Gaining self-confidence can take a lot of effort to achieve. If only it were an innate thing that humans would do! On top of that, cultural and social factors seriously affect our lifestyle and especially how we feel about ourselves.
Social trends, for example, dictate how we should look (fashion victims) and that in order to feel good we should have a perfect body. Have you ever felt like a loser, dumb, or ugly?
Normally, the more we age and gain experience, the more self-confident we become. It is true, with time, I got to better know myself, my tastes, my wants, my strengths, and my weaknesses.
There is this French saying that says it all “etre bien dans sa peau” which literally translates “to feel well in one’s skin”.
“Skin” here refers to a type of prison in which our personality is trapped, and to state that we feel good in our own skin means that we feel in full bloom in our situation, and also fully accept our character. It implies that we’ve got a balanced mind-body harmony.
This article may be helpful to you if you wish you were more confident; you want some handy tips to improve your self-confidence or you simply want to know more about self-confidence.
Below are some practical steps that have greatly helped me overcome my self-doubts and thus, increase my self-confidence.
You may be interested in reading “10 French lifestyle tips” for a happier life!
What is self-confidence? (vs. self-esteem)
Though different, self-confidence and self-esteem go hand in hand together.
First, having healthy self-esteem means that you respect and value yourself while self-confidence is the belief in yourself, your capacities, opinions, and powers.
Second, your self-esteem grows and alters due to your good or bad life adventures and relations. Your self-confidence can change in different situations.
Therefore, it is important to have a good amount of self-esteem in order to build enough self-confidence to face life’s challenges, whether positive or negative.
Also, lacking self-confidence doesn’t necessarily mean that your self-esteem is too low. You may feel secure in some circumstances and less in others. That’s normal!
I love the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of self-confidence:
The belief that you can do things well and that others respect you.
So, you are confident when you have a positive self-image and of life in general. In the same way, your self-confidence is healthy when you truly believe in your own judgment and abilities.
On the other hand, you suffer from low self-assurance when you constantly criticize yourself. You have such a low opinion of yourself that as a result, you feel like you can’t cope with life’s ups and downs.
Sounds like you? Remember that no one is born self-confident! Often, it is your negative personal life experiences that have stopped you from developing enough confidence.
What causes low self-confidence?
Lacking self-confidence often starts when we are children. Not only our social circle (parents, siblings, buddies, teachers) but also the media, constantly send us positive/negative feedback about ourselves.
As an example, one of those negative messages that stuck with me is “You are stupid”. To this day, I very well remember my elementary math teacher telling me how stupid I was because I was no good at maths. Humiliating me in front of my entire class. I was 8-9 years old. Can you relate?
Stick around with me to find out how I took up the challenge to be excellent at maths and how I became an A+ student.
Plus, one’s character can also be the source of low self-assurance. Some people tend to be negative all the time while others’ life expectations and standards are too high.
Finally, tough life events like the loss of a loved one, sexual abuse, physical disabilities, and serious sickness (depression, cancer, chronic diseases) can significantly affect and lower our self-confidence.
How to grow your self-assurance?
First of all, to feel well in your own skin has nothing to do with your weight and looks. It is so much deeper than that. It is how you feel at the core of your essence. Developing self-confidence requires a decision-making process to take action. You resolve and tame your mind to accept and trust yourself, no matter what life throws at you. No matter the criticism.
Remember that we all sometimes still feel low about ourselves even when super self-confident!
Beneath are several steps you can take to grow your confidence. Some are just small changes; others are more challenging to turn into everyday habits.
Medical disclosure: The Fit Yourself Barre content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician. You should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
Here are 14 habits to adopt for gaining self-confidence!
Mental self-confidence actions
- 1. Cheer yourself up
Love yourself. Sounds selfish? Nope. Practicing self-love is the hardest thing to do especially when you’ve been overly criticized growing up. I have learned to be kind to myself when negative thoughts come running through my mind such as “I’m no good” or “I’m stupid”. I give myself positive self-talk, cheering me up like “I am able, I am smart.” I challenge those self-critical beliefs by treating myself like I would my best friend. I give myself the best advice with gentle compliments.
- 2. Remember what you’re good at
Identify what you love doing whether it’s reading, drawing, or cooking, and appreciate it. Embrace your talents, your abilities, your passions, and strengths. I’ve always loved sports so I have put together this fitness blog. Doing what I’m good at boosts my mood and makes me happy. It builds my confidence in my own abilities.
- 3. Recall what you’ve already accomplished
This is a MUST!!! Whenever I feel discouraged, I remind myself of what I have already done during the day. Like “I have done the laundry, I have exercised, I have called my mom…” and I instantly feel so much happier and proud of myself.
Something to do: keep a list of the things in your life that have brought you joy and that you are proud of. That can be learning how to play an instrument or getting a good grade. Don’t forget to add to the list. (We tend to forget easily…at least I DO!)
- 4. Try not to compare yourself to others
You’ve heard it before: we are all unique and different! However, it is human to compare ourselves to others and try to impress friends or family so as to be entirely accepted. The great news is that we can change and learn how to stop that. The key is to appreciate what we have and who we are. It isn’t easy not to mind what others think about how you dress, look like, live your life, etc…
- 5. Think body positive
Enough of the “perfect body” dictatorship in magazines and media! Every body type is PERFECT. Thank goodness, it started about 10 years ago, when I joined Instagram that I started seeing posts of women proudly showing their cellulite, pimples, stretch marks, and body hairs… body positivism was born! I was so excited to see that because I, myself had started rejecting social beauty standards.
