Gaining confidence in yourself

Don’t we all wish we were more confident? Confidence means believing in ourselves, our choices and getting the most out of life. When we have confidence, we walk and talk with assurance and a positive manner and feel inwardly good about ourselves.

As children, we had plenty of self-esteem. We walked into a room and people would smile at us and tell us how cute and clever we were, we believed them and felt good about ourselves. Then as we grew older, we began to realise that others had opinions about us and their judgements began to mean more to us and we began to doubt ourselves.

Lack of self-esteem stops us from taking chances and risks in our lives – we begin to worry that we may fail and that others may see our failures. Some of us find that eventually it is easier and safer to not try at all. Low self-esteem makes it harder for us to have a true relationship, if we are worrying about how we look and what we say, then we are hiding parts of ourselves from the very people we should be most open with.

Confidence in ourselves means we may feel the fear but we have faith in ourselves to go ahead and do it anyway. We hold the key to our own self-confidence, it comes from within and it is up to us to change our way of thinking. Here are some steps we can take to help us see ourselves in a more positive way by recognising our talents and gifts.

1. Make a detailed list of all you are good at – by recognising your good points you will begin to gain strength from them.

2. Get energetic. Park a little further away from work and walk, take a bike ride, use the stairs instead of the lift. You will feel full of energy and it will show.

3. Take a look at what you’re wearing. After all that is what others see first. Ask yourself these questions: How do I want to be seen? Who do I want to impress?

Remember these four important facts about what you wear:

* Fit. Make sure all your clothes fit well, nothing looks worse than tight clothes, or clothes which show too much of the wrong things.

* Cleanliness. Make sure your outfits are clean without rubbing, pulls, stray threads or missing buttons.

* Shoes. Everybody notices shoes, mostly because we get nervous and end up looking down. Keep your shoes well shined and in good repair.

* Smile. A beautiful, bright smile goes a long way to making us feel better about ourselves and others feel good when they receive a smile.

4. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Think about how you can make things better for you rather than accepting and feeling bad about the things you don’t like.

5. Talk to yourself. Use self-talk to acknowledge how you feel, try to feel good about the situations where you lack confidence by telling yourself encouraging things like “I know I feel shy but I can meet these new people, I have lots to offer”.

6. Give something of yourself to others. Offer to help someone, when you help make another person’s life better, you can’t help but feel better about yourself. If you want to succeed, help others succeed. If you want more joy, be more joyful.

7. Take some risks. List all the things you always wanted to try – art classes, bungy jumping, belly dancing. Make sure that you tell your family and friends what you are going to do, what you would like from them to help make it happen and then go do it!

8. Spoil yourself. We all lead such busy lives that we need to take time to nurture our own needs.

9. Give yourself approval. In the end, it is your opinion that matters the most so if you feel you are doing the best possible, then you are well on the way to valuing yourself.

I know, you are reading this and saying to yourself “This seems easy but I’ll bet they don’t work!” But the people who are most confident do these simple things unconsciously – they refuse to allow life to become overwhelming, and so can you.

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