Have you ever felt less than and been worried about your ability to do something, whether it’s giving a speech or feeling as though you fit in with a group of friends?
Society loves to tell us things like “fake it til you make it” or just to “be confident” but these throwaway quotes end up doing more harm than good when we feel as though we don’t believe in ourselves to begin with.
Self-confidence is one of the most important tools we can hold, but it doesn’t just turn up overnight ready for us to use.
Whether you feel less than in yourself or you’ve faced various obstacles throughout your life that have had a negative impact on you, it can be a real challenge to muster up the self-confidence you need to be successful and happy in your life.
How does one improve self-confidence then?
Boosting self-confidence isn’t something that happens overnight, but with regular practices like thinking and acting positive, improving your self-image, and practicing gratitude and forgiveness with others. By actioning other parts of your life, you can improve your feelings of self-worth and start believing in yourself the way others do.
If you’ve struggled in life with a low self-worth or find it hard to take advice like “be yourself” because you’re not sure who or what that really is, we’re here to help.
We have real, actionable tips to help you work on yourself and boost your self-esteem, as well as everything you need to know about what self-confidence is and why it can be one of your most powerful tools.
- 1 The True Definition Of Self Confidence
- 2 Why Self Confidence Matters
- 3 Common Signs Of Low Self Confidence
- 4 Self-Efficacy Vs Self Confidence
- 5 Helpful Tips To Improve Self Confidence
- 6 Popular TED Talks To Give You A Boost
- 7 Related Questions
The True Definition Of Self Confidence
Self-confidence is a feeling that we experience when we’re sure of ourselves and confident in our ability to do something.
You might have felt it in the past when you walked into a job interview and knew that you had everything the hiring manager was looking for, sat down to take an exam that you studied for and know you’ll ace, or when you were speaking to a friend or stranger about something you were passionate about.
Aside from these standalone moments, having self-confidence is something that you can have at all times, even when you might feel unsure of yourself.
Self-confidence is believing in yourself and being sure that you’ll overcome and persevere even if you’re feeling less than.
We won’t always have the experience or knowledge needed to succeed in every moment in life but when you have confidence in yourself, you’ll be able to put a positive spin on things and give it a go regardless because you believe in yourself.
If you’ve struggled in the past to think highly of yourself, gaining self-confidence may seem like something unattainable, but it’s within the reach of everyone if they’re willing to work on it.
Why Self Confidence Matters
We’re told from a young age that confidence is key, but what we’re not told, is that nobody is born a confident or non confident person.
Confidence is something that’s developed over time, and certain experiences or feelings can either improve or deplete yours.
Self-confidence is so important because it’s a motivator for life. Without self-confidence, we’d think it was worthless to try new things, speak to people, learn a new skill, or just go out and face the world every day.
Having self-confidence helps to reduce stress and make us feel good about ourselves, pushing us to try new things and gain experience and knowledge.
Nobody is ever full of self-confidence at all times either, and it usually runs in a cycle of lows and highs.
When we’re feeling good about ourselves and looking at our positives, it’s easy to feel self-confident, but if something goes wrong, we can quickly become defeated which causes us to focus on the negatives about ourselves, and this is where that confidence drops.
The good news is, confidence is like a muscle, so the more you work on it, the stronger it will be.
We’ll all have moments where we doubt ourselves or don’t rise to the challenges that we’re faced with, but instead of digging deeper into that dark hole of low self-confidence, you’ll know how to pull yourself out again and start seeing why you’re worthy and what your good points are, so you’re inclined to keep going in life and trying new experiences.
Common Signs Of Low Self Confidence
You can probably pinpoint certain times in life when you felt less than or were having an internal battle about your ability to do something the right way.
These are common signs of low self-esteem and self-confidence that you might be aware of, so you can begin the work of making changes to start believing in yourself again.
Repetitive Negative Thinking
There are certain phrases that we hear running through our head, and if you’re feeling low in confidence they’re likely negative.
“I’m not good enough”, “I’m going to mess this up”, “there’s no point in trying because you’ll fail” are just some examples of negative thoughts that can take over your mind and lower your self-esteem even further.
Not Wanting To Speak Up
If you find yourself quiet during conversations with others and have a hard time expressing your opinion because you believe it to be wrong, worthless, or worry that people won’t listen to you, this is a sign of self-confidence.
Learning to trust that your opinion does matter and that your input into a conversation is worthy is all part of improving how you feel about yourself.
Putting Your Entire Self-Worth Into Your Appearance
Sometimes if we’re feeling self-conscious or lacking confidence, we might try to make up for it with an improved appearance.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best but when you put all of your worth into how good you do or don’t look at the time, you’ll deplete your self-confidence and find it hard to feel positive about yourself for anything other than looks.
Not trusting yourself to make smart or reasoned decisions is a common sign of someone with low confidence.
If you find yourself never able to make up your mind and constantly second-guessing if you’ve made the right decision, this could be a signal that you’re not confident in yourself and decision making abilities.
Unable To Handle Compliments And Criticisms
With self-confidence, comes self-assuredness, which means you respect who you are as a person and your ability to do well.
If someone offers constructive criticism and you take it personally, this could indicate that you already don’t feel good about yourself.
Someone with confidence would be able to see that the criticism was offered fairly and try to make changes, without being offended.
Unable To Take Compliments
Just as you’ll be unable to handle criticism, you’ll probably also feel uncomfortable receiving a compliment.
If you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t believe that anyone else could either, and will dismiss any compliments that come your way.
Backing Down During Conflict
When you’re lacking in self-confidence, you’ll never feel strong enough to stand by your opinion.
