How To Build Confidence That Lasts - What You Need To Know
Updated December 18, 2018
Reviewer Laura Angers
Why does it seem like some people are just full of confidence and others struggle to have any at all? We all have that one person we know that just radiates confidence. Envying them is easy. It's also easy to make excuses for ourselves and think that they just have confidence naturally and it's not possible for us to have the same. However, that statement is not true. The good news is you can have confidence, but you are going to have to work for it. The truth is anyone can be confident if you know how.
What Is Confidence?
Dictionary.com, defines confidence as, "belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance." Psychology Today delves a little deeper into the description: "a belief in one's ability to succeed". Striking a healthy ego-balance can be challenging. Too much overconfidence and you can come off as stuck-up or take on too much; having too little can prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities-in school, at work, in your social life, and beyond.
Let's apply what we know about confidence in real life. During a regular day confidence is what gets you to apply for the promotion at work, ask out the pretty girl or approach the cute guy, gives you the strength to ask for help without feeling stupid, and lets you go after the things that you want in life.
When you are confident, you tend not to feel the need to put others down. Confidence is not bragging about yourself, so others think you are better than you are. People that are truly confident don't worry about trying to draw attention to themselves to make sure they are being recognized. Why? Because someone that is truly confident does not need the affirmation from others to feel good about themselves.
Where Confidence Does NOT Come From
Real confidence does not come from other people. If you must have the approval of others to feel confident, then you are not truly confident. Instead, you are living off the praise of others. You don't truly believe that you are capable, you are trying to listen to what others are saying about you. It is important to find confidence from within so that your self-image isn't controlled by others.
True confidence does not come from your circumstances. It's easy to feel confident when everything in life is going well. But, a good way to test if your confidence is real is to see how you feel when things start to go wrong. What if you fail? Can your confidence remain intact when life doesn't look the way you want it to? Yes, it can, if it is true confidence.
How To Build Confidence That Lasts
Good news! Anyone can learn to be confident. True confidence comes from training and competence. It is not something that some are born with or without. If you have been living a life struggling with how to build confidence this information is what you need to hear. These eight things will help you build confidence that lasts.
- Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Each person is different. We were all born with things that we are naturally better at than others, and some things that we will never be great at no matter how hard we try. That's ok. If you want to build the real confidence you need to stop trying to be like everyone else and learn to be the best you that you can be. It sounds cliché, but it is true. In his article 9 Qualities of Truly Confident People, Dharmesh Shah wrote, "The only comparison a truly confident person makes is to the person she was yesterday - and to the person, she hopes to become someday." If you're wondering how to build confidence, stop comparing yourself with others and start working on improving yourself.
- Track Your Successes
When you see the areas that you are competent in and succeeding, you naturally begin to feel more confident. Darren Fisher of SPEARity™, a company that works with other businesses to develop leaders, teaches people to write down at least three successes that they have at the end of each day. Not feeling very successful? If you struggle with low confidence, it might be hard for you to identify three successes every day. But, you need to do it anyway. These can be simple successes like writing, "I paid my mortgage today." That might not be something you previously viewed as a success, but there are a lot of people that are unable to pay their mortgage, or they just don't care if they do it or not. Start to look at your daily life and acknowledge the areas, big or small, that you are already succeeding.
- Visualize Yourself Succeeding And Being Confident
Visualizations are a powerful tool that you can use to help build confidence. Spend time each day visualizing yourself stepping out, taking risks, and succeeding at them. This is essentially practicing being confident. Rehearse in your head the way that you will confidently respond to opportunities that you are presented with. The more you "practice", the more likely you will be to act confidently when new situations arise.
- Change Your Opinion Of Failure
Many people who fear failure also struggle with handling failure. It's hard to remain confident if you fall apart every time you fail at something. If you think that you are a "failure" because you didn't achieve exactly what you wanted at something, it will be impossible for you ever truly to feel confident. You have to change the way you think about failure.
Failure is something that you can learn from. If you look at the history of successful people in both the past and the present, their lives are scattered with failure. Even the most successful people fail-often at many different things. You've probably heard of Babe Ruth. He was an MLB baseball player that held many records including the most career home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and bases on balls. He is one of the greatest athletes in American history. But, he also struck out almost twice as many times as he hit a home run. He held the record for the most strikeouts during five different seasons. But, he is quoted as saying, "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." If Babe Ruth were afraid of failing, he would never have succeeded at the level that he did.
- Quit The Negative Self-Talk
Many people say more negative things about themselves than anyone else will ever say about them. For example, calling yourself "a failure" is different than recognizing that you didn't meet your goal. You will not succeed at building self-confidence if you are constantly knocking yourself down. Start speaking affirmations to yourself. It will feel awkward at first but stick with it. Take your list of successes each day and speak them out loud to yourself. Make a list of things that you are good at, stand in front of a mirror, and say them out loud while you look at yourself. Start building yourself up instead of tearing yourself down.
- Practice Self-Care
One of the first steps you can take in building your confidence is to take care of yourself. When you are tired, not providing yourself with proper nourishment, and not getting enough exercise it can be difficult to feel confident and good about yourself. Start by making sure that you get enough sleep every night. Instead of trying to push your work into the early morning hours, go to bed and rest. Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep a night. You will be more rested which helps you have a better outlook on life.
If you aren't exercising, it's time to get started. Physical activity helps you boost your confidence by boosting your mood and helping you feel better physically. The stronger you get, the more you feel you can accomplish. Don't forget to get outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. A simple walk outside can boost your mood instantly. Make sure you are making wise eating decisions. Drink plenty of water and choose foods that will give you the energy you need naturally so you avoid that mid-afternoon crash that too much sugar, coffee, and energy drinks can leave you with.
- Don't Be Afraid To Get Help
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You can say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
This is a motivating quote, but sometimes that is easier said than done. If you are dealing with crushed confidence and low self-esteem from events and situations in your past they can be difficult to move past on your own. If you feel stuck and aren't making the progress that you would like in this area, then don't be afraid to reach out for help. BetterHelp will match you with a therapist that is trained and experienced in helping you work through your past, determine your hang-ups, and help you take the steps that you need to move forward with confidence.
Life should be lived to the fullest. If a lack of confidence is holding you back, it's time to start making a change today. Every little step forward is a step in the right direction.