Me, confidently smiling, something simple that didn’t always come easily to me.
5 Easy Steps to Gain Confidence in Yourself
Looking at me now, you may not be able to immediately tell that I’ve struggled with lack of confidence in the past. My body image hasn’t always been great (still isn’t, to be honest), and I’ve doubted myself often. Many times I’ve had to come to terms with the kind of person I am, my likes and dislikes, my moods and dispositions, my talents and my faults. I’ve felt so different from other people at times, and that wasn’t always a good thing. Instead of feeling unique and worldly I felt weird and insignificant. No one should have to feel like that, because it is one of the worst feelings you could ever possibly have. The sad truth is that far too many people experience this wrenching, depressing self-doubt that stems from lack of confidence.
While it varies from person to person, and even day to day, just how bad a lack of confidence will affect an individual, I have felt it when it’s at its worst, and it wasn’t just a “mood”. It was a lifestyle that dragged on for months, years, even, and was always there looming in the dark corner of my mind.
I decided that this wasn’t working for me anymore. I had to look myself in the eye and say, “There is nothing wrong with you! You are one-of-a-kind, sure, but you are fine!”
So that’s exactly what I did.
I’m no expert, and I can’t help you gain confidence in your job, or in wooing a romantic interest; but if you’re anything like me, I think I can offer you a bit of sound advice on how to gain more confidence in yourself, like I did.
1. Take Care of Yourself
This step goes without saying. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will, either. A kind of overused saying that actually makes a lot of sense. How you go about completing this step is entirely up to you, and may be entirely different from the methods I’ve employed in the past. Some of the ways you can start taking care of yourself include:
- Getting more exercise
- Eating healthier
- Learning to manage money and getting a real bank account
- Spending times doing things that you enjoy, (in my case, reading and playing video games)
- Making sure you try to be social at least every once in a while
- Maybe literally taking care of yourself! I did this by trying to do my hair, makeup, and pick out clothes and jewelry every day (being concerned with my appearance on a daily basis has been probably the cornerstone of my efforts to gain confidence, and is a tactic that has stayed with me all this time for over 4 years. It may not be the best thing for you to try, but it worked for me)
2. Think Positive, Speak Positive
Going out of your way to be a pleasant, friendly person in this world that sometimes seems like it lacks those particular people at times was another huge way to gain confidence. If you stay friendly towards others (including complete strangers), remain kind and gracious, and keep out of drama and other people’s business, you can’t possibly lack for confidence. What could you possibly be doing wrong if you’re trying constantly to be a good person, right? What could anyone possibly say that’s bad about you?
Well, truth is, people will always find negative things to say about even the most saintly and most kind person on the planet. That’s just how some people work. The real goal here is to be as kind and good as possible, while placing less stock in what others have to say about you.
On the flip side of this rule, make sure you’re saying good things about yourself! Constantly! If you mess up, forgive yourself. If you make a mistake, fix it, and move on. Don’t dwell on the past or spend your time wrapped up in regret and rewinding everything to see exactly what you did wrong. Give yourself a break, count your blessings, realize your positive traits and work on bettering yourself. You don’t need to punish or talk down on yourself all the time.
4. Openly Pursue Romance and Friendships
I finally had to stop letting myself be a product of my surroundings and start forging a path forward of my own, bringing forth the traits I wanted to be known for. If you want to be friends with someone and hang out with them, make it known. You have to make plans. Don’t wait for calls to flood in and then get disappointed when they don’t. If someone doesn’t reciprocate, it will soon become obvious, and then you can cease your efforts. But as least be confident in the knowledge that you tried, and you’re not any worse of a person for not gaining someone’s interest. Their loss!
Nowadays, I’m a lot more private and reserved of a person. I wouldn’t say I’m a recluse, per se, but the number of social interactions I have per month are dipping down to only a handful. But that doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m relaxed in knowing that, while it may not be what most people my age are doing, it’s what I’m doing, and how I’m most comfortable and happy.
I’m also with a wonderful man whom I love, someone I probably wouldn’t even know if I didn’t have the confidence to pursue him when I was interested. He even admits he never would’ve made the first move on me, because of my age (I’m 10 years his junior), but I was able to break through that first impression and show him that I was worth his time. Because I was then, and 2 and a half years later, I still am.
4. Learn to Say No, Stick up for Yourself, and Cut Negative People Off
This one seems fairly obvious, as well as a lot to take on. The biggest and most difficult thing you can do to overcome your lack of confidence is learn these few skills. I had to learn to say “no” when I didn’t want to do something, (whether this meant not babysitting someone’s kid for free or not taking a date from a stranger or a shift from a coworker).
You also have to learn to stick up for yourself. This is probably the easiest aspect, but no less important. If someone was being unfair or rude to me, I’d have to let them have it, not in an inflammatory or aggressive way, but rather in a manner that let them know that I wasn’t going to be pushed around or taken advantage of. Luckily, these unfortunate situations don’t arise often, so you should rarely have to put this skill into practice.
Finally, and perhaps the most important of the group, is cutting negative people off. Depending on the person, this can be hard for you. It was for me. Some cut-offs I still think about to this day, but I believe that is less from a lack of confidence and more stemming from my compassion and craving for good, quality mainstays in my life. Sometimes sacrifices must be made if someone truly isn’t good for you or is even toxic for your life. Whether realizing that someone wasn’t always kind to you and they shouldn’t be coming over to hang out anymore, to even a family member that didn’t treat you with respect and talked down on you all the time, there are sometimes people who are in your lives that would be better for you if removed from it.
5. Be Able to Be Alone With Yourself
Yes, this one is kind of in the same vein as “Take Care of Yourself” because it’s a type of self-care that generally betters you as a person, however I also believe that this is a nice way of rounding it all out. Being able to take walks, go places, or just sit at home, all by yourself, is a crucial last step in increasing your confidence. Thanks to the other measures I had taken, I had less to fear from being alone with my thoughts. I finally treasured and valued my own company, and didn’t feel guilty when I wasn’t spending enough time alone, or feeling like I wasn’t making enough effort to be social (it certainly went and sometimes still does go both ways). It is most important because you will finally realize that you are indeed someone of worth, and someone who belongs, even if that feeling didn’t always come easy to you.