Need a Boost? Four Ways to Build Self-Confidence
We tend to be hard on ourselves by nature — dwelling on our flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings rather than striving to see the good. While it’s normal and potentially constructive to recognize your imperfections, consistently being unkind to yourself takes its toll on your psyche and your overall attitude and self-esteem.
If you’re prone to seeing the negative, improving your self-esteem can feel like an uphill battle. The way you see yourself will likely not change overnight, but small, steady steps can improve your confidence and help you learn to love yourself for who you are. Below are four suggestions for improving your self-esteem:
1. Conduct a thorough and honest self-evaluation
If you currently struggle with low self-esteem, there are likely several (or many) things you wish to change about yourself. Unhappiness with your physical appearance, marital status, financial standing, geographic location, educational level, professional occupation, and a host of others can negatively affect the way you see yourself. Amidst the reasons why you’re unhappy with the person you are, you’ll likely find things you can and cannot change.
Before you begin on the journey to boost your confidence and improve your personal view of yourself, consider conducting an honest self-evaluation. Candidly explore the areas in your life that make you unhappy. Agree to accept the things you cannot change and that are out of your control. Decide what steps can be taken to improve the areas that can be improved.
If you are unhappy with your current behavior or habits, take steps to improve your life and your health. If you are using substances to relieve tension or stress, this will not help your self-esteem, however, making self-improvements will have a powerful effect on how you feel about yourself.
Even if you have a difficult time being kind to yourself, there are loved ones in your life who consistently see the good and potential within you. To help boost your confidence, choose to spend time around people who will support and uplift you. If it’s difficult for you to accept compliments and praise, actively work toward becoming more receptive to kindness and love from others.
When you are feeling low, it will be counterintuitive to want to let love in from others — but fight your negative mind. Try to accept the nice things people do for you and the kind things they say. It may be helpful to keep a written list, or diary, of these compliments, and read the positive statements when times get particularly rough. Always remember that you have a strong support system available to help build you up, and don’t hesitate to turn to them in times of need.
3. Practice positive affirmations
One of the most powerful tools against fighting low self-esteem is practicing positive affirmations, which are positive “I am,” “I will,” “I can,” and “I have” statements. Such affirmations are most effective when written down, visually displayed, and repeated aloud each day. Positive affirmations are meant to reinforce truths about your abilities, talents, potential, and worth in your mind — and faithfully believing in them will push you far out of your comfort zone.
Each day, strive to create a handful of new statements and display them in places commonly seen: your mirror, your phone, your car dashboard, etc. Even if it’s incredibly difficult to practice your positive affirmations, focus on statements that will seem true and believable, even during your weakest moments.
4. Stop the comparisons
Comparing yourself to others is one of the fastest ways to guarantee unhappiness and low self-esteem. In a world filled with billions of people, the only person you are actually competing with for happiness is you. Comparisons are tempting, but they wreak havoc on your feelings of self-worth, and will ultimately get you nowhere.
Rather than focusing on the lives of people who seem to have it “better” than you, turn your focus inward, and work to develop your strengths and abilities. Make your goal discovering and fine-tuning the best you. Avoid developing thought patterns that focus on how things would be better if you were someone else, or had someone else’s life. Self-esteem is found through learning to love and accept yourself, not through wishing your life away.
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Rebecca Klasfeld is a licensed clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’re ready to take the next step in improving your life, you are invited to call or fill out the contact form and click send.