Tips to Nurture Your Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is extremely important to your health and psychological well-being and working to increase it can help you become more successful in both your personal and professional life.

But not everyone is born with an in-built sense of self-confidence. In fact, most of us aren’t. It can be a challenging aspect of ourselves to develop, whether it’s because personal experiences have impacted your self-esteem or because you naturally have self-doubts and insecurities that dampen your confidence levels.

But, as with most areas of ourselves and our lives, there are a number of things you can do to make a change for the better. Below are some strategies to build your self-confidence – some are small changes to your mindset, others are more long-term adjustments to establish new and familiar habits. 

1. Practice positive self-talk

This is a simple yet essential strategy and a perfect place to start. Often, the source of our insecurities comes from within – we can, after all, be our own harshest critics. But as dismissive as you may be towards the negative thoughts and feelings that pass through your consciousness throughout the day, these can be the biggest obstacles to self-acceptance. You’re never going to feel positive and confident if you have negative commentary running through your mind. 

Become aware of your self-talk and catch it when you’re not being kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend or a child – gently, with understanding and with encouragement. This may feel uncomfortable to begin with, but the more often you do it, the more natural it will become.

2. Care for your body

Focus on healing from within. If you’re not getting enough sleep, eating an unhealthy diet and not moving your body regularly, the consequences stretch far beyond a point than you realise. Studies consistently show that regular physical activity improves body image and when body image improves, we feel more confident. Make an effort to make self-care a priority. When you’re feeling at your best physically, you’ll naturally feel more confident about yourself.

3. Evaluate your inner circle

They say that we are most like the five people we spend the most time with. What does this reflection say about you? Perhaps it’s time to evaluate your inner circle, including friends and family. Are they draining or replenishing your energy? How do you feel after spending time with them? Do they encourage and motivate you to become the best version of yourself? This may bring to light some difficult and confronting decisions to make about who you surround yourself with. These decisions have the power to impact your health, happiness and satisfaction with how you spend your time and where your life is headed. 

4. Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparison and healthy competition can be a driver of motivation, but can all too quickly become a source of insecurity. Whether it’s comparing your life to who you follow on social media, comparing your romantic relationship to your friend’s, or comparing your wealth to the perceived wealth of those around you, comparisons are a slippery slope that can lead to dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.

In fact, studies have found a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers found that people who compared themselves to others experienced envy. And the more envy they experienced, the worse they felt about themselves. It can be a vicious cycle.

Try to pick up on times when you compare your wealth, possessions, skills, achievements, and even appearance to others. Everyone is at different stages of their lives, and everyone’s situation is vastly different. Life isn’t a competition!

5. Look at what you’ve already achieved

When we’re so focused on what we don’t have or what we haven’t done, we can forget to acknowledge and celebrate what we actually have achieved. Take some time to reflect on what you’re proud of and grateful for – no matter how momentous. Note these down on paper and keep the list close and accessible. When you catch yourself in low moments, refer to this list to help keep you balanced and grounded.

6. Recognise your strengths

No need to be humble here – give yourself the credit that is due! It may be strengths and talents in your work, or it may be in your relationships, values, personality or finances. Take  some time to acknowledge these to build your sense of worth and value. 

7. Set achievable goals

Ambition is admirable, but if your goals aren’t realistic (considering the position you’re in right now), it can quickly become discouraging when your big-picture goals don’t seem to be inching any closer. Instead, set mini milestones along the way that you can use to track, highlight and celebrate your progress. This will help maintain your motivation to keep pushing forward, no matter the pace of progression, and will allow your dreams to become a reality.

Self-confidence is something that almost everyone battles with from time to time. If your self-confidence issues interfere with your work, your social life, or your education, and you have tried the things we have discussed, it may be worth seeking professional help.

Investing the time and energy into yourself and your sense of self-worth is a powerful way to enhance your happiness and satisfaction with life.