The other day I talked to one of my clients about the importance of building his confidence, when he asked me, “Wouldn’t more confidence make me be less cautious, and thus potentially set me up for more failure?” I explained to him that being confident has nothing to do with being arrogant or delusional. Self-confidence is the belief in our intrinsic worthiness, and the trust we have in ourselves and our abilities. Being confident doesn’t mean that we believe we are invincible and can do anything we want. Real confidence is not only grounded in realistic expectations, but it also doesn’t get shaken up when those expectations aren’t met. If we have healthy self-esteem, we don’t shy away from challenges, we are committed to we want and believe in, and we have no qualms acknowledging our limitations.
Could your confidence level use a boost? Whether we are borne with confidence, or gradually building it, is an ongoing debate. Until my late thirties, my confidence levels seemed more like a roller-coaster ride than a straight line. Like many of us, I struggled with positive feelings about myself because I didn’t know how to build my self-esteem – and how not to undermine it.
Lack of confidence is one of the most common obstacles that prevent us from having success, fulfilling relationships, and a general sense of joy and purpose in life. No matter how much potential we have or how hard we work, as long as we are dealing with low self-esteem, we will spend more time struggling with criticism and self-doubt than focusing on what we really want. And even if we have been successful, we wonder if we truly deserve what we have accomplished.
Yet, although confidence plays such a crucial role in how we approach and succeed in our day-to-day life, most of us spend little time and focus on building and protecting the belief and faith in ourselves. Usually, it’s because we don’t really realize that whether are confident or not is entirely up to us.
Here are some simple ways to boost your confidence:
- Affirm: Confidence building starts with reminding yourself every morning that no matter what you were told or how you were treated, you are a unique individual with inherent goodness and the talents to create a life of meaning, joy and fulfillment. One of the most powerful affirmations to remind yourself of this fundamental truth is: “I love, appreciate and believe in myself. I am enough.”
- Avoid: At least 50% of boosting your confidence is preventing yourself from eroding it. Notice when you are poking holes in your self-esteem by comparing yourself to others, trying to get approval others, and giving more weight to their opinion than your own. Every time you refrain from unconsciously giving your power to other people, reclaim the right to be your own judge and authority. After all, nobody knows better than the person you spend every moment of your life with.
- Acknowledge: One of the most common reasons why people suffer from low self-esteem is that even though they show up every day, giving their best to all the different aspects of their lives, they don’t appreciate who they are and what they have done. You don’t have to find the cure for cancer or end world hunger to be able to acknowledge that your daily contributions matter.
Whether we compare confidence to a muscle that needs to be trained to get stronger, or a bank account that needs to be filled to pay out dividends, boosting our self-esteem takes time, commitment and consistency.