Do you consider yourself a confident person?
A general definition of self-confidence is your belief in your own abilities in the different areas of your life. Self-confidence determines how you walk through the world personally, professionally, romantically, and even physically.
Everyone experiences self-doubt sometimes. A presentation in front of others, a first date, or even interviewing for your dream job can shake your confidence and leave you feeling anxious or afraid.
It is a natural and normal part of being human. If you rally and succeed or don’t allow the occasional failure to derail your end-goals, you’re probably a confident person.
However, if you have a chronic lack of self-confidence, it can have devastating effects to your entire life. Chronic poor self-image has the ability to wreak havoc in the form of dead-end jobs, bad relationships, and neglect of your health. Over time, it can wear you down to the point that you lose hope about your circumstances or personal path.
How do you know if your confidence is lacking? Poor self-image has a way of creeping in after long periods of unhappiness, disappointments, or trauma. A person who was once confident and determined may find themselves reeling from a divorce, feel trapped in a job that is stressful and psychologically damaging, or have endured a life event that resulted in weight gain or disability.
Recognizing signs of poor self-image is the first step to building self-confidence. If any of the following traits sound familiar, don’t be discouraged. You can make changes now that result in a more positive and fulfilling outlook.
Confidence can be regained and it can be learned.
5 Symptoms of Poor Self-Confidence
- You immediately make excuses or rush to over-explain when you make a mistake.
- You embrace a victim mentality by blaming others, becoming defensive, or complaining.
- You live in constant fear of change, not receiving approval, or being criticized.
- You tolerate negative people or situations in your daily life, possibly excusing them.
- You are usually pessimistic, attributing success to “luck” rather than your abilities.
These traits undermine your ability to be truly happy, to embrace success, and to go after what you want in life. They live at the core of you, often deep in your subconscious, and they influence every decision you make…dragging you backward instead of moving you forward.
Don’t let a chronic lack of confidence hold you back from the life you deserve to live.
The first thing you must realize is that you have unlimited potential. Every obstacle can be overcome with the right plan, hard work, and determination to succeed. You are unlike anyone else in the world, with a unique history and perspective on the world around you.
5 Steps to Building Self-Confidence
1. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. It’s okay not to be perfect. The goal of perfection is overrated and impossible to sustain. Know that you’re going to have missteps sometimes and learn to love yourself anyway.
If you mess up, breathe deeply for thirty seconds, and remind yourself, “I’m human, I’ve learned from this, and I will do better next time.”
2. Always accept responsibility for your actions. Good or bad, own your decisions! Apologize if you need to, make amends if you must, but be accountable. You are not a victim. You are a strong and intelligent person with unlimited potential.
During times of trouble, hold yourself to a higher standard, and remind yourself, “There is nothing to be gained by blaming others for my mistake or getting angry. I own my fair share and I will work hard to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
3. Love and accept yourself unconditionally…so you don’t require it from others. The opinion of others does impact our lives but it should not be the deciding factor to our own choices or sense of self-worth. Life is flexible, change happens, and people flow in and out of our worlds sometimes.
If someone expresses criticisms about you, do not respond to them emotionally. Instead, ask yourself, “Is this disapproval meant to help me or hurt me?” You’ll be shocked to discover that when you remove the emotional element, most criticism isn’t intended to be personal at all. It might still hurt but it helps you view their thoughts in perspective and may even make you think. If the critique is meant to be mean or spiteful, remind yourself, “I know my skills, my mind, and my place in the world. They will not change how I feel about myself.”
4. You are worthy of healthy, positive relationships. This includes your relationship with yourself. Put good energy out into the world and expect to receive it in return. Building self-confidence is rooted in respect of self. You owe it to yourself to understand your own boundaries – and stick to them – when it comes to people or situations.
No one, no matter who they are, has the right to treat you with disrespect. Whether it is a spouse, a parent, a co-worker, or yourself…mutual respect is the benchmark of civilization. Without it, there is nothing but chaos. If you are staying in a job or relationship that has more negative than positive factors, it’s time to reevaluate. Ask yourself, “Why am I really here? Is this truly the best relationship/job to keep my life moving forward? Can it be saved?”
Refusing to question “static” in your life is a sign that you fear the possible answers. You deserve a fulfilled life. That starts with getting your personal house in order and then cleaning out the parts of it that no longer fit.
5. There is no such thing as luck. Luck is a construct for the weak to excuse their inaction to change their lives. If you work hard, if you go through life with your head up, and if you proceed through the steps of your personal plan…life will still not be perfect. However, it will still be more positive and fulfilled than sitting on your couch thinking about getting started.
Stop thinking of life as “hard” and recognize that life is “complex.” There are many moving parts and it’s up to you to figure out the pieces of your own puzzle. If you’re able to do that…luck has nothing to do with it. Take those pats on the back with pride.
Never back down from pursuing the life you want…not even from yourself. “Keeping the peace” might work in politics but it doesn’t get you a happily ever after. If you are constantly juggling what you want with what you think everyone else wants, you end up with nothing.
You must make yourself a priority in your own life. That begins with positive self-image. If you are a confident person, you will also be emotionally resilient. That means you’ll be able to withstand the stresses of daily life without a single ruffle of your feathers.
If you lack self-confidence right now, it will take time and effort to change habits that are holding you back. Do not give up!
Eventually, with solid determination to build your self-confidence, you’ll be a doer, a mover, a hustler with a strong sense of self and a smile that owns the room.