Building authentic self confidence is key to truly enjoying our lives. Let your natural awesomeness shine through with these 7 confidence-boosting tips.
I tap my feet, nervously looking around the hotel reception.
It’s my first day in Bangkok, at the beginning of a lengthy solo trip through Asia and Australia. There are a couple of travellers milling around, but I’m feeling way too self-conscious to chat to them.
Just I’m gathering up the courage to go over and introduce myself, they walk out of the reception and into the balmy Thai air. Phew.
I feel a wave of relief, swiftly followed by mental self-flagellation.
Gaaaah, why am I such a complete and total wuss? I don’t want to spend my whole trip alone. What if I never find anyone else to talk to? I’m such an idiot…
What I needed at that moment (and in many other moments like it) was a serious dose of self confidence.
Where does confidence come from?
As someone who’s suffered from crippling low self-esteem, I can tell you where self confidence doesn’t come from:
- Not speaking up
- Doing things so people will like you
- Trying to look (or be) “perfect”
- Dismissing compliments and accomplishments
- Living your life for others
I lived the first 25 years of my life trying to be something for other people – to be attractive, to be helpful, to be liked.
But I didn’t like myself very much.
I’ve since spent years transforming my mindset; pushing my boundaries, working to understand who I am, valuing my worth, and simply being myself.
This is where authentic self confidence comes from.
The keys to killer self confidence
Ultimately, self confidence comes down to our beliefs.
This includes self-efficacy (our sense of independence, reliability, and adaptability) and self-esteem (our overall opinion of ourselves).
As Jay Shetty says, it’s about ‘how we feel about ourselves when we’re alone’; not what others believe about us, or how society might label us.
For example, I often struggle with the belief that “I don’t fit in”. Because of this, I feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, and that nobody truly understands me. I sometimes feel totally alone in the world.
This is because the external world mirrors our internal experience.
If we believe that the world is a friendly place, it will be; we’ll actively seek out kindness, and brush off negativity. Equally, if we believe it’s a dangerous place, our experiences will likely reflect this.
7 secrets to self confidence
Luckily, our beliefs can be rewired, and there are steps we can take to become more self-confident.
- Say what you mean. Practice pausing to figure out what you want to say, expressing yourself with clarity, and checking for understanding from others. The result? Total congruency between what’s going on in your head and what’s coming out of your mouth. Plus, no more feeling icky after saying something that’s totally inauthentic.
- Tell yourself nice things. Practice looking in the mirror and telling yourself you’re awesome, you love yourself, you accept yourself, your body looks rockin’, and so on. This might feel silly at first, but it genuinely helps to rewire our reflex to criticise what’s ‘wrong’ with us every time we look in the mirror.
- Live by your values. Figure out what you truly value, what vision of your life you’re working to create, and what kind of person you want to be. Then ask yourself how you could live in alignment with this now. Let go of the need for the stars to align and everything to be perfect before you allow yourself to live a life that’s true to you.
- Nourish your body, mind, and soul. Treat yourself like royalty. Remember that you deserve to be treated well; especially if you’re someone who always wants to help others. You deserve that treatment too – don’t leave yourself out. Nourish your body with healthy foods, your mind with new ideas, and your soul with plenty of self care. If you don’t know how, make learning how a major priority.
- Remember the good stuff. Keep a working list of accomplishments, testimonials, and/or compliments (even the small ones). Remind yourself how awesome you are by reviewing it regularly. Keeping a record of this will also train your brain to look out for more of these, and combat your natural negativity bias.
- Let go of what others think. Other people will always judge us, no matter what we do. In order to build self confidence (and stay sane), we have to let go of the unhelpful opinions of people who aren’t important or relevant to us. My current rule is that if a person hasn’t already done what I want to do, their ‘advice’ doesn’t really matter – especially if I haven’t asked for it.
- Honour your truth. Take time out every day to look inwards and ask “what’s true for me right now?” (meditating and journaling are great for this). It’s difficult to peel away the layers of other people’s expectations, but once we do, we start to see what we really want – allowing ourselves to be guided by our internal voice, and operating from a place of authentic self confidence.
Building deep, lasting, and authentic self confidence is a daily practice.
If we can remind ourselves to live in alignment with who we really are, our natural awesomeness will eventually shine through with ease.