Knowing how to build self-confidence is vital to reducing stress and overwhelm so you can enjoy your life and look forward to your future.
Otherwise, you’re flying by the seat of your pants hoping things go your way while your emotions (and your life) are being influenced by everyone else.
Have you had moments when you felt so confident that you wanted to bottle the feeling and preserve it for later because you knew it couldn’t last? We’ve all been there and yes, the feeling unfortunately does fade, sometimes a little and sometimes into oblivion. But there is a way to raise your confidence so that the down times are few and far between and you have the strategies to feel better quick.
Situational confidence is when you feel good about yourself when you’re doing a specific thing: dancing, singing, running, cooking, networking, business, etc. You may be rocking your wardrobe or gym workout or be spectacular at parenting or journaling. Do you agree there are other situations where you would give anything to have that same level of confidence?
You may be a superb singer. I can’t find a tune much less carry one. I would be mortified if anyone heard me sing. I even lip-sync the Happy Birthday song at parties.
Think about when you feel confident for a moment. How does it feel in your body? What expression is on your face? Do you hear angels singing or cheers from a crowd? What is your energy like …upbeat …happy …ecstatic? Like you could expertly rule the world at that very moment?
Now think of something you are not confident about. What is your facial expression now? What is your energy level …low, depressed, embarrassed, or sad? Yuck. What a difference.
There is another form of confidence that comes from inside. Self-confidence; being confident regardless of what’s going on around you. Confident for no reason is what it may look like to others as you screw something up and still feel good about yourself.
It is the first of three aspects of self-esteem and the question is, “How to build self-confidence?”
Let’s face it, it’s an inside job as friends, family, coworkers and society weighing in with their opinions of us are tentative at best and often a recipe for disaster.
I’ve read numerous articles on how to build confidence and I find the answers to be surface at best: trust yourself, be in the moment, stop comparing yourself to others, and smile when you look in the mirror. Smiling in the mirror is the only one that comes somewhat easily when you’re not feeling confident but how do we do the others? Where do we start?
Let’s dismantle the HUGE myth that our value is based on people liking us. We know it’s not true, deep down, yet it hurts when we feel left out or belittled even by someone we don’t like. Our unconscious mind takes everything personally by default. We can talk ourselves out of feeling hurt but internally, it’s there. So let’s gain some new perspective on other people’s opinions so that it’s easier to brush off what doesn’t serve us. If we can stop noticing it, we can’t take it personally. Let’s rise above what brings most of us down and also talk about how to build self-confidence with the things you can do for yourself.
New Perspective #1: Everyone sees us as a reflection of themselves and vice versa. If you like someone they have qualities you either like or want to have yourself. If you don’t like something about someone, they are reflecting back to you something you dislike about yourself or wish you had but you’re being snarky instead of modeling them to get it for yourself. Maybe they are successful and you wish you were. Maybe they are fit and you wish you were. Seeing them makes you mad at yourself because it’s another reminder that you’re not working out or becoming better at your career. Result: seeing them feels painful so you decide not to like them.
New Perspective #2: Notice whose opinion you’re valuing. Are they ultimately the kind of people you want to become? If not, and they accept you then you fit in but it’s not where you want to be. If they are the type of people you aspire to be like (we all need role models) and you’re not being accepted, why not? If you’re being yourself and not fitting in, what’s missing? Look at those you admire. Watch what they do and how they live their lives. Are they compassionate, loving, respectful and trustworthy? Are you? We attract those who are like us. And people who are like us like us. There are many, many people who portray themselves as confident and together but are secretly falling apart inside.
New Perspective #3: Realize there is not one person everyone likes. It can be challenging but we have to stop beating ourselves up when people don’t like us. Consider this:
- 25% won’t like you no matter what
- 25% won’t like you but may be persuaded to
- 25% will like you but may be persuaded not to
- 25% will like you and will stand behind you no matter what
Now how do you feel about wanting to please everyone? It’s a losing battle and your self-confidence will never improve while you’re goal is impossible to reach.
New Perspective #4: Personality styles can support or destroy relationships. If you don’t understand the basics of personality styles, you don’t have all the pieces to your puzzle. In other words, if you are a “sounds fun let’s do it” person and someone close to you is a “give me all the details, time to research and two weeks to decide” person, you’re likely to clash. Worse, this can wreak havoc on your self-confidence. You question yourself as to why you don’t see eye-to-eye or why they don’t understand you or you them.
Quick story: I’m a jump in with both feet person. My dad is a details and think about it for days or weeks person. I used to wonder why he didn’t want to do things with me and if he really liked me. When I learned personality styles, it all made sense. I give him details and time to process and it made all the difference. We understand each other now and it’s a fun game of communication rather than pain and fear on my part.
New Perspective #5: Not getting our needs met causes insecurity. As humans, we need community, variety, significance and certainty. That means if we’re not feeling connected, we can get lonely and anxious. If we don’t feel like we matter, we can be sad or depressed. If we’re not sure of our purpose, health, job security or relationship status, we can become angry, fearful, etc. You don’t know what’s going on inside someone else all of these things can affect conversations and situations. (There are ways to be sure you are meeting our own needs, which takes the pressure off your relationships.)
Strategy #1: Practice flipping from negative to positive. When you get down on yourself, quickly think of something you love or a memory of when you felt good about yourself. Use your imagination. Feel the feelings. Smell the scents and hear the sounds. Taste the wine or chocolate you love. This is call flip-switching. It takes a few minutes and gets quicker as you practice. You may need to do it a couple times to a thousand times per day. The key is to flip out of the down feeling and into a higher frequency vibration by thinking of good things and feeling the feelings. The feelings are the most important part! Feel it. Practice.
Strategy #2: Do what you’re good at to feel better quickly. When you start feeling like you’re not succeeding at something or start feeling down, take a break (even just for a few minutes) to reboot your brain like you would with a computer. (After all, the similarities are ridiculous!) Do something you can succeed at and feel good about. Remember, the feelings are where all the energy comes from. Let me ask you this. If you are working and things aren’t going well, what kind of break can you take to succeed at something? A walk, make lunch, write your feelings down (very clarifying), watch a funny cat video, check out a favorite positive page on social media? Do something you’re good at.
Strategy #3: Avoid negative news and programs. If you watch the nightly news then wonder why you have bad dreams or restless sleep, watch something funny before bed instead. If you want to see what the weather is doing without sitting through eight stories of violence and tragedy, go to a weather website instead of watching the news. If your favorite TV show is based on betrayal, revenge and violence and you can’t figure out why it’s hard to trust people, change your programs. You can’t watch or listen to negativity without absorbing it. Remember, the unconscious mind stores EVERYTHING you experience to bring it up later when something else triggers it.
Self-confidence is raised when you feel good about yourself consistently. Learn know how to flip into feel-good regardless of what’s going on around you. Pretty soon, with practice and dedication, you’ll notice you don’t get dragged down like you used to. You will also see that people model YOU and want to be happy too. You’ll be a great role model!