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Believe in Yourself… Building Self-Confidence

Mar 7, 2023

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
— Henry Stanley Haskins

Believe it or not, no one is born confident. Sure, we all want to be confident, but none of us are born that way. Yep, even the ones that seem to have it all together. They didn’t just start from the bottom; now they’re here; they had to develop their self-confidence. I’m not here to give the impression that it’s an easy feat or that it’ll happen overnight, but if you make the conscious decision to be confident and are willing to commit to that decision, anything is possible; but you have to believe in yourself.

Now before we start on the quest towards being more confident, we must have a clear definition of what self-confidence is. According to The American Psychological Association, self-confidence is “a belief that one is capable of successfully meeting the demands of a task.” So, in short, it refers to how capable we feel.

But aren’t self-confidence and self-esteem the same thing? Well… Yes and no. 

While used interchangeably, self-confidence is outward-facing, while self-esteem is inward-facing. Self-confidence is the image we present to the world and how we want others to see us, whereas self-esteem relates to how we feel about ourselves. Self-confidence is the belief in ourselves and our abilities. Self-esteem is more about how we see and value ourselves, our self-worth. Both are malleable, can come from our knowledge, experience, strengths and weaknesses, failures and successes, and both change throughout our lives.

Low self-esteem or low self-confidence can wreak havoc in our lives, causing unhealthy self-talk, self-doubt, and a reduced self-image, ultimately negatively impacting our mental health, well-being, performance, and even relationships.

For some, low self-confidence may only affect certain aspects of life or only in particular situations, but for others, it can be downright debilitating. More people than you think struggle with self-confidence, so if you’re feeling all alone in this, guess what? You’re not. 

Tips to Build Your Confidence

To Thine Own Self Be True

Before building your self-confidence, you need to know who you really are. We spend so much time trying to please people, fit in, or are so afraid of being judged that we shrink ourselves to the point where we lose sight of who we are and what we have to offer the world.

Take some time to reflect on who you are and what makes you tick. Ask the hard questions like, who am I as a person? What do I want out of life? What is important to me and why? What brings me joy? What would I do if I could do anything in the world without the fear of being judged or failing?

A better understanding of who you are at the heart opens the doors to being your true authentic best self.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

How often do you find yourself comparing yourself and your life to others? Comparing how you look, what you have or don’t have, how much you make, where you live, who you’re romantically involved with or not to people you see on television, in social media, and even your friends and family? Do you find yourself desiring to have the things they have or to live the life they live? It’s okay, be honest.

Research has found evidence of a direct correlation between envy and how we see and feel about ourselves. What we find is that the more we compare ourselves to others, the more likely we are to find ourselves envious of others, and the more envy we experience, the worse we feel about ourselves and our capabilities.

But consider this, what you see online and even in the lives of your friends and family only represents the part of their lives that they want you to see. They, too, may struggle with self-confidence; you just don’t see it. Not everything is as it appears. Also, remember, at the end of the day, life isn’t a competition, and everyone is running their own race and navigating through their own issues.

Instead of putting your energy into focusing on the lives of others and what they’re doing, turn that focus inward and focus on your life. Take stock of your own gifts, strengths, and achievements. Remember all the areas in your life where you are blessed, and embrace all the beautiful and unique things that make you special. Even in those moments when you don’t believe it for yourself, know that there is only one you that can do what you do, the way you do it, and that you are perfectly made just as you are. Never let anyone or anything make you feel less than the precious gift that you are.

See Failures as a First Attempt in Learning

Failures can be lessons you learn on the way to success or an excuse to give up, so you don’t have to try anymore. In short, they can either make or break your self-confidence.

Your perception of your weakness and your failures can directly affect your self-confidence. When weaknesses and failures are negatively viewed, self-confidence is lowered. But when failures are embraced and viewed as learning opportunities, you see things through a new lens, ultimately strengthening self-confidence.

Though easier said than done, one of the most powerful ways to increase self-confidence is by letting go of past mistakes and narratives that no longer serve you.

Be Good to Yourself

Notice what experiences or thoughts increase or decrease your self-confidence or self-esteem. Being they overlap, when one is compromised, more than likely, so is the other. When you love and value yourself, you have higher self-confidence and self-esteem, making embracing your strengths and weaknesses easier no matter what life throws at you.

Pay attention to the language you use when you talk about yourself to yourself and others. Are you speaking life into your situations? If not, it’s time to stop using self-destructive talk and start using positive and uplifting self-talk; remember, words have the power to heal or destroy.

At first, this can be difficult, and you may find yourself slipping at times, but with practice, your limiting beliefs about yourself will start to fade.

Use positive affirmations- Write them down, repeat them often; Say them until you believe them

Talk to yourself in the mirror – In front of the mirror, tell yourself at least five things you love about yourself. This can be anything from loving something physically about yourself to something that you are great at doing

Start a gratitude journal- Daily, write down one to two things you are grateful for in your life- Draw on your strengths, abilities, and achievements. Often, we neglect all the little things we succeed in. Dig deep, be honest with yourself, and include everything you’re proud of and that brings you joy, no matter how big or small. (Don’t be shy, I know you’re a rock star in several areas of your life). Whenever you feel low, doubt yourself, or need a pick me up, revisit your entries to remind yourself of all the good in your life.

Be Kind to Yourself- Show yourself some self-compassion even when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. Our inner critic is always looking a for an opportunity to make us feel bad about ourselves. Don’t you listen to that voice; show yourself some grace. Be accepting of yourself and remember everyone makes mistakes. You’re human, so perfection is impossible.

Release toxic people from your life- Think about the people you surround yourself around; how do they make you feel? Do they lift you up and support you, or do they constantly bring you down by belittling you or making you feel small? It may be time to part ways if it’s the latter. Place yourself around people who are positive and are there to genuinely build your confidence, not tear it down.

Take a Chance on Yourself

Leap and a net will appear -John Burroughs

Your biggest supporter and motivator will not be found among your family, friends, co-workers, or social media. Yes, it is recommended to surround yourself with positive people, read motivational books, follow inspirational people on social media, listen to podcasts, or watch videos that encourage self-confidence, but you have to be your greatest motivator; you have to be your biggest fan. Have the audacity to step out of your comfort zone and bet on yourself. Unapologetically pursue the passions that make you happy. Know that you are good enough, smart enough, talented enough, and worthy. I know it seems like a lot of work and may even feel impossible, but nothing is out of our reach if we believe.

Mahatma Gandhi said best:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Now go out there and live in your destiny. Stand in the glory of who you are as the creator of your own life.


American Psychological Association. Self-confidence.

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