When I was young, I was a very happy kid. I played around with other children, had many friends, and while I was slightly shy, I still had no problem talking to people. As I grew up, I learned that being chubby and smart made people dislike me for my appearance and envy me for my intelligence. As they began to shun me, I became quite lonely and withdrew to my room and my computer to ease the pain.
I had a few friends, and they made life a little brighter, but I was still unhappy and felt so bad about how I looked, also dumbing myself down so people would like me. By the time I was 18, nature helped me out. I grew into my body, and suddenly I wasn’t fat anymore, but that chubby little kid was still there in the back of my mind.
The young, hurt child inside of me kept me insecure about my looks, as well as forced me to play dumb, with the fear that I’ll lose friends and be lonely again if I was perceived to be too smart. I was failing school because I didn’t want to seem smart, I was failing at my love life because I had no self-confidence, and I started to believe that nothing other than bleakness awaited me in my future.
Lucky for me, I managed to pull myself out of the mire and learned a few ways to boost my self-confidence. I’m now happy, married and have a career that I love. I'm also blessed with many friends who love me for who I am. It’s now my turn to help those who might still be having problems with their own self-confidence by showing you a few methods to boost it.
First, you should identify what you’re good at: We are all good at one thing at least, so find what you can do well. You might not be the best in that field, but as long as you do what you do well, you can improve and take pride in your expertise.
Try expressing yourself through a form of art you like – this is a real confidence booster and a great way to meet like-minded people. Friends who share your interests can make you feel more accomplished and push you forward.
If you can’t think of anything you’re good at, think of something you’d like to do – then go and do it! It doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail, trying is the most important step!
Once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, and your confidence will start to grow.
Second, you must take pride in your good qualities: Yes, being humble is important, but if you’re good at something, don’t be embarrassed about it. Celebrate it and be happy that you possess such qualities – they make you a better person. Remember – you can take pride in your accomplishments and behavior while still retaining your humility.
If you start doubting yourself because of one weakness or another, remember that you have good qualities and strengths, and those are the things that define you, rather than your weaknesses.
Third, identify your insecurities: What do you think is holding you back? Is it that little voice in the back of your head? The way you look? Something you’re ashamed of? Find whatever it is that’s dragging you down and write it on a piece of paper. By giving it a name and writing it down on a piece of paper, you make it a tangible object. Next, TEAR THE PAPER UP! This is a psychological trick that makes your brain think that you’re ripping up the actual weakness.
Next, talk about it: Find a loved one or a friend that you trust and bare your soul. Sharing lightens the burden, and another person can offer perspective, pointing out things you might have missed. This is what friends and family are for! Even if that person can’t help you solve the problem, just talking about it can help.Don’t let past mistakes bring you down: We all make mistakes constantly, but wallowing in self-pity after you make one only serves to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s a crippling behavior that ruins self-confidence and prevents you from actually learning from the mistake (believe me, I’ve been there too many times!). Remember that most billionaires had several failed business and moments when they thought it was all over for them, but they never let it stop them getting to where they wanted to be.
Turn negative into positive: The song goes: “when you’re smiling – the whole world smiles with you”, and it can’t be more accurate. Avoid the Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys. When you surround yourself with negative thoughts and people, you dictate the conversation of your life. If you keep telling yourself ‘no’ – you’ll never hear a ‘yes.' Look for the silver lining in every situation. Finding a positive spin in a negative situation will help you get through hard times and identify opportunities in bad situations.
Avoid comparisons: Yes, there’s always someone better – they can be richer, prettier, in better shape, etc. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive to improve – instead of looking at people you think are “better” than you, look at how you can improve. You might not be as fit as that person in the gym, but if you keep exercising, you’ll lose weight, look better and feel better. Don’t be jealous of that person at work who seems smarter than you – find what you might be doing that needs improvement and work on that. Strive for improvement, not perfection.
Be grateful: When someone compliments you, take the compliment and thank the person. There’s nothing wrong with it and it doesn’t make you seem boastful. Usually, when someone compliments you, they’re showing appreciation of you. When you refuse to accept the compliment, you’re rejecting someone’s honest appreciation.
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Help others: Many studies have shown that when we help others, it releases dopamine in our brain, making us happier. When you help other people, it gives you a sense of control, purpose and benevolence, and all three are amazing confidence-boosters.
Make eye contact: When you’re talking to another person, avoid looking at the ground or away. It sends a message that your confidence is low or that you don’t want to talk to them. Make eye contact instead - it shows them that you value them and makes them respond in kind, creating a positive cycle that builds confidence.
Take care of yourself: Personal grooming is a huge factor in confidence building. When you groom yourself and dress well, people say you “look like a million dollars”. Whether we admit it or not, our self-worth is influenced by our looks, so looking better makes us feel better!
Spend time with loved ones: Avoid people who make you feel negativity and spend more time with those who encourage and support you. These people build you up, push you on and help you grow confidence in yourself and in your actions.
Don’t fear the unknown: Sticking to what you know will make your world a small and gray place. Try new things instead - take on new challenges, meet new people and try new food. It might not all work out perfectly, but you’ll gain experience, knowledge and maybe pick up a few new friends along the way.
I hope these tips will help you as much as they helped me. If you have more ideas or ways of boosting confidence, let me know by leaving a Facebook comment.
By: Jonathan P.