Imagine you have a toothache and you go to your dentist. As usual, the nurse takes you from the waiting room to the treatment room. As you arrive there, you notice that your dentist is not in the clinic, but is represented by another doctor who you don’t know.
You don’t like the new doctor at all. He can’t answer your questions properly, mumbles and stands crooked in the treatment room. All in all, you have a bad feeling with this doctor and would prefer to leave the practice very quickly, but why is that?
The doctor we just described has a lack of confidence. You can tell from his posture, his aura and many other things. He has not given you the feeling that you can trust his abilities. This is because the doctor himself has no confidence in his abilities.
If a person has no confidence in his own abilities, how are YOU supposed to trust that person?
Confidence is contagious. People with a pronounced self-confidence tend to arouse it in their fellow people, no matter whether in their patients, their audience or their colleagues at work.
The good news is: you can learn how to be more confident.
In this article, we’ll define self-confidence, explain the advantages of being more confident and, above all, explain how to build confidence. Finally, we’ll give you nine practical confidence building exercises, which you can use in your everyday life.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
- What Is Self Confidence?
- Lack of Confidence: The Consequences
- How to Build Confidence?
- 9 Exercises on How to Become More Confident
What Is Self Confidence?
The words self confidence, self esteem and self belief are often mistakenly used as synonyms. In fact, each term means something completely different.
Self-confidence consists of two different parts: self belief and self esteem, also called self worth or self respect. In order for you to be happy and successful in the long run, it’s important to develop both areas equally.
But what does self confidence or being self confident mean?
Simply put, self-confidence defines the knowledge about oneself.
Every person has self-confidence, at least to some extent. For some it is more pronounced than for others, but it’s impossible to have no self confidence at all.
Paying attention to your self-confidence has several advantages. Self confident people know who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and accept themselves the way they are.
In addition, they have the following qualities:
- Safety and security
Your self confidence is your inner way of thinking about yourself and changes from situation to situation. It’s not unusual to be more confident in some situations than in others.
How self confident you are, depends on you, your environment and especially on your past. How mindful you have been to yourself in the past determines your self confidence today.
In most cases it is not so important what happened in the past. Much more important is how you dealt with it.
Let us give you a quick example to make things clearer. Maybe you’ve already had the guts to flirt with a stranger and got dumped. Successful and self-confident people don’t let themselves be discouraged by being dumped and will continue to talk to people, while others might loose faith in themselves.
If you make a big deal out of every minor defeat, it will feel like a big defeat and do more damage to your confidence than you might think.
What Is Self Esteem?
Self esteem, or self-love, is an important part of self-confidence. Your self-esteem describes how much you love yourself. In other words, it’s the value you give yourself.
People with a strong self esteem respect themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses and judge them neutrally. They are not ashamed of their weaknesses, but accept them.
What Is Self Belief?
Self belief is the second component of self confidence. Simply put, it describes how much you trust your own abilities. This does not only include the abilities that you already have mastered, but also those that you will master in the future (how good and how fast you learn new skills, for example).
Thus your self belief influences your courage to tackle new things.
It’s the confidence that you will be successful if you work hard enough for it. Self belief makes people accept difficult challenges to stay strong and grow beyond themselves in the face of setbacks.
Lack of Confidence: The Consequences
Your self confidence stretches through all aspects of life, because your life depends on the choices you make.
No matter if due to low self esteem or low self belief: a lack of confidence will damage you. It harms you at work, at home, in your partnership and your own well-being.
You have a low self-confidence when you:
- … don’t allow yourself to make mistakes
- … avoid expressing your opinion because you’re afraid of criticism
- … can’t handle criticism
- … refuse compliments
- … don’t enforce your own interests.
- … make no demands
When you have a low self confidence, your life is controlled by other people. You think very poorly about yourself, which is why the opinions of others are very important to you. Your well-being depends on what others think of you. Ask yourself, do you really want others to control your happiness?
Low self-confidence manifests itself in different ways. Depending on your area of life, you might face:
- Relationship and sexual problems
- Anger and Aggression
How to Build Confidence?
To strengthen your self-confidence, you have to consider two things. As we have explained above, your self confidence is made up of your self-esteem and your self belief. Therefore, you need to strengthen both areas in order to have success in the long run.
However, you should always keep one thing in mind: self-confidence is about maintaining a healthy balance. On the one hand there are people with almost no self confidence, while on the other hand, there are people who exaggerate with their self confidence.
