How to gain self-confidence

How to Gain Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is built over time, and it takes continual cultivation to maintain. According to psychologists, confidence develops when you truly feel that you can handle the emotional outcome of whatever happens or whatever you pursue. If you are struggling with developing self-confidence or maintaining it, these are some helpful tips to steer you onto the right track.

Accept and Celebrate Your Strengths

Psychologists strongly recommend being aware of and celebrating your strengths. If you have difficulty accepting compliments and do not feel that your accomplishments are worthwhile, it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate your perspective. Practice being mindful about identifying your strengths. When others identify them and compliment you, thank them for the compliment instead of disagreeing with them or trying to deflect their words. Make a list of your strengths, and think about how they may help you accomplish any goals that you have. Plan to accomplish specific goals using specific strengths, and practice celebrating your accomplishments when you achieve those goals or accomplish anything unexpected.

Affirm Yourself and Accept Weaknesses

Although there are some things that people can change about themselves, there are others that they cannot. Everyone has weaknesses, such as difficulty managing time or focusing too much on physical appearance. Some weaknesses can be changed while others cannot. It is important to separate weaknesses from limitations. Physical disabilities or other limitations may exist. When this is the case, remind yourself that those limitations are part of who you are. Learn to love and accept yourself with them. When you learn to affirm yourself, you may unlock talents and abilities that will amaze you and help your confidence flourish in unexpected ways. For example, Joni Eareckson Tada became paralyzed from the arms down in a diving accident, and she later became a successful painter after she learned to hold a paintbrush with her teeth. Self-confidence can only grow when you learn to work around limitations.

Set Goals for Your Ideal Self

How would you define your ideal self? Some people wish that they had the ability to speak better in front of people, and some people wish that they could lose weight or make other healthy changes. To start making specific goals, visualize your ideal self. As you make your goals, be sure to continue what you learned about affirming yourself. This will ensure that you set realistic and healthy goals.

Confront Fear Every Day

This can include any type of fear. If you are dreading answering an email, learning to ride a bike or doing anything else that is reasonably safe or prudent to do, make yourself do it. In some cases, overcoming your fears means spending more time around people. Perhaps you want to spend more time with friends or family and are having a hard time motivating yourself to take the first step. Taking that step makes you more outgoing, and that can also help boost your self-confidence when you are around colleagues or other groups of people.

Take the 100 Days of Rejection Challenge

Jia Jiang created a thought-provoking challenge from his experiences of seeking out rejection for 100 days. He approached strangers to ask questions, and he even asked businesses for things they did not sell. For example, he asked a donut shop for an Olympic donut, which the shop did not make. A kind employee was motivated by his confidence and made a special donut for him for free. The point is that when you learn to embrace and accept rejection with boldness, your confidence is stronger than ever. That confidence can empower others as well. Also, you may encounter some unexpected surprises and see how your self-confidence inspires people to gain confidence to push their own limits.

Be Aware of Your Feelings

Practice identifying your feelings by keeping a journal. Write about notable things that happen during the day that affect your confidence. For example, if you feel less confident after your boss reprimands you, try to identify the feelings that you associate with the incident. You can look at your journal to find patterns and different feelings that are associated with your confidence. Being aware of your feelings helps you feel grounded and centered, which is a building block for improving your self-confidence.

Speak Up

If you are someone who does not express your feelings or ask questions when you should, now is the time to start. It may seem a little scary at first. However, when you get in the habit of expressing your feelings, defending yourself when necessary and asking questions when you need to, you develop stronger self-confidence. When you speak up for yourself, it can also help you create healthy boundaries and prevent people from trying to take advantage of you.

Be Kind to Yourself

To supplement the idea of celebrating your accomplishments, practice being kind to yourself. If you have a harsh internal dialog going on every time you get discouraged or fail at something, this can destroy your self-confidence quickly. To remove negative thoughts, practice being mindful about when they appear. When they do, have a list of your strengths or compliments to yourself to replace them with. For example, if you miss a deadline and start chastising yourself, you may spiral into a pit of negative thinking that you cannot do anything right. Instead, be aware that you did a good job trying, and tell yourself that you will do better next time. Identify some strengths that will help you in the future, and turn the experience into motivation to boost your confidence.

Build Your Skills

If you feel like you need to sharpen your professional skills or learn a new skill set, determine what you need to make that happen. Do you need to take classes? Do you need financial resources? Many employers offer tuition reimbursement or enrichment classes to help you build skills. Also, many universities and colleges offer federal grants and loans if money is holding you back from enrolling in classes. In some cases, group meetings can help. For example, if you want to sharpen your public speaking skills, there are low-cost Toastmasters meetings in many places around the country. In this example, you are in a group of people with the same goal, and everyone supports each other while practicing speaking. Some groups offer online video conference meetings now. Make a list of the skills that you feel will help you be more confident, and make a plan about how to develop them.

When people do not feel confident about their appearance, personality or skills, the ensuing lack of confidence can feel like a prison. Self-confident people often appear more beautiful and skillful to others simply because of their confidence and how contagious it is to others. You may unlock job promotions, friendships and other wonderful experiences if you work to develop and maintain your self-confidence.
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