If you get into a disagreement with someone, you’ll likely back down immediately because you’re concerned that your opinion is wrong.
Self-Efficacy Vs Self Confidence
Two common notions that get mixed up are self-confidence and self-efficacy, and although they sometimes get intertwined together they mean very different things.
Both are things that are developed from a young age, with nobody being born with more or less than other people.
However, self-efficacy is about having the strength to take control of your life and go after whatever goals you might have, as you believe in your ability to do so.
When you have good self-esteem, you’re able to respect yourself and be positive and realistic about your ability and experience.
With good self-efficacy, you’ll feel good about your ability to do well in all things, even if you’ve never tried them before.
When we have low self-efficacy it can be just as demoralizing at low self-esteem. Feeling this way causes people to stop going after their dreams and goals because they never begin to attempt it at all.
They accept that they’ll always have a mediocre life and assume that there’s no point in trying to do better, and consign themselves to the fact that this is the way it’ll always be.
With strong self-confidence, you’ll improve self-efficacy, but it can be hard to do when we don’t truly believe in ourselves.
Work on building your self-esteem and sense of worth first, and then you’ll find that your desire to pursue your goals heightens and the motivation you need will be there.
Helpful Tips To Improve Self Confidence
If your confidence needs a boost, we’ve got some actionable and enjoyable tips that you can use.
Consider trying these things to make yourself feel better and improve your self worth so that you feel happy with who you are.
- Watch your posture: Making a mental note to stand tall and have a good posture whenever you can. It might sound strange, but the feeling of being upright and stable can do wonders for your confidence.
- Be good to others: When you treat others with kindness and compassion, it’ll make you feel better about yourself.
- Live by your principles: Think about what’s important to you and what your values are. Try to live your life guided by them so you’re certain that you’re always staying true to yourself.
- Learn a new skill: Take some time to learn a new craft, hobby, or skill, and you’ll prove to yourself just how capable you are of doing what you set your mind to.
- Volunteer your time: Whether it’s at the local soup kitchen or helping an elderly relative with something, you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you’re helping those in need.
- Be okay with discomfort: Stop trying to only be in situations where you’re comfortable and recognize that true growth and change occurs when we feel discomfort. Try new things, force yourself to talk to people, and do something that makes you feel uneasy at first.
- Practice talking: You may feel silly at first but you can spend some time practicing how you speak in front of the mirror or a camera. By seeing how you look and not the image you might have in your head, you may be more confident to speak up.
- Exercise regularly: There are countless benefits to exercise and what it can do for your mental wellbeing is astonishing. Choose a simple way to work out for 30 minutes a day and see your self-confidence rise.
Popular TED Talks To Give You A Boost
We’ve all heard that voice inside our head telling us that we’re not good enough or that we shouldn’t try something new because we’ll probably fail and embarrass ourselves.
You can blame that internal chatter on your self-confidence, and it seems to be pretty loud in our minds when it’s feeling low.
If you’re feeling a certain way about yourself and find that you’re unable to pull yourself up out of the hole of self-doubt and low self-esteem, there are some excellent TED talks that can give you a boost.
Check out these recommendations for inspirational talks on self-confidence that can help you out when you’re not able to.
“Success, Failure, And The Drive To Keep Creating”: Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert is the famed author behind Eat, Pray, Love, and before she was a household name, she experienced a lot of rejection. Her TED talk is full of psychological tidbits about failure and success and shows you how to keep faith in your talents and creativity.
“Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” By Amy Cuddy
Cuddy is a social psychologist who shares her knowledge of how our body language affects our perception of ourselves as well as how others see us.
With some tips, you’ll be able to make an instant change that can be sensed by you and those around you.
“The Day I Stood Up Alone” By Boniface Mwangi
Mwangi is a photographer from Kenya who documented the violence that was occurring around him and the wrongdoings of the government.
His TED talk is about standing up for what you believe in and not being afraid to use your voice, which can be hugely beneficial for those of us without self-confidence.
“The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years Of Life” By Jane McGonigal
Resilience is a tool that can be a game changer for someone with low self-esteem.
Knowing that you can get knocked down and get back up again means you’ll continue to try new things, and that’s exactly what Jane McGonigal went through when she survived depression and suicide and turned it into a game that helps others.
Self-confidence is a tool that we can build on and something that becomes stronger when we work at it.
This mental state of being is important to help us feel good about ourselves and push us to experience life at its fullest, so it’s a skill we all need.
To learn more about confidence and why it’s so important to harness, we’ve answered some FAQs to help you build on these skills.
Can A Shy Person Be Confident?
It’s possible for a person to have good self-confidence but feel shy at the same time, and this is a common misconception.
Being placed in new situations or meeting new people can make even the most confident person feel shy.
Being shy is a feeling that can dissipate, and usually does over time as you feel more comfortable in a setting, whereas feeling confident is a belief and feeling you have in yourself.
How Can I Boost My Child’s Self Confidence?
As parents, it can be hard to realize that our children might be lacking in self-confidence.
If you think your child is exhibiting signs of low self-esteem, you can help them by watching how you communicate praise and criticism with them, having them focus on their strengths instead of weaknesses, and teaching them new skills and knowledge, while also allowing them to try and learn things for themselves.
What Is Quiet Confidence?
Quiet confidence is a trait that some people have when they believe fully in themselves and you can feel by their presence that they’re confident in themselves.
To say someone is quietly confident means that the person is so sure of what they can achieve, that they don’t need to exude certainty or talk about how great they are, they just get to work reaching their goals and doing whatever it is they set out to do.