How To Build Confidence That Lasts - What You Need To Know

Updated March 8, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

While some people seem naturally more confident than others, everyone experiences moments of self-doubt. These periods of low confidence are natural and expected, even if they’re unwelcome. They also serve as a reminder that no matter your current level of self-confidence, there’s always room for improvement. Check out these tips on how to feel confident in a long-lasting way.

Are You Living With Low Self-Confidence?

What Is Self-Confidence?

The American Psychological Association defines self-confidence as “self-assurance: trust in one’s abilities, capabilities, and judgment.” They also state that this attribute allows individuals to believe they are “capable of successfully meeting the demands of a task.”

During a regular day, confidence is what allows you to apply for a promotion at work, ask out someone you find yourself attracted to, and obtain the strength to ask for help without feeling naive or unintelligent. It also allows you to take on everyday responsibilities like commuting to work, cooking a meal, and calling a stranger on the phone.

Research has shown that confidence helps with academic achievement

You should not mistake confidence for arrogance. Truly confident people don't worry about trying to draw attention to themselves to make sure they are being recognized. Why? Because someone who is truly confident does not need constant affirmation from others to feel good about themselves.

What Impacts Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence can be impacted by previous life experiences and relationships. Negative experiences may decrease self-confidence, while positive experiences can increase it.

Let’s look at spelling. If you achieved an A on your first spelling test as a child, your confidence regarding your ability to spell likely increased. However, if you failed your test and were admonished by your teacher, your confidence likely decreased.

Abusive or critical relationships can also harm self-confidence, as can traumatic events. If you feel like a past experience is hindering your ability to be confident in yourself, you may benefit from speaking with a mental health professional.

How To Build Confidence That Lasts

While some people are more self-confident than others, it is possible for everyone to improve their self-confidence. The following actions may help you increase and maintain your self-confidence. Ways to improve your confidence are not hidden, and you should be aware of them.

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Each person is different, and that means each individual has various strengths and weaknesses. Rather than comparing your weaknesses against others' strengths, do your best to reflect on what you’re proud of and where you need to grow.

When you stop comparing yourself to others, you may see your self-confidence grow. One study reported that students who rarely compared themselves to others had higher confidence in reading, writing, and time management than those who often compared themselves to others.

You may also find it helpful to step away from social media if it leads you to compare yourself to others.

  1. Track Your Successes

When you see the areas that you are competent in and succeeding, you naturally begin to feel more confident. If you struggle with low confidence, it might be hard for you to identify three daily successes, but doing so can prove helpful in the long run. 

It may also be beneficial to partake in activities you are naturally good at. When you see yourself succeed, you will experience a boost in self-confidence. These feelings can then carry over into other areas of your life.

  1. Visualize Yourself As 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.

  1. Change Your Opinion Of Failure

Many people who fear failure also struggle with handling failure. It's hard to remain confident if you become upset, angry, or frustrated 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. Instead, you can reframe how you think about failure.

When you think of failure as a learning opportunity and a possible way to grow, it becomes more of a positive thing. Rather than thinking of giving up and losing confidence, you can consider yourself more prepared and knowledgeable in the future.

  1. Quit The Negative Self-Talk

Many people say negative things about themselves that they would never say to anyone else. For example, calling yourself "a failure" is different from recognizing that you didn't meet your goal. You will not succeed at building self-confidence if you are constantly knocking yourself down. 

If you find yourself harshly critiquing yourself, ask if you would say these things to a friend or family. If the answer is no, you can question why you are saying it to yourself. 

Along with limiting negative talk, you can also practice self-compassion. This involves showing yourself kindness and grace when you are going through tough periods. One study suggests that self-compassion is linked to self-confidence, so being kind to yourself may be a good way to improve your confidence.

  1. Practice Self-Care

One of the first steps you can take in building your confidence is to take care of yourself. Aim to eat nourishing meals, exercise regularly, and get a good night’s sleep each night. When you take care of your mind and body, you are more likely to feel confident in your abilities and beliefs. 

7. Surround Yourself With Supportive People

While self-confidence comes from within, other people can impact it. If you are surrounded by people who belittle, insult, or doubt you, you will likely find that your confidence crumbles. Instead, you can surround yourself with individuals who support you, no matter if you think you are succeeding or failing. When you receive outside support from others, you may be more likely to believe in yourself.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Sometimes improving your self confidence requires more than putting in work on your own. If you find you are struggling to believe in yourself and your abilities, it may be worthwhile to turn to a licensed counselor for help. One 2018 study showed that participating in cognitive behavioral therapy can help improve self-confidence, and another study suggests that art therapy can help improve self-confidence related to big events like childbirth.

Are You Living With Low Self-Confidence?

While therapy may be an effective way to improve your self-confidence, you may not have the confidence to meet with a professional in person! If that’s the case, you can consider online therapy. This allows you to connect with a professional therapist from a familiar space like your home, which can make you feel more at ease.

Recent reviews of studies investigating online therapy have suggested that this method of counseling is just as effective as traditional in-person therapy for treating symptoms related to depressive, anxiety, and panic disorders. Therefore, one can infer that online therapy would also be an effective way to improve self-confidence.


Self-confidence allows you to tackle life’s everyday responsibilities and challenges with an open and opportunistic mind. However, developing and maintaining self-confidence can be a challenge. Taking steps like practicing self-care, recognizing your successes, and connecting with a therapist can help increase your self-confidence.

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