Social self-confidence steps
- 6. Learn to say “nope”
That’s a tough one: to stop apologizing for what you need, what you want, and, who you are! Moreover, you don’t have to say “yes” to other people when you don’t feel like it. This takes a lot of practice, especially for people with very low self-esteem. And it’s ok if people criticize you. Easier said than done, I know. But it is important for your overall health. The risk of always saying yes to everyone is that you get upset, anxious, depressed, and burned out.
- 7. Be assertive
Being assertive is about how you are able to express your needs and feelings firmly without diminishing others. It is a healthy way to communicate your thoughts and opinions clearly and respectfully, expecting the same from others.
Alike, it shows how you respect yourself because while you stand up for your interests, you also care for other people’s rights.
- 8. Surround yourself with positive people
Try to stay away from people that weigh you down. Surround yourself with friends who appreciate you and cheer you up. Likewise, positive people help you reach your goals and feel stronger. You can’t love yourself, be confident and embrace who you are with toxic people around you, always bringing you down.
- 9. Challenge yourself with some achievable goals
Trying new things and setting some goals will help you gain more confidence. They don’t have to be huge plans. In fact, small accomplishments like inviting your friends for a nice dinner or trying a new recipe do boost your self-confidence. Take on a new challenge!
- 10. Praise others
When we receive praise, we feel better and it helps grow our self-respect. You may feel embarrassed at first to accept it so you minimize and respond “no, but…” right? We’ve all done that! I had to learn to assume myself and appreciate compliments gracefully. I simply and humbly say ” thank you, I appreciate your kind words”
- 11. Accept compliments and assume yourself
We’ve all judged others, even secretly, on their physical appearance, life choices, etc… That can be changed too! Yes, complimenting others will help you become more confident. Plus, decrying others simply shows how poor your self-confidence is.
Physical self-confidence actions
- 12. Wear what you like, follow your preferences, not trends
In a nutshell, I don’t like it, I don’t buy it, I don’t wear it. I don’t ask others if they like what I wear because their opinion doesn’t matter. I am the one who should like it, not them! I don’t ask: is it too long or too short? Do you like my new hairstyle? etc… I love it and that’s all that counts!
Wear clothes in which you feel comfy and beautiful. Forget the concept of dressing according to your morphology or age. Do you like blu lipstick? Wear it! Do you feel comfy in crop tops or shorts? Wear them! YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!
- 13. Smile often
You look so different when you smile, don’t you think? Our face lights up! Look at yourself in the mirror without smiling. Don’t you find your reflection sad? Indeed, smiling boosts our mood, releasing cortisol and endorphins, the feel-good hormone. It is all worth it!
- 14. Take good care of yourself
For instance, I love treating myself to a nice body massage once in a while. It allows me to relax, feel great, and recharge my battery. For the sake of your well-being, take the time to cherish yourself. Equally important, don’t feel guilty about doing things that make you happy and more confident.
Read here the related article “French women self-care ideas: 14 Top tips!”
Why is gaining self-confidence so important? Five key benefits!
Self-confidence plays such an important role in living your best life.
As you fill up your tank with confidence, you become:
- Less anxious and stressed
You can stop the constant negative overthinking that takes place inside your head and find inner peace.
- More motivated
You find yourself more willing to try new things and have a lasting sense of achievement.
- Stronger and more resilient
You are no longer crippled by your failures. Accepting them, paradoxically, makes you thrive more.
- You feel the most yourself
Knowing and embracing your weaknesses doesn’t change how you value yourself. Rather, you have a greater sense of purpose.
- You develop deeper connections with others
Your interactions are more genuine because you are not so preoccupied with what others think about you. When self-confident, you are more able to reach out and help others.
What are the signs and effects of low self-confidence?
When your self-confidence is poor, it can lead you to:
- Avoid social situations
- Shy away from life’s challenges
- Have problems with your friendships and romantic relationships
- Develop unhealthy addictive habits like smoking, over-drinking, or drugs as a way of coping
- Fall into a state of depression, loneliness, stress, and anxiety
- Develop unproductive behaviors at your workplace like defensiveness, rebellion, or being too obedient
- Negatively impact your academic performance
It becomes a serious problem when our lack of self-confidence causes damaging impacts on both our mental and physical health. If that is your situation, I advise you to get some professional counsel.
The power of gaining self-confidence
Here is as promised my little childhood story. I so much lacked self-confidence when I was a kid that it affected my schooling. I was struggling to get good grades, and I really hated maths until I had this simple conversation with my future brother-in-law who was then in medical school.
He simply challenged me to believe in myself and my abilities to succeed. Further, he managed to convince me that I was as intelligent as the best students in my class and that I could become an A+ student myself. He triggered something that was missing inside of me: faith in myself.
After that, I was so boosted to make it that not only did I become a successful student but I even ended up choosing science and maths-oriented studies in high school.
I really hope that the self-help tips inspired you to believe in yourself and take action. Though, when you’ve lost self-confidence, it can take time to reverse the process, never give up! Besides, remember that you cannot please everyone. Above all, love and be yourself.
Should you have any questions, or simply have an experience to talk about, please share your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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