A college study asked random people one particular question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? The answers are what you would expect:
- “I want to lose weight.”
- “I wish I knew my purpose in life.”
- “I wish I had better friends.”
- “I want to get ahead at work.”
- “I wish I wouldn’t put things off.”
What you might not expect is a single unifying factor behind every one of these things. What these people actually wish for is confidence. Knowing who you are and what you want out of life and finding the determination to do these things all boil down to feeling good about who you are as a person first and foremost. Every change you want to make is wrapped up in a more confident you. How do we know this? Simple. We look at what happens when self-confidence is gone.
Without self-confidence, you stall out. You struggle to accomplish things, or even to get through the day. You might set goals, but you don’t realize them. In extreme cases, you become invisible, unnoticed at work when it comes time for promotion, or seen only lurking in dark corners at social functions. What’s worse, is 9 times out of 10, we’ve done it to ourselves. We’re killing our self-confidence every day by the very choices we make.
What are some ways you might be taking down your confidence levels?
You Surround Yourself with Negativity
Hanging around people who put down either you or your dreams is a big mistake. You can’t help but lose confidence when you’re always being told you’re wrong.
You Apologize More than You Need To
It’s one thing to say you’re sorry when you need to. It’s another entirely to take on everything as your fault. The minute you do that, you’re undermining yourself and your self-confidence by assuming you’re always in the wrong.
You Talk Down to Yourself
Self-talk is a powerful thing. We lose confidence every time we say something negative about ourselves.
You Become Omniscient
When you start thinking you know what others are thinking about you (usually negative), you’re assuming that you’re not worth knowing or interacting with. Frequently, this is coupled with the idea that you’re making a fool of yourself, or that your ideas have no merit. It’s no wonder your confidence has taken a hit.
You Give In
It’s normal to be afraid sometimes. Living in fear though wipes out confidence entirely. You start thinking you’re not capable of handling situations or even taking care of yourself.
You’re Too Agreeable
Saying ‘yes’ to everything means you don’t value your time. This is one of those more subtle ways you tear down your confidence without even realizing it.
You Hate to Fail Ever
To some people, there’s nothing worse than failure. With this mindset, you see only the disaster when things go wrong and probably take it personally. You destroy your confidence as a result.
You Think Everyone Hates You
Much like being omniscient, you make assumptions about people. This time you’re telling yourself no one likes being with you. Sadly, if everyone else in the world hates you, it quickly becomes apparent you’re not too fond of yourself either.
You Can’t Accept Compliments
When you start to rebuff compliments, by brushing them off, you deny a positive affirmation from an outside source. You’re also saying you’re not worthy of the compliment, thereby putting yourself down again and ripping into your confidence levels.
You Try to Keep Up with the Neighbors
No matter how great your life, you’ll always be able to find someone better off than you. These comparisons tend to end in putting down your own life, as you chart your failures and try to figure out where you’ve gone wrong.
You Only Settle For Perfection
Perfectionism tells you you’ll never be good enough. This kind of message creates a mindset of being a failure, annihilating confidence.
You Don’t Set Boundaries
You can’t possibly think much of yourself if you let people walk all over you. When you do this, you’re saying your needs are unimportant. Worse, you’re telling yourself that you’re insignificant. It’s no wonder your confidence is a little battered.
You Close Yourself Off
When you’re not able to open up with people, you’re shortchanging both yourself and them. They never get a chance to know the real you, while you never allow them to affirm you in the ways you need. Worse, you’re telling yourself your opinions and feelings don’t matter when you always keep them to yourself.
You Refrain from Forming Opinions
It’s essential to know what you believe. When you refuse to take part in a discussion on some issues, you’re negating your thoughts and feelings. This does not mean you get into every debate. You need to make sure there is some benefit to getting involved other than being able to say you won.
You Live on Social Media
If you’re living vicariously through friends on your feed, you lack seriously in living your own life. You’ll start finding life is dull and even unimportant by comparison. Over time, this leads to the number one killer of confidence: Depression
So, what can you do when you’ve knocked your self-confidence down to nothing and need to build it back up again? Try these simple tips:
Clean Up Your Act
Take the time to tend to your bodily needs. Shower and brush your teeth. Exercise, eat right and get enough sleep. It’s easier to be confident when you’re feeling good.
Dress the Part
Much like grooming yourself, wearing clothes that make you feel good about yourself has a way of perking up your confidence very quickly. Clothes should be clean and neat, in good repair, and are something in which you feel good when wearing.
Change the Picture
How do you see yourself? If you’re not happy with who you see when you look in the mirror, start picturing the person you want to be, rather than the person you think you are now. You’ll be amazed at what a change this makes in how you feel about yourself in the present.
Fix Your Posture
A confident posture has a way of helping you to feel confident. So, stand up straight!
Smiles work the way posture does. When you smile, you appear confident. They also bring out your natural confidence if you give them time to work.
Speak Well of Yourself
You wouldn’t bad mouth your best friend. Why are you putting yourself down? Focus on what you’re telling yourself. Even using affirmations might be helpful here, until you get in the habit of thinking better of yourself.
Drop the Negativity
Take the negativity right out of the conversation. Instead, reword negative statements into positive ones. For example, don’t say, “I never know what to say” but switch out to “I have important things to contribute to the conversation.”
Do Someone a Solid
Helping someone else has the side effect of making yourself feel good. It’s a win-win situation as now the one you’re helping feels better too.
Do an Inventory
When self-confidence is low, it’s easy to think there’s not much good about you. Here’s where you need to take stock of things. Seriously look at yourself and list out the good stuff you’ve done or the traits you admire most. If you’re having difficulty with this, it might be easier to ask a close friend to help you with this step. Keep the list and read it often to remind yourself of these facts.
Act ‘As If’
When you’re not feeling confident, sometimes it works to fake it. When you act as if you are self-assured and ready for action, surprisingly, your body tends to cooperate. The next thing you know, you’ll be feeling way more confident than when you started.
When you need to do something complex, practicing beforehand will always make you feel more confident when the time comes to act.
Take Your Time
Slow down. Taking time to speak or act, always makes you seem more confident to others. As a bonus, you’ll be feeling more confident because you’ll feel surer of your actions and words.
Become an Expert
Nothing screams confidence like knowing what you’re talking about. Take the time to learn something well, until you feel like an authority on it.
Complaints put your focus on negative aspects to your life, dragging down confidence. Why even let yourself go there?
Clean the Chaos
When you’re surrounded by clutter, you start to feel disorganized and even depressed. Taking time to declutter and neaten your surroundings helps you feel more in control of your life, and more confident.
Live Your Life
Over time, inactivity leads to the feeling that you’re not capable of doing anything at all. Getting out and about, working toward goals, and accomplishing things gives a sense of accomplishment. The more you experience all life has to offer, the more confident you’ll feel.
Fixing self-confidence takes work, especially if you’ve been actively picking it apart for a while now. Be patient with yourself as you focus on changing things for the better. Like any habit, it’s going to take time to create the behavior you want. You might find the best thing to help you will be something you thought of while working through this list. Keep open to possibilities and remember this essential thing…You are WORTH the effort.