Many of us wish we were a little more confident. Maybe we don’t feel great about the way we look, or feel like an imposter in our jobs. Maybe we struggle with insecurities or limiting beliefs, that hold us back from reaching our full potential.
The thing is: having a solid foundation of self-worth is so important for our mental health and well-being. Confidence gives us the courage to pursue our goals and ask for what we want in life, and makes us more resilient. It helps us handle constructive criticism and also frees us from comparisons - not because we think we're better than others, but because when you come to accept yourself on your own terms, your self-worth no longer depends on external metrics or opinions.
If you struggle with self-esteem, that's not just 'how you are'. Like many things, confidence is a skill. Just like a muscle, it's something we can develop and strengthen over time.
Here are some tips to help you grow your confidence.
1. Celebrate your strengths
If you struggle with confidence, it's likely you're susceptible to negativity bias, also known as the 'magnification and minimisation' thinking style. This is the tendency to notice or magnify the positive attributes of others and your own flaws, while overlooking your own positive attributes.
Once you identify this tendency within yourself, you can begin to challenge it.
Write a list of everything you like about yourself. If this feels difficult, think about how someone close to you might describe you. Your list could be quite short to start off with: are you a kind friend? A good story-teller? A hard worker? Keep adding to your list, and keep a copy of it that you can refer back to when you're feeling low.
2. Change the narrative
Joan Didion once wrote that we are the stories we tell ourselves.
The more we tell ourselves...
- "I'm not good enough"
- "I can't do that"
- "This is just who I am"
...these stories become self-fulfilling prophecies.
But stories can be rewritten. When you can identify the beliefs you hold about yourself as stories, rather than facts, you can begin to challenge them.
What narratives have you constructed about yourself that might be limiting your confidence?
Want to watch the full class? Download MindLabs from the App Store to start your free trial.
3. Repeat positive affirmations
Words are powerful. If you hear something enough, you'll eventually begin to believe it.
Choose some affirmations that resonate with you and write them down: stick them on your mirror, keep them by your bed and repeat them whenever you need a confidence boost. It may feel awkward at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it will feel.
Want to learn more about affirmations? Check out this video from our mindfulness queen, Anne-Sophie.
4. Fake it til you make it
Just as the physical act of smiling can trick your brain into feeling happy, going through the motions of confidence can help to grow your self-belief. The more you hold your head up high, repeat positive mantras and say yes to the things that scare you, the more confident you will feel!
5. Surround yourself with positive influences
Spend time with people who uplift and inspire you and allow you to be your authentic self. Both on and offline, set boundaries with people who make you feel bad about yourself.
Want to grow your confidence? Download the MindLabs app to watch classes on cultivating self-compassion, challenging limiting beliefs and letting go of the need to compare yourself to others.