A lack of confidence can be annoying at best, stopping us from asking questions for fear of being laughed at. At worst, it’s debilitating; crushing what little self-esteem we’re desperately holding onto. But lack of confidence and self-esteem often go hand-in-hand, causing us to hold ourselves back. To hide, and to withdraw from the world.
We become incapable of being our best selves, simply because the voice inside tells us that we’re not worthy. It’s time to take control. Read on for 7 ways to improve your confidence and boost your self-esteem, so that you can be your authentic self in the best way possible.
1. Embrace self-acceptance and self-awareness
In this crazy, comparative world we live in, we are all unique. But the media does a really good job of making us feel like we’re not good enough, with social media posts portraying the perfect insta-body, the perfect insta-home. Adverts on TV and in the magazines do a great job of tapping into our aspirations and leaving us wanting more. They prey on our desires, dazzling us with beauty and grandior, in the hopes of getting us to part with our hard-earned cash.
There’s a constant need to have more, be more, and do better. Which can result in a serious lack of appreciation for who we already are, and what we already have. As such, to redevelop a healthy level of self-esteem, it’s imperative that we embrace and accept ourselves. Yes, even those parts of you that you perceive to be imperfections.
How to become more self-aware
But how can you do this? Well, you can start by paying attention to that negative voice in your head that’s constantly putting you down. You know, the one that tells you people don’t really like you. Or that no-one wants to talk to you. Or that your body/hair/nose will never be as perfect or as beautiful as Charlize Theron in that Dior advert (yes, that one).
When you start to become aware of your own thoughts, behaviours and habits, you can see where you can begin to make a change. Tip: I suggest keeping a diary here, and you can track your thoughts using our free exclusive workbook. (More on this below.)
2: Positive Affirmations: Silence the inner critic – switch your thinking
That negative voice in our heads is a sneaky one. It runs on automatic pilot in the background, often without you even realising. But becoming more self-aware can really help with catching it mid-flow. And with practice, you can catch these negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
Let’s look at an example. You pass a friend in the street and smile hello at them, only for them to avert their eyes, keep their head down, and fail to acknowledge your existence. Suddenly, your negative voice is on high alert. What have I done? Has someone said something? Why doesn’t she want to talk to me? What’s wrong with me?
Actually, it’s entirely possible that they’re having a bad day and really don’t feel like talking to anyone. It’s easy to assume that everyone else has it together. But in reality, we all have days where that negative voice runs amuck and can affect how we interact with others. So, instead of thinking ‘nobody likes me,’ you can switch it up to ‘I am loved.’
Positive affirmations examples
Here are some examples of positive affirmations:
- Nobody likes me > I am loved
- Something bad might happen > I am safe
- I’m so fed up > I am happy
- I have nothing > I have everything I need
- I’m ugly > I’m beautiful
I get it. I know how difficult it is to view yourself in a positive light when you’re feeling really low. Which is why this stuff is so important. A good way to help with this is to focus on the positives, which we’ll look at below.
3. Big Yourself Up
Self-reflection doesn’t always mean looking for the negatives. Seeking out your positive points is a great way to start building your self-esteem and self-confidence in how you look and feel. Whether that be part of your physical appearance that you love, or a personality trait that you like about yourself, it can really help you to see yourself in a more positive light.
Another way of making yourself feel better is to think about something that you are grateful for, or that made you smile today. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just something like how your child gave you a cuddle this morning, or how someone nodded a ‘hello’ at you. Notice how the sun is shining, or if it’s windy, wet, and cold outside, how nice it is to snuggle up in the warm with a blanket. It’s amazing how a change of perspective can impact our thought processes.
4. Set boundaries – Surround yourself with positive people
Being in a negative environment can trigger and amplify low self-esteem, which is why it’s important to surround yourself with positive people and create a positive environment for yourself. Constantly being put down by others, or engaging in negative talk creates a low vibe. Conversely, being surrounded by people who don’t gossip, who will lift you up when you’re down, and generally take a positive view, can really impact how you feel about yourself, too.
Learning to set boundaries can be really helpful to keep the negative interactions to a minimum. Examples might include restricting yourself on social media, or knowing when to speak up for yourself and telling others if something doesn’t sit right with you.
5. Practice self-care – move your body
Exercise doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day and start pumping iron. A gentle walk can do wonders for your mental health and help maintain a positive attitude. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day can increase your mood, energy, and mental alertness. It also helps to release lots of happy hormones. The result is a positive, compounding effect on how you feel in yourself.
Another note on self-care – don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. As detailed on the Mind website, being tired can affect performance and subsequently, have a knock-on effect on your self-esteem. So practising good sleep habits are equally important. Plus, exercise helps you sleep better, and good sleep makes you feel fresher. So it’s a win/win.
6. Connect with nature – get outside
Spending time in nature has an incredible effect on your overall well-being. It reduces stress and improves physical health (think of all that lovely fresh air!). And it has a wonderful ability to change your perspective. Whether it’s a warm, balmy sunny afternoon, or a blustery, breezy autumn day, connecting with nature can bring a sense of peace. Which can also help you to be at peace with yourself.
7. Celebrate your past successes
If you’re really struggling to think of some positives, think back to a time in the past where you’ve been proud of yourself. List some things you achieved and remember why you did them, and the feelings of accomplishment that came with them. It can be anything, from completing your education, to getting married, to having children.
Strong self-esteem comes with having confidence in your abilities. Remembering things you have accomplished in the past can really help to strengthen your belief in yourself. Use this as a foundation to build your confidence.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. But when you’re already struggling, it can feel very hard to know where to start. Confidence coaching/self-esteem coaching can be really helpful in getting to the root cause of your low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
As well as going into more depth on the points we’ve touched on above, there is plenty of space in the workbook to help you record your thoughts.
Here’s what’s included:
- Walk-through on how to boost self-esteem
- Practical exercises and prompts including:
- Daily thought tracker
- Dedicated space for your own affirmations
- Section to monitor negative thought triggers/help to create boundaries
- Space for you to focus on your favourite activities
- An area to highlight everything that makes you feel good.
Just click the button below to download your free workbook.
If you’d like to know more about self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-belief, take a look at some of the other posts you might like over on the blog.
Hey I’m Natalie, Supporting women like you on their road to self-acceptance and building their self-esteem is – as cliche as it sounds – my calling.