“Confidence is key.”
“Just believe in yourself.”
“Confidence is sexy.”
“Be comfortable in your own skin.”
We’ve all heard these sayings and while there’s truth to them, it’s easier said than done. Confidence can ebb and flow and for a lot of us we can usually remember much more clearly when our confidence was low. Perhaps there was a job change, weight gain, a breakup; these life experiences can affect a person's confidence.
So where does confidence come from?
Childhood is a major root of a person’s confidence. Was there enough emotional support, was there independence and trust to make the best decision you could or was there minimal engagement with others, doubt from trusted family members, minimal outlets for skill building, etc.? If your experience was more closely related to the latter, then self-esteem may be a struggle as an adult. The good news is that self-esteem and confidence can be addressed and improve.
One way to increase self-confidence is by challenging negative self-talk. Our brain and thoughts are running throughout the day and a lot of times we’re not very mindful about the content or quality of our thoughts. By setting aside intentional time to identify major negative reoccurring thoughts or beliefs you hold about yourself and challenging those can be a great start to increasing confidence. Ask yourself if these thoughts are factual or just personal assumptions. If they’re not based in reality, challenge yourself to reframe the thoughts in a positive light.
Example: “I always mess up everything I do.”
Reframed: “I may have made mistakes before, but I am capable of learning from them and improving my skills.”
Next possible way to help boost confidence would be to practice self-compassion. We all know the golden rule: “treat others how you want to be treated.” Well challenge yourself to treat yourself how you’d treat a friend. We tend to be far more understanding and forgiving of others than we are to ourselves and that doesn’t make much sense. I too am a human being worthy of acceptance, kindness, respect, and compassion and should treat myself as such. How I provide myself with self-compassion can come in different ways. It can look like forgiving myself for not getting to certain tasks that day, it can look like self-care via a spa day, exercise, or reading a good book, or it can look like reminding myself of all the good things I’ve accomplished. Don’t allow yourself to be your weakest cheerleader.
Thirdly, we can focus on setting realistic goals as a means of achieving greater confidence. Set yourself up for success by identifying a personal, timely, and achievable goal and completing those objectives. We tend to strive for larger goals and then do not even take the time to appreciate accomplishing those larger goals. It is important to identify and acknowledge smaller personal goals such as beginning a workout program, eliminating soda, spending 25% more time outdoors, etc. Setting and accomplishing more short term goals can help boost confidence by reinforcing skills and possibly learning new ones along the way.
Ultimately confidence will ebb and flow over time. How we manage the lower states of our self-esteem is paramount to long term confidence. Take these tools and make them a priority if self-esteem has been a challenge. Sometimes if these are too difficult to start or maintain, it can be helpful to reach out to a mental health professional. Make yourself a priority.
If you would like to talk to a professional, we have a team of Licensed Professional Counselors available to help. Give us a call at 210-495-3131 or contact us directly here to schedule a consultation.