10 easy steps to feeling more confident
No matter what your age, self-esteem is important. Lisa Phillips gives some positive pointers to changing your life
Are you one of those people who just wish they had more confidence? Do you compare yourself to other people or always worry about what other people really think about you and your actions?
Do you end up shaking in your boots at the mere thought of being assertive or taking a risk? If so, don't panic. Most of us suffer from a lack of confidence at one point and you can learn to build confidence at any age - regardless of your past.
Check out these 10 tips to boost your self-esteem.
1. Like yourself
Learning to like yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do for your self-esteem and confidence. Seriously, despite what you may believe, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You may think deep down that you are fatally flawed or not as good as everyone else, but this is simply not true.
Acknowledge that you are just as worthy as everyone else and that you deserve your own love and attention. Remember, you deserve the best, just like everyone else on this planet, so put some effort into liking yourself a little more.
2. Learn to please yourself
Many of us spend our lives trying to gain approval from other people, whether it is family, friends or even complete strangers. In doing so, we often put ourselves second or hold back from saying or doing what we want. Instead of putting all your energy into pleasing other people, start to please yourself and focus on what you want, rather than what other people want.
An important fact to remember is that some people are unpleasable, so stop turning yourself inside out trying to please them. Approve of yourself rather than working so hard to gain approval from others.
3. Make your happiness a priority
Make a decision that your happiness is important to you. Change your focus away from keeping other people happy and move towards making yourself happy. Try writing a list of 20 things you enjoy doing and aim to do at least one a day. It could be something as simple as taking a warm relaxing bath, having a good cuppa in the evening or making time to go for a nice walk in the fresh air. Taking steps to make yourself happy is good self-care; you alone are responsible for your happiness - not anyone else.
4. Give yourself a break
Quit beating yourself up. Many of us treat others far better than we treat ourselves, so quit being so hard and critical on yourself. If you lack confidence, instead of getting angry and frustrated with yourself, find some kind and soothing words which will encourage you to feel good.
Self-critical thoughts will knock your confidence while kind words will give it a well-deserved boost. Be your own best friend and cheerleader.
5. Banish negative thoughts
Most of us have been thinking the same negative thoughts for most of our lives and repeat them over and over each day. Most of our negative programming stems from our younger years.
Decide not to let these thoughts have any power over you any more. Okay, you may not be able to ever get rid of all them, but you can practice choosing more nurturing and kinder thoughts each day. It will take some practise, but over time, it will get easier and the new healthy thoughts will replace the old mouldy programming.
6. Stop scaremongering
Many of us lie awake each night worrying about the worst that could happen. Our minds play tricks, making us believe things will not turn out well. Challenge these scary thoughts - most of them are based on speculation rather than facts.
Remind yourself that even if things don't go according to plan, you will be okay.
Seriously, what is the worst that can happen? Aim to assume that things will go well for you, rather than making frightening assumptions. If you are a worry wart, try writing your worries down in a notebook before you go to bed in order to get them out of your head.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others
It would be a boring world if we were all the same. Don't get into the habit of thinking just because someone is different from you, it means they are better than you in some way. Each of us has our own unique personality and talents, so why not celebrate them? Why not write a list of some of the things you have achieved in life and celebrate being you.
8. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Whether it is taking a risk, learning to be assertive or simply saying "no" to your boss at work, recognise that you may go through a period of feeling uncomfortable or anxious. Don't let these uncomfortable feelings hold you back or convince you that you have done something wrong. It is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable after doing something new or being assertive for the first time.
9. Take responsibility for yourself
Confidence is an inside job. If you want to build confidence, you need to start from within yourself. Quit blaming your parents, boss or partner and take responsibility for building confidence yourself.
Nobody else can do it for you and nobody is coming to save you. If you want things to change, you need to change.
10. Avoid toxic people
Be clear that some people are toxic and there is nothing you can do to change them. Release people from your life who don't make you feel good and surround yourself with people who nourish you and make you feel positive. Remember, it is perfectly acceptable to walk away from people who continually hurt you or put you down. Don't try to work out why they are like this - just care about yourself enough to walk away.
- Lisa Phillips is the author of The Confidence Coach: Take Control of Your Life and Wellbeing. Published by Exisle Publishing at £11.50 (on Amazon.co.uk). For more information, see www.exislepublishing.co.uk