“Low self-confidence is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” – Maxwell Malt
I definitely had my hand-break on, until I turned 19. The things that held me back from pursuing anything in life for all those years were fear of failure and rejection and lack of self-confidence. There are countless people out there suffering from this same problem.
Perhaps it is something almost everyone faces to some point in life. The important question is ‘how to increase your self-confidence?’
There is just one (difficult) answer to that: by building your self-esteem and confidence.
You cannot achieve this overnight of course. It has to be a conscious decision and a work in progress for as long as necessary. In my personal opinion, the work continues throughout our lives, as we conquer each step at a time.
Once you overcome the fear, everything else becomes easy. I must admit I still get that fear sometimes. However, I now know that fear is just a figment of our imagination, which becomes an obstacle for the courage that wants to come in.
Remind yourself of this every time, and rest assured, you will be able to pursue your dreams to any length. Achieving one success will pave the way for even more successes.
I am writing this article on request from Sally from Australia, who asked if it was possible for us to put up an article on LifestyleGlitz about self-worth and confidence. So here we go. I will get into more details on ways to overcome low self-esteem and help build your self-confidence. However, for everyone reading, please do leave a comment after reading my input. I will love to read your views on the subject!
How Low Self-Confidence Affects Us
Primarily, having low self-confidence hinders daily growth and the capability of taking some decisions. It becomes quite difficult to fit in with this problem. More often than not, we end up following the same traditions others do.
Instead of taking a decision for ourselves, we end up depending on others to help us decide. On the other hand, we simply follow the stereotypical ways of others around us, accepting it as either the norm or not being self-confident enough to think of other ways that would personally suit us better.
Moreover, not being able to speak your mind out freely, or not sounding out your reservations only makes things worse. It is necessary to be able to confide in others and speak out about your fears. Hearing supportive and helpful words from others helps a great deal.
Confiding in someone will not only help break free from lack of self-esteem and confidence but will also help to increase your self-confidence. However, never completely rely on anyone to build your self-confidence. That is something for you to explore on your own. That is the best way to really overcome your lack of self-esteem and confidence.
Are Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence Distinct?
I use both terms interchangeably, but people often make a distinction between them. What do the two really mean?
According to the dictionary, self-esteem means confidence in one’s own worth or abilities – self-respect. Self-confidence means a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, judgment, and qualities.
While one means self-respecting yourself, the other means trusting yourself. Perhaps there is a subtle difference between the two terms – the difference of whether you believe you are respect-worthy (self-esteem) and whether you believe in yourself at all (self-confidence).
Essentially, both terms interrelate and come to the same point. They are truly not very distinct.
Is it possible to have control over your self-confidence? Is there anything you can do to change your low self-confidence?
Yes, you can. Lack of self-confidence is not a genetic malady and you must not depend on anything to increase your self-confidence. If you believe you are not smart, attractive, competent, worthy, etc. – you can change that.
You can take control and pursue your dreams, be whatever you want, and most importantly, be someone strong and worthy of respect. Despite the naysayers, never let anyone bully you into silence. Never be a victim and never let anyone define you or your actions. Define and live your life on your own terms.
You can improve your self-image, competence, and confidence on your own, without anyone’s help. Here are some of the ways I worked on to build my self-confidence. Although they are not a certified route, they surely work.
Ways to Become Self-Confident
1. Keep yourself well-kept
This is an obvious point, but you will be amazed at what wonders it can do to boost your self-image and confidence. You can completely turn your mood around by doing just this one thing. Keeping yourself groomed and nicely dressed is key to help face the world confidently.
Remember, this does not mean extravagant spending of your earnings to buy expensive clothing or makeup items. It simply means wearing nice casual clothes and hairdo to make you look presentable. After all, we do not want to fall into bankruptcy. That will lead to depression besides lack of self-confidence!
2. Be your own critic and tutor
Let us face it. We might not always consciously realize this, but our self-image is very important to us. Self-portrayal of ourselves determines our confidence. Do not like something about yourself? Do something about it – change it.
Figure out what you can do to fix what you do not like about yourself. Do not be overly critical. Simply focus on fixing your self-image just enough to feel content with yourself.
3. Always stay positive
This was one of the most difficult things for me to do. I was constantly battling myself on how to replace negative thinking with positive. I often asked myself (and still do) how to change the way I think and how to make great things happen in the process.
I realized I was too judgmental and always gave too much thought to things that did not really matter so much. Some things were often not even the way I thought they were. As much as I kept thinking, the more all kinds of negative thoughts would set in.
There were times when I had to do something but kept debating with myself on whether or not go ahead with it. During the process of being indecisive, I would start thinking negatively, which would ultimately convince me to give up the idea of going on completely.
That is how badly lack of self-confidence was affecting me. Thanks to one blessed day, when I was having tea with my sister (who happens to be a psychologist) and a similar scene repeated itself right in front of her.
Seeing me going through such personal and mental conflict alarmed her of course and I instantly became her next project! She taught me to be positive.
The best way to make this happen is by constantly tutoring yourself on how to remain positive about things. Shut off any negative thoughts that may try to influence your decision-making skill. Look for ways to make it happen.
· An Example …
For instance, if a negative thought seems to bother you, cut it off instantly, go watch TV or do something to take your mind off it for the meantime. Later on, when you are ready, sit down and think about the whole thing calmly. Analyze why you are getting these negative thoughts and replace each negative thought with a positive one.
Not an easy task, but practice will make it easier over time. Try it. If it does not work, try something else that suits you, but keep trying.
I think it is worth mentioning that I recently came across an interesting story about Susan Tynan’s (founder and CEO of Framebridge) success on Forbes about how to develop resilience and self-confidence. That was a truly inspirational piece. Do look it up if you have the time, it will be worth it.
4. Define yourself
Get to know and understand yourself better. Think of yourself as your own enemy in the war against lack of self-confidence and building your self-image and esteem. Start paying attention to your own thoughts. Write a journal about yourself if necessary. Outline your good and bad traits, your limitations; things you feel hinder your growth and progress as an individual, etc. dig deeper within yourself. Make a note of everything that affects you directly and indirectly.
Once you accomplish this, it will be easy for you to understand what you are doing wrong to inhibit the growth of your self-esteem and confidence.
I am not an expert, and perhaps the tips I have highlighted may not be very effective for some, but they sure worked for me. You must not stick to these ways if you do not wish to. If one way does not work for you, try another, but never give up.
Always remember that nobody has the right to make you feel inferior without your own consent. Be innovative in ways to help build your self-confidence yourself.
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