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‘The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.’ (Unknown)
A friend once asked me, ‘where does your self-confidence come from?’ To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it before but it got me thinking. Sure I’m confident but I have moments of self-doubt like everyone.
I had a fragmented, unstable upbringing that had its challenges. These are potential risk factors for later in life but I hold it together… most of the time! After reflecting on my own situation, here are some thoughts if you’re looking to improve your self-confidence.
Surround yourself with people who validate and believe in you:
Looking back, there were a few key people in my life who gave me unconditional positive regard when it mattered. (see Carl Rogers, Humanistic Psychologist) This helped me see myself as worthy and valuable.
You are more powerful than you think:
Growing up, I didn’t take my disadvantaged situation personally or believed the world had it in for me. I believed I could turn things around and that empowered me.
Focus on the positive stuff:
I tried to shine a light on my strengths and this boosted my confidence. Most people spend a lot of time focusing on what they feel they lack which erodes self-confidence. Each person is unique so focus on those things that make you so and ignore the rest.
Give things a go:
Avoidance is a common response to anxiety. Avoiding things erodes confidence. It’s a cliché but facing your fears, even in a wobbly way, empowers and builds self-esteem. When you see yourself behaving competently, it can provide a huge boost to your self-confidence.
Being happy is the best response:
If people wronged you or didn’t take care of you properly, your best response is to be happy, as this can free up the mental energy you use to hold grudges against them. The result – more confidence.
Don’t wait to feel confident enough to try something. The trick is to ‘just do it’ and your confidence will grow from this alone. Even if you don’t succeed straightaway, it’s amazing how the action of striving has a positive effect on your confidence.
Take care and be kind to each other