Self-confidence isn’t something that comes easy.
Some people try the “Fake It Until You Make It” approach yet tend to come off cocky or sometimes even arrogant. A person with a true wealth of self-confidence got there because they have invested significant time and energy into cultivating the practices of personal growth that develop it.
Yet even people who have a strong core of self-confidence can still suffer the slings and arrows of life’s outrageous fortunes. The challenges that assault all of us in life and in business can sometimes stagger or even deflate the most naturally confident people.
If You have lost some of your self-confidence, or you need help building it, there are some tried and true practices that can help.
Visualizing Your New State Of Being
Visualization is a practice used around the world and in many industries. It is particularly popular in athletics. This is a process of projecting an image of yourself in your mind’s eye. Individuals who struggle with low self-confidence or low self-esteem often create a negative false image of their individual worth.
Instead take time out of every day, maybe even multiple times a day, to visualize your self as a more confident individual. Ask yourself key questions to really flesh out your new self. What are you doing? What’s something you are uncomfortable with now, that you would tackle as your more confident self?
Many people struggle to maintain a positive self-image. Practicing self-affirmation helps you maximize your visualized self, as well as reinforcing the good things you are doing in the here and now. Research has also found that by stating the affirmation out loud, you are more likely to receive it. Take the time to give yourself a verbal pat on the back, and you might find your self-image improving.
Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone
As human beings, we tend to naturally resist change. As we grow older, we seem to get better and better at reinforcing our comfort zone. Yet to truly grow and build self-confidence you need to break out of that comfort zone and develop a personal culture of confronting your fears.
It can help to start small. There’s no need to get off the couch and bungee jump off a tall building, only to go back to the couch again afterward. By making little changes every day to break out of your comfort zone, you start to build the kind of emotional momentum to realize that the only limits you have are the ones you impose on yourself.
Beware Your Inner Critic
Each of us has a so-called “Inner Critic” hiding deep in the basement of our internal monologue. This persona tends to know where all the chinks are in your emotional armor. Left untamed the inner critic’s voice can loom large, even if its negative perception is inaccurate.
There are psychological schools of thought and therapy programs like cognitive behavioral therapy that are designed to question your inner critic. The human mind tends to be wired in such a way that we more closely examine questions than statements. Defeating the inner critic with thoughtful questions and positive self-affirmations will go a long way toward helping to boost your sense of self-confidence in the long term.
Desensitize Yourself To Rejection
The innate fear of rejection comes part in parcel with the human experience. It can also limit your willingness to break out of your comfort zone. A man named Jia Jiang famously succeeded in desensitizing himself to rejection, by asking others for outrageous things, every day for 100 days. While there were certainly some who thought he’d gone crazy, the end result was a decreased sense of rejection, and the confidence to stretch his limits.
While you may not necessarily need to go so far, it’s worth the effort to try it. Even if you get rejected multiple times.
Create Situations To Set Yourself Up For Success
Setting lofty goals is a common practice for many people who embrace the process of personal growth. Yet setting a single goal with high standards and expectations can also set you up for failure. Setting up some small goals to build momentum can help you “Eat The Elephant One Bite At A Time.”
You can also set simple, small goals that might not necessarily be in line with your lofty primary goal. Still, being able to accomplish them and “Check Them Off The List” can build the kind of emotional momentum and confidence that carries over in your other endeavors.
Take The Time To Help Someone Else
Let’s face it, you’re not the only one who could benefit from a helping hand. Making the effort to help someone else helps cultivate gratitude. People who embrace what’s called the Supererogatory Experience tend to focus less on their own shortcomings, and even tend to develop a greater sense of self-worth.
Try Keeping A Gratitude Journal
Many people who keep a written journal do so as a form of catharsis. It gives them a place to vent and release some of the negative emotions associated with many of life’s challenges. However, a gratitude journal turns this concept on its ear. Instead of venting negative emotions, which can lead to over-focusing on them, you instead take 15-minutes at the end of the day to write about something you appreciate.
It could be that phone call from an old friend. Maybe it’s the person who paid for your coffee this morning. It might even be something as cute as feeling grateful that your child is doing better in school. Keep the tone positive and gracious. Research has shown that individuals who consistently keep a gratitude journal start to experience a greater sense of self-esteem, as well as other interesting benefits like an improved threshold for pain.
Make Sure To Practice Self-Care
The concept of self-care can seem a little counter-intuitive in this day and age, where we always seem to be hustling about from one day to the next. Self-care is also about personal stewardship of your mind and your body.
Simple things like eating right, getting more exercise, and focusing on quality sleep aren’t all that hard once you invest in making it a consistent practice. Improvements in your general health and well-being also tend to translate into improvements in your emotional state, as well as your energy levels.
Establish Personal Boundaries And Stick To Them
We all have boundaries about what we consider to be acceptable. Take the time to explore and define what you feel your boundaries are. When someone else pushes on those boundaries or crosses them, make the effort to politely explain your boundaries and assert them. Putting energy into asserting your acceptable level of respect also translates over into your natural sense of self-confidence.