There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding self-confidence, what it means and how to get it. Many people believe it’s a personality trait — something you have or you don’t.
Actually, building self-confidence goes much deeper than that: It’s an inner knowing of who you are at your core.
“Self-confidence is knowing you are right without needing to be right,” says Psychotherapist Karen J Helfrich, LCSW-C. “This means that a confident person determines their own worthiness rather than seeking permission from others.”
In other words, it’s a belief that is developed and strengthened over time, and one that cannot be swayed by another person.
Why Self-Confidence is important
Growing up, many of us looked to our parents and peers for approval, turning to the outside world for validation and connection. In doing so, we abandoned ourselves, our own knowing, in favor of the false safety of this connection, Helfrich explains. However, when this individual decides to reclaim themselves, they can boost their self-esteem and achieve greater self-confidence.
“It's important to have self-confidence in life because it means that you are showing up authentically, says Jaime Bronstein, relationship therapist, coach, and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio. “People who want to achieve their dreams and goals in life must be able to show up with confidence.”
Cultivating self-confidence also frees you from self-doubt and self-criticism, which can be extremely harmful to your mental health.
When we have developed this way of being, then it's actually okay to be wrong, because being wrong is not a reflection of our worth. The self-confident person can stand grounded in their feelings, knowledge, and opinions because being challenged does not threaten their sense of self.
3 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence
Bronstein shares her top three tips to move from low self-confidence to a high self-confidence mindset:
- Fake it 'till you make it
Even if you're starting at the bottom and suffer from low self-esteem, you can turn things around. By making a mental shift and showing up as a confident person in the short-term, you will reap the benefits in the long-term.
“It's all about shifting your energy,” Bronstein explains. “If you can visualize confidence and start to act accordingly, people around you will react positively.”
The positive feedback will reinforce this behavior and ultimately promote healthy self-esteem, a healthy body image and greater self-efficacy.
To start, psych yourself up before going into a situation where you need confidence. Do you struggle to make new friends? Are you trying to improve your social life? When you push past the fear and come out on the other side, your self-confidence will grow naturally.
The more you put yourself in situations where you need confidence, the more empowered and confident you will feel. Stop the negative self-talk and don't worry if you make mistakes along the way. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. The only way to grow and improve your overall well-being is to take risks and push yourself.
- Learn how to know your worth
Here's a fun self-care exercise: To start, make a list of all of your positive traits. The list should include answers to the following:
- How would you describe your personality?
- What are your positive qualities?
- What are you good at?
- What is your passion in life?
Read over this list a few times each day until you feel that it's ingrained in your mind. You’ll not only know everything that makes you, "you," but you will feel it too. Over time, your lack of self-confidence and negative thinking will be replaced by a healthy self-image.
If your confidence levels aren't where you want them to be, don't beat yourself up. High self-esteem does not happen overnight.
Ready to build confidence? Time to say goodbye to negative thoughts and look within to cultivate a greater sense of self-worth. When you tap into this place, you will truly know your worth and you’ll be unstoppable.
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