How to Become More Confident: 7 Ways to Help You — by Katrina Van
Many people say ‘confidence is sexy’. Whenever you type in “How to become more ” in a Google search bar, the second item that comes up is ‘confident’ (the first being ‘social’). We all struggle with confidence and self-esteem. There is so much pressure to become confident while we’re at college/university or learning to live on our own because we were taught to believe that all adults are confident. The truth is something else:
They struggle with it too. Everyone doubts themselves now and again.
In today’s society, confidence plays an important role in many aspects of our lives. We look for it in our partners as an indicator of healthy self-esteem and we’re judged on it in interviews as a sign of capability. We see it in our parents which reinforces trust and knowledge that they know what to do. We see it in our friends and peers as being social and having their life together. We see it on TV as sexy and powerful (think Suits). The media, the Internet, the people in our life are all screaming “BE MORE CONFIDENT!”, but they don’t tell you exactly how. Well I’m here to tell you how, not as some confidence expert or psychologist, but as a regular person struggling with it every single day.
1. Accept praise
One of the reasons people lack confidence is because they have low self-esteem. By learning to accept praise and answering “Oh so you think you’re pretty?” with “Damn right I am” in your head, you will begin to feel better about yourself (Comment below if you caught that Mean Girls reference). And if they’re complimenting you for a shady reason, who cares! They noticed something nice about you so instead of arguing with them or feeling shy about it, just say “Thank you” and smile. Notice any recurring aspects that you’re being complimented on, is it your fashion sense, assertiveness, wisdom, sense of humor, hair, kindness, passion, entrepreneurial spirit? Recognize that the most common compliment you receive is a strength, and it’s probably one of the first thing people notice when they meet you. Accentuating that part of you will help you feel better about yourself and what kind of image you’re projecting to the world.
Having role models is great, don’t get me wrong, but we end up idealizing them and creating God-like images of them. We forget that celebrities and CEOs and family members are all regular people that make mistakes just like we do. By creating a better version of you in your head and becoming your own role model, you will have a realistic image to strive for. Comparing your current, accomplished self to your past, younger self, may increase your self-worth and help you reflect on your past.
3. Treat ‘yo self!
It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. You are worthy of everything that comes your way. Prioritize and make time for things you actually want to do. Want to go horseback riding, learn a new language, or take baking classes? WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? Weigh how much you want it with how much you’re willing to sacrifice and create an actionable plan with a timeline. I know we’re all busy with school, work and life but there’s breaks in between and, for many students, four whole months of summer! Stop making excuses and put yourself first for once. Doing what you really want will result in you learning more about yourself and becoming more self-assured. Even treating yourself materialistically, like buying a nice watch, pair of shoes, or a leather jacket and pampering yourself can make you feel like a million bucks.
Write it down, say it in your head, tell your mom, tell your friends, tell yourself in the mirror, shout it out, SCREAM IT AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS: “I WROTE A TO-DO LIST TODAAYYY!!!!” A year ago, I gave my friends jars for Christmas to fill up with memories of good things that happened in 2013. At the end of the year, you read all the good memories and things that you have accomplished. It’s a great way to reminisce and keep track of all the little happy moments in your life. Your successes, big or small, deserve to be celebrated. Whether you passed a tough course, exercised for a whole month, got a new job, or didn’t fight with your partner, it’s a reason to celebrate and pat yourself on the back.
That’s right, I said it. By taking more: silly, duck, tongue-out, innocent, creative, smiley, kissy face pictures of yourself, you will begin to notice your own beauty/handsomeness and appreciate others’ as well. An important step to becoming more confident is to learn to love yourself: personality, accomplishments, values, and looks.
6. Stop worrying about what others think of you
This is the toughest one. I hear it all the time, and it’s one of those things that is so easy to say yet so hard to do. I constantly battle with myself because I do care about what others think of me. It’s hard not to when there’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram showing you what everyone else is up to, how much fun they’re having while you’re home in your pajamas eating ice cream and watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The truth is that everyone puts their best face on social media, and if everyone recorded their boring days, we would be seeing a lot of vegetating, grocery shopping, doing homework, and refreshing Facebook. Instead of envying what others are doing, be grateful that you have time to laze around on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone is so busy worrying about themselves, they don’t care enough to spend their time judging you. And if they do waste their mental activity to think negatively about you, then they’re not worth being worried about.
Keep your chin up, back straight, walk with a purpose, and look straight ahead. Don’t hide behind your hair or another person, walk as if you know exactly where you need to be even if you really don’t. By walking sure-footedly, like you own the place, you will feel more powerful and independent. It’s simple and it works. Just like smiling in the mirror will brighten your mood, walking with confidence will give you the courage to be more assertive. Maybe even throw in a fun power song to get your mood up as you walk.
At the end of the day, confidence builds slowly and comes from, often quietly and consistently, getting shit done. Getting things done shows that you are a capable adult and you understand that, for example: the bills have to get paid, the work has to be completed, and that dentist appointment you’ve been dreading has to be scheduled. By doing the things you need to do, you will feel more self-assured doing them again and again, which will in turn, empower you to do more things. And doing things is how you will become more confident.
If you look at the leaders in this world you will see that although there are exceptional geniuses that are gifted like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, most CEOs and other higher-ups got to where they are by getting things done, day in and day out. With these tips, you can become more self-reliant and bold, ready to conquer everything tomorrow has to offer. Thank you for reading this article and remember that if you ever need help with confidence, public-speaking or leadership, ask us. We’re here to help.
All gifs are from giphy.com