Building up your confidence is all about taking small actions each day to feel more esteemed, worthy, and comfortable in your skin. Being confident isn’t about being perfect. Instead, it’s about being willing to lean into your human imperfections and love yourself anyways. Here are 10 little ways to change your life to feel more confident every day.
1. Do what makes you feel alive.
Sure, you can be an accountant because you’re good at it or you can do sales because you bring in the dough. But, if your job or life activities don’t make you feel excited to be alive, have you asked yourself why you’re there? Howard Thurman said “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Feeling alive in your skin is a ticket to confidence.
2. Learn to take compliments.
How often do you respond to a compliment with a self-deprecating remark, a flatout “no,” or some other deflection? Why is it so hard to accept compliments? A fascinating study found that women accept compliments from other women only 22 percent of the time. I’d dare to say this is either because of low-confidence or a fear of being too confident. You’d feel appropriately confident if you started just responding to compliments with “thank you.” Try it! I bet it’ll change many interactions and how you feel about yourself.
3. Become fearless through embracing fear rather than naively assuming you’ll overcome it.
Maybe your confidence is lackluster because you’re oozing with fear. You’re terrified to tell your best friend you’re in love with them. You’re scared shitless to try a new sport even though you’re itching to play soccer. Rather than putting the unreasonable expectation on yourself that you should be free from fear, try diving face first into your fear. Know that your fear isn’t going anywhere. So, your two options are to run away from it or to run towards it.
4. Say no to people, places, and experiences you don’t want to do.
When your confidence is low, you have a hard time speaking up for your needs and wants. You end up at parties with people you don’t even like and on dates with those who are reinforcing your feelings of self-loathing. Stop doing these things. Start saying no to people, places, and experiences that don’t feel good. This isn’t a universal rule, we can’t be happy all the time, but practice only saying yes when you really want to do something! By saying no to someone else, you’ll be saying yes to yourself.
5. Learn your strengths and weaknesses.
One of the biggest indicators of genuine confidence is being able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses. Quite frankly, it’s knowing what you’re awesome at and what you suck at. As you grow into the wonderful human you are, you may get a better picture how you’re really good at working with teenagers, but pretty crappy at working with young kids. This is totally fine. You build confidence from continuing to do what you’re good at and sometimes challenging yourself to do what you’re bad at.
6. Build self-trust.
Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philospher, said “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” How many times has your gut told you what the next right action is, and you didn’t listen? Instead of ignoring it, start building self-esteem by listening to that quiet voice inside that guides you through your life.
7. Get comfortable with the unknown.
Confident actions sometimes look like doing things totally outside of your comfort zone. There are a bunch of unknown factors, so you have to start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Sometimes you aren’t going to have the answers, you’re going to look like an idiot trying a new hobby, or you’re going to make an ass of yourself hitting on someone. This is all okay. A huge part of building confidence is taking a giant leap into the unknown.
8. Get familiar with your self-talk by noticing the tapes playing out in your head.
One of the bravest (and best) things you can do is take an honest look at your patterns. We all have voices that play out in our heads. Your tapes may look something like “I’m not good enough, my partner is way better than me, I’d never be able to do the thing I’ve been wanting to do.” Start to notice these tapes playing out in your head. Just noticing them will give you an opportunity to interrupt the patterns and build self-confidence.
9. Practice gentleness and acceptance.
Part of confidence is knowing that you’re going to make mistakes, but being gentle with yourself anyways. You’re going to go on dates and stumble over your words. You’re will have days where you totally wish you had a different body. This is all called being a human being. Meet these experiences with gentleness and acceptance and you’ll build more confidence. As Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
10. Embrace your flavor of confident.
After taking actions that align with your needs and values, you’ll start to feel better about yourself. You’ll walk, talk, and exist differently. However, know that you are allowed to have your own flavor of confident. Maybe your coworker is really loud and makes a lot of hand gestures when they talk. Even though this is their flavor of confident, yours can look totally different. Perhaps yours looks like choosing a night in with a book and a warm blanket.