“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.” — Maxwell Maltz
In life, so many things happen that makes us question our competences and abilities, but guess what? Self-confidence is not genetic! It is a result of conscious and consistent effort geared towards building your self-worth and image. Everyone has to deal with that inner critic of self-doubt that constantly tells us that we are not good enough. When bombarded by so many elements that threaten our self-confidence, we need to take charge of building it up for ourselves. Here are some tips that will help.
- Love yourself, flaws and all. In a world where perfection sells, everyone needs a constant reminder that no one actually is perfect! It’s not a cliché, it’s true. Don’t get caught up in the things you don’t have; be grateful for the things that you do have. Love yourself and dare I say that you forgive yourself for all of your mistakes and your shortcomings. Stop letting them hold you down. Work on them by setting small goals, and be proud of your achievements. Create a ‘great’ list. Every day, write down one thing that you are grateful for and paste it somewhere conspicuous: on your mirror or on the wall by your desk, so you can always be reminded of what an amazing person you are. I heard someone say once that sexy is an attitude, not a body shape – and I totally agree. Learn to love yourself as you are. Confidence is all the sexy you need!
- Surround yourself with positivity. Think positive. The law of attraction says that you attract to yourself what you think about the most. So quit the negativity and criticism. You can frame your favourite picture with an added quote telling the world how great you are and hang it somewhere you will always see it. Have a mantra – a quote that you repeat to yourself often, something like this: “I am strong, I am confident, I am successful and I am beautiful”. Practice standing in front of the mirror and saying positive things to yourself for 5 minutes every morning. Cut yourself off from negative friends and surround yourself instead with people who help you boost your confidence. All in all, live positive.
- Wearing good and smart clothes can make you feel good about yourself. You would be surprised just how much looking good can make you feel good. Now, I don’t mean wearing a 500k designer bag. Simple but lovely and presentable clothes that fit your body type and express your personality can overall boost your self-image and confidence tremendously.
- Be prepared. Always being prepared and ready for any activity and engagement can help you feel more confident about what you are about to do. Whether it’s a job, a presentation, an exam or even a date, prepare yourself adequately and have the requisite knowledge to back it up. Practice well beforehand, be inspired and you’ll do just fine!
- Change your posture and body language. As crazy as it sounds, dominant postures (making yourself big and stretched out), characterized by sitting up, opening up your arms, smiling and maintaining eye contact; as opposed to making yourself smaller by wrapping your arms, huddling, hunching and avoiding eye contact, do not just reflect your confidence level but actually influences it. Research has shown that when you ‘pretend’ to be powerful, you actually start to feel powerful and optimistic due to hormonal changes that configure your brain to be confident. Your body posture and language can actually change your mind and feelings. So learn to stand tall, sit up, smile and open up even when you don’t feel like it. For at least 5 minutes daily, strike a winning power pose with your hands raised up. Consciously strike dominant and high power poses and you would be surprised at how much your confidence rises.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing – if you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to? Take control of your life and your self-confidence. You can have the kind of confidence that is admired by everyone and constantly see your self-worth even when things aren’t going so well. Self-confidence is not genetic. Take these concrete actions to improve your self-image and watch as your confidence level soars!