path so you can finally soar instead of plummeting.
10 Basic Steps to Building Self-Confidence
You know what they say – acknowledging the problem is the first step towards solving it. Therefore, you need to sit down in front of a mirror and say to yourself that you have a self-confidence issue. Become aware of the problem, be mindful of it. By this simple act of acknowledgment, you begin your journey, you begin to distance yourself from the negative perceptions of yourself. As soon as you say them out loud, they become less true.
All those negative and self-deprecating thoughts you have swirling around your head were told to you at one point or another, and in time, they’ve become internalized. You don’t even remember them being told to you; you simply believe them to be true. Well, everything that is learned can be unlearned, and positive affirmations can be of great help. Whenever you think that you’re, for instance, lazy, recall at least one event that proves otherwise and notes it down. Do this every day. Every negative thought can be turned into a positive one. You simply have to reach deep and dig for the good and write it down, so it never slips your mind again.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is giving in to meditation. Not only will this help you master the art of mindful living, but it will also allow you to shut the world out and focus on yourself. Meditation is known to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, improve self-confidence and even help you forge connections and boost your emotional intelligence.
There are times when our lack of self-confidence stems from being surrounded by toxic people. The first thing you need to do is identify the toxic people in your life, the ones who are always negative and frequently put you down, and essentially remove them from your life. It’s amazing how liberated you will feel, but don’t stop there. Find new people, like-minded people who lift you up, see you and celebrate every little achievement of yours.
When you’re down and out, one of the best things you can do is take up new activities and hobbies. Not only will these activities fill your time and leave you with little room for negative thoughts, but the more you know, the more worthy you feel. So, do something you’ve always wanted to do – travel to a foreign country, learn a new language, take up hiking, painting, join a photography class, go to music festivals. This won’t just make you more interesting to others, but you’ll see yourself as a more interesting person who has a lot to offer as well.
Being single is fantastic, but so is being in a relationship. Now, if you’ve done the steps suggested up until now, you are most likely ready to enter a relationship. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to send signals and flirt. If you’re already in a relationship, don’t be afraid to show and receive love. As far as being in a long distance relationship goes, if you find yourself in this less than desirable romantic situation, don’t be afraid of being honest to yourself and see whether you deserve more than face-timing with someone instead of having a physically present person there with you. Whatever your romantic situation is, just keep reminding yourself that you’re worthy of the best, and don’t be afraid of conveying your needs.
Aside from having an enormous impact on your health, physical activity can actually serve to improve your mood, and not just instantly, but in the long run as well. Now, let’s be honest, being fit and healthy greatly helps with body-image issues, which are inextricably linked to self-confidence. So by taking up some form of exercise, you’re actually getting a double win in your battle towards better self-confidence.
Shatter the myth
Understand once and for all that nobody, literally nobody in this world is perfect. Thanks to platforms such as Instagram we may be fooled into thinking that the grass is greener on every side (and feed) you look, but it’s not. No one has it all, so just do your best in everything you do, give it a 100% and know that it’s good enough.
It’s ok to fail
As you aren’t perfect, you are bound to sometimes fail at something, and you need to realize that that’s perfectly okay. Failure is not the root of self-confidence issues; it’s the way you handle it. Therefore, you need to dust yourself off when you fall flat on your face and figuratively get back on the horse. Find the lesson, retrace your steps and you won’t repeat the same mistakes. In the end, mistakes make for the best lessons.
You know that thing we said about being kind to yourself? Well, apply it to other people as well. It doesn’t matter what you do – from the cliché act of helping someone cross the street to being an attentive listener and supporter of your friends and family – it all counts. The feeling of having done something that will positively affect another human being is fulfilling and the knowledge that you were responsible for something good in someone else’s life is one of the biggest confidence-boosters there is.
Peter is a health writer at HighStyleLife magazine, living between Europe and New Zealand. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.