10 ways to build your self-confidence
Life coach and HLN’s expert in residence, Sam Hook, shares some of her secrets to finding, building and maintaining self-confidence.
Self-confidence is a skill. It’s not a trait or something we’re born with and it’s not something that comes naturally to many of us. It’s like a muscle that needs building up, in a similar way that you build your muscles at the gym. You wouldn’t go to the gym once and except to see results – and it’s the same with self-confidence.
Firstly, what is the difference between being confident and being self-confident?
Well, being confident is feeling capable about doing something because of your experience and your knowledge that you can do it. For example, you’re a trained nurse so you’re confident you can do your job as a nurse.
Self-confidence, however, is about believing in yourself no matter what. It’s about you loving the whole of you – the good and the bad – and knowing that you’re capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. It’s knowing that you have your own back.
The only place you can get self-confidence from is yourself; from your thoughts, not from doing something or from outside validation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help you get there. Below are 10 ways to work on your own self-confidence ‘muscles’:
1. Write your strengths down
Write down a list of what you’re good at and your positive qualities. Whether they’re on paper or on the notes app on your phone, make sure you keep them somewhere you will see them every day. Look at them as often as you can and especially whenever you feel unconfident or are suffering from impostor syndrome.
2. Re-write your limiting beliefs
Identify the stories and beliefs that you have been telling yourself and replace them with more helpful thoughts. Or, failing that, neutral thoughts.
3. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake
If you make a mistake and misjudge something, know that you are still capable and worthy. Be kind to yourself and show self-compassion. Everyone makes mistakes and this doesn’t change who you are as a person. Accept yourself just as you are, right now.
4. Be aware that self-confidence comes from your thoughts
Your brain’s default mode is to look for the negative and what’s wrong, so just be aware that they are just thoughts. When a negative thought about yourself pops up, just tell it to be quiet while you get on with your life. Have some confident mantras ready for when this happens to override the negative – i.e., if you have to do a presentation and you’re nervous, read your positive qualities and say: ‘I can do challenging things’.
5. Limit your negative self-talk
Your unconscious mind is listening to you 24/7 and will do its best to prove that you are right and find evidence that what you’re saying is true. So, if you say you’re shy or unconfident or have low esteem – either out loud or in your head, in all seriousness or as a joke – your subconscious will be on the lookout for examples that that is true and will make it a reality. So, before you say something negative about yourself, stop yourself and say something more helpful. For example, ‘I am becoming more confident’, or ‘my voice is getting louder’.
6. Lower your expectations
Accept that life is 50/50 in all areas, so if you’re a good mum or have a tidy house half of the time, it’s ok. If you’re happy half of the time, you are doing well. We’re not meant to be perfect and happy 100% of the time.
7. Rewrite comparison
It’s natural to compare yourselves to others who may seem more confident and successful. But instead of feeling down about it, be happy for them and feel inspired. If it’s possible for them, it’s possible for you. Turn the reason you feel inadequate into new goals for yourself.
8. Set goals
Set goals to give you fresh focus and to create excitement in your life which, in turn, builds your self-confidence. Write them down and review them regularly with a friend, mentor or coach to check you’re on track.
9. Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself can help to increase your confidence, whether that’s enrolling on a new course, learning a new skill or working with a coach. Take time to exercise regularly, either with others, in a team or alone, and eat well to boost your confidence. Ask yourself what you need. If it’s rest, take time to rest without feeling guilty.
10. Keep a note of your achievements
Write down 3 things that you’re proud of doing every night – at the end of the week, read these back and you’ll see the 21 things you did well. This is a great way to work on your self-confidence.
Sam is running a Confident You workshop on Saturday 19th February at Blackfriars, Newcastle, and also a Confident You for Teenagers workshop on Saturday 26th March. For more information and to register your interest, click here