Self-confidence can be a tricky thing to navigate — it comes in waves, sending you up into "I'm the bomb.com" territory and back down in the slumps where "I'm not worthy" lives. But that's exactly why it's important to work on your self-confidence and accept that you're awesome — it's exhausting moving from one extreme to the next. And that's what it usually feels like: You either believe that you're the most interesting, sparkling person in the room (enter hair flip here) or you believe no one likes you and that you look like a mountain troll that lumbered out of its nest for the night. There's usually not much middle ground in terms of feeling.
To that I say, let's move on. Let's instead accept that we're pretty darn great, regardless of our errors, our embarrasing moments, and our failures. If anything, those blimps only make us more interesting. But how do you get to accepting that idea? It takes a little bit of patience, a lot of self love, and a willingness to treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer someone you love. So are you ready? Below are seven tips on how to work on your self-confidence, and buckle it down once and for all.
1. Start Thinking Of Yourself As Your Best Friend
Sometimes beating yourself up comes naturally — you do something embarrassing or cringe-worthy, and out comes a tirade of negative self talk and lectures on how you're never good at anything. As you can imagine, that does nothing to build up your self-confidence, and all it does is makes you scared to try new things in fear of failure.
So to curb that knee-jerk reaction, it's time to view yourself as your best friend. Show yourself the same kindness, support, and encouragement you would to your favorite pal when they come to you with an insecurity or problem.
Steve Errey, confidence coach and contributor at Lifehack, offered, "Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or over-thinking. Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back — what would you want to say to them?" My money is on the bet that you wouldn't tear them down. Treat yourself the same way.
2. Become Aware Of Your Negative Self Talk
Even if you're trying to jump the hurdle of your constant second-guessing and unintentional self-berrating, sometimes a little negative self talk slips through. In order to foster your self confidence, make a conscious effort to pay attention to the vocabulary you use when you talk to yourself. For example, how many times do you use the words "can't," "not yet," or "not good enough?"
Errey pointed out, "Learn to catch yourself every single time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get or aren’t good enough to get what you want." Banish those words from your vocab!
3. Don't Make Your Weaknesses Your Identity
We all have our weaknesses — some of us are anxious in big groups, others might have a tendancy to fail a couple of times before they succeed, while others might want to say "no" more times than "yes." But whatever your weakness, it's important not to identify with it as your actual identity.
We all run into our own snags from time to time, but those failures and blimps aren't what make us, us. They're just a normal part of navigating life, and it's important for your self confidence to realize the difference.
Mental health expert Dr. John Grohol at Psych Central said, " We all suck from time to time. The solution isn’t to wallow in suck-age as the core of your identity, but to acknowledge it and move on." So every time you suck, just shake it off. That moment was an exception, not a rule.
4. Accept Present You, Not Past Or Future You
It's hard to grow a strong sense of self-confidence when you keep comparing yourself to a version of yourself that doesn't exist. Whether you're measuring yourself to a younger you that was more of a go-getter, or measuring yourself up to a standard of yourself you hope to hit in the future, it does nothing for your esteem if you're constantly setting yourself up to fail. Because that's what you're doing: That version of you doesn't exist, so what's actually the point of you comparing yourself to that? Other than making yourself feel blue?
Grohol offered, "Instead, I evaluate myself based upon what’s going on in my life right now, not some distant past version of me. Keep adjusting your self-image and self-esteem to match your current abilities and skills, not those of your past." When you take a moment to take stock in and feel proud of what you've accomplished now, today, then you have a shot of appreciating your hard work and your abilities, rather than tearing yourself down for not meeting an impossible standard.
5. Get In The Habit Of Achieving Small Goals
Nothing makes you want to fist bump the air faster than achieving a small goal that's been on your to-do list for ages. So to bolster your self-confidence, get into the habit of setting up small goals you can continually achieve, proving to yourself you can attain things if only you put your mind to it and try.
Psychiatrist Neel Burton, M.D., wrote for Psychology Today, "Set yourself a challenge that you can realistically achieve, and then go for it! For example, take up yoga, learn to sing, or cook for a small dinner party at your apartment or house." They don't need to be massive goals, just realistic, every-day ones. Once you get into the habit of winning, trying out harder ones won't seem so far-fetched or limited to you.
6. Do A Two-Minute Pep Talk Every Day
Another great habit to get into every day is giving yourself a self-love pep talk for about two minutes, going over all the great things you enjoyed about yourself that day.
Lifestyle writer Henrik Edberg at self development site The Positivity Blog suggested, "Take a deep breath, slow down and ask yourself this question: what are 3 things I can appreciate about myself?" Maybe you bought someone coffee just to make them smile, or you turned off the TV and picked up a book, or did your roommates dishes. This proves to you that you're an awesome and caring person, and it'll help you believe in it and act it more often.
7. Don't Be Scared Of The Negative Outcomes
Failure, embarrassment, cringe-y moments is all apart of life and our experiences! Don't hide away from them, but take them in stride and learn from there. Sure your cheeks might prick pink with mortification from time to time, but that shouldn't do a thing to your self-confidence because striking out is apart of playing the game.
Errey pointed out, "Acknowledge and welcome all of your experiences — the good stuff as well as the bad stuff. It’s all equally valid and hiding things away because you don’t like them is just creating conflict."
Become accepting of all the good, bad, and ugly and make a solid effort to practice self love, and you'll finally begin to accept you're awesome, through and through!