Building confidence is powerful business. Speaking your mind, confidently entering a room full of strangers, or delivering a stellar presentation with little notice becomes possible because you believe in yourself.
So, once you have it, you want to keep it, right?
The problem is … some of your most kind and polite habits actually undermine the confidence you worked so hard to create, setting you back on a shaky foundation.
It’s wonderful that you’re nice and, of course, you want everyone to feel as good as you do, but it’s time to stop these pesky habits and honor your empowered self:
1. Constantly apologizing
Saying, “I’m sorry,” at every turn to appease people is a compassionate tripwire. While validation feels good for them, your self-esteem takes a hit every time you apologize for yourself. It confuses your subconscious mind. If you didn’t do anything actually wrong, yet you say, “I’m sorry,” self-doubt begins to creep in.
Practice saying, “I apologize,” instead and you may find you say it less often and only when genuinely warranted.
2. Hangin’ with the naysayers
It hurts when you care deeply for someone who is negative. You know how much better life is with a positive attitude. But cheering up a pessimist is an uphill battle …temporary at best …and energy-draining for you. Feeling happy or miserable is a choice. You can still love that person without wallowing in his or her misery.
Protect your confidence by investing your precious time in activities and conversations that make a positive impact and strengthen you.
3. Skipping out on me-time
To build authentic confidence, you must first create a good relationship with yourself. And that relationship includes me-time, doing what feeds your soul without need for anyone’s approval but your own.
Remember what recharges you. Schedule me-time on your calendar. Prioritize staying centered, balanced and connected to your inner self, your authenticity and your intuition.
4. Playing small
Authentic confidence is as rare as it is sought-after. You may not feel you fit in anymore with people you previously shared a lot in common with. We often play small so others won’t feel threatened, but that just undermines your efforts.
Relax knowing that as you play a bigger game, more players will arrive. Upgrading your life isn’t always comfortable but it is always worth it.
5. Belittling yourself
Certain words and phrases undermine communication and, as a result, your confidence, too. “Just” belittles. For example, saying, “I just have a question,” implies either you are unimportant or your question is. “I just think,” tells others that what you think is unnecessary or an afterthought.
6. Talking about what you don’t want
The subconscious mind ignores the words, “don’t” and “not” and essentially removes them from sentences. The brain is visual and focuses on action words to determine how to direct the body. Since it can’t picture not doing something, it focuses on the action in the sentence, which is precisely what you don’t want done. (Don’t picture a pink elephant. See?)
Next time, tell others what you do want, instead of what you don’t.
7. Putting your “but” in the wrong place
The word “but” in a sentence negates what came before it. So if you say, “I love you, but I dislike when you do this,” what comes across is your dislike. Instead, say, “I love you.” Then, start a new sentence about what you do want. “In the future, I’d appreciate if you (blah, blah, blah).” That way, you get both of your positive points across.
State what you want with certainty, which means think before you speak. This is something most of us can use practice in.
8. Taking criticism personally
When people criticize, it’s a reflection of what they’re unhappy with in themselves, not you. You may represent who or what they wish they could be or could do. And those who want to hurt you simply seek your company in their despair — avoid joining them.
Also, when you feel snarky or critical, look inside yourself to see what needs adjustment.
9. Ignoring your intuition
Trusting your gut feelings, like Oprah does, is precisely how you gain authentic confidence in the first place — there’s no other way. Without it, you’re simply a flag flapping in the breeze, taking whatever direction others think you should.
Standing your ground, speaking your mind, feeding your soul and rocking your confidence are all part of the inner game. It has nothing, NOTHING to do with anyone else. So, heed your intuition.
Reminder — You are more than enough.
You are more intelligent, talented and valuable than you can possibly imagine right now. And, as you scrap these self-defeating habits and, instead, trust your instincts, you’ll find yourself led in the right direction. This builds more confidence and allows you to showcase your brilliance and make a difference in the world.