If you lack confidence, you will avoid taking risks and leaving your comfort zone. Therefore, you will not face most challenges or try many things in the first place.
However, overconfidence is just as damaging as underconfidence. If you are too confident, you may take too much risk and overestimate your own abilities.
It can also happen that you present yourself to other people better than you actually are. By doing so, you’re telling your subconscious that you are not satisfied with yourself, because you think that the person who you actually are is not good enough.
So how to gain and find balanced confidence in yourself?
The bad news is: there is no quick fix.
The good news is, however, building confidence is pretty easy. As long as you set your focus right and are determined to do things right, no one can stop you on your way to becoming confident.
We at Mindmonia put together a useful three-step guide for you that you can use to start strengthening your self-confidence today.
Step 1: Discover Yourself
The first step on your journey to more self-confidence is to think about the here and now. The following questions will help you:
- How confident do you think you are?
- Where would you like to go / how confident do you want to be?
- How do you want to reach this goal?
- Do you have the right mindset to master this adventure?
First of all, you should think about what your life has been like. List the ten best things you have achieved in your life.
Here are some ideas what to put on that list:
- Exams you’ve passed
- Degrees you’ve earned
- Friendships you’ve maintained
- People whom you’ve helped
- Athletic achievements of which you are proud
- Difficult projects that you’ve mastered
Write down the ten most important things in your life where you made the difference. We are talking about those moments when you were especially proud of yourself and your achievements.
You should then decorate this list, format it, and hang it up somewhere where you spend a lot of time or often pass by. Also, take about five minutes a day to consciously look at this list.
Step 2: Set Your Goals
Since you now know where you stand and what you’ve already achieved, the next step is to deal with the things you aspire to achieve in the future.
Set yourself goals, because without them you are like a sailor without a compass. Goals keep you on course, motivate you and are incredibly important to measure your progress.
Do not forget or underestimate your small goals. Big goals are important to keep an overview, but they do not help you in the short term and may even be demotivating.
Here is why: if you compare your small steps with big goals, the small steps will look insignificant. In some situations you may think that your work is meaningless, or that you may even be doing something wrong because you are hardly making any progress.
Every big goal is just the sum of many small victories.
Break every big goal into several small goals that you can measure.
If you have problems with this practice in the beginning, we recommend that you set a hard limit of about two hours. Anything you cannot do in two hours is no longer a small goal, and must be subdivided again.
Step 3: Improve Your Skills
The third and last step is to actually implement the goals you have set yourself. By making the right decisions and starting with small, simple steps, you bring yourself on the road to victory and begin to build up the related confidence.
Look at the goals you have defined in the previous step and find out what skills you need to achieve them. Think about how you can best acquire these abilities. Don’t settle for the first best solution, but try to make a plan that will bring you all the way to your goal.
Start with the smallest goals you have defined. Especially at the beginning it’s not important what you achieve, but that you achieve something.
Develop an automatism by regularly tackling goals, achieving them and celebrating this achievement. The goals in this phase should not be particularly challenging. Just get used to the feeling of achieving goals and celebrating success.
When you regularly learn new skills and achieve your goals, no matter how “insignificant” they are, your subconscious realizes that you are capable of learning and evolving.
You will no longer feel that you are “stuck”. Rather, you will feel an incredibly intense feeling of being able to achieve everything.
Read books, watch videos or take online courses on a variety of topics.
The human potential is almost infinite. Use it.
9 Exercises on How to Become More Confident
Now that you know what self confidence is and the benefits it brings when it is built, we would like to give you some tips on how to boost your confidence. Use these tips regularly to get the best results.
Tip 1: Set the Right Focus
School, society and parents educate us to only look at our mistakes. We focus only on our failures and defeats. That is why we perceive our mistakes much more intensively than our achievements and victories.
Self doubt quickly develops, and the thought “I don’t do anything right in my life” is born. As a result, we perceive ourselves much worse than we actually are.
An extremely helpful method is a success diary. In this diary you can write down all successes and progresses, no matter how small they are. Even a “I managed to get up early again today” is a success that definitely belongs in this book.
A success diary is a good thing if you take care of it every day. This way you can deal with your strengths regularly and condition your subconscious to your good sides.
Many people have the problem that they are not satisfied with their own performance. What they do not know, however, is that they overlook many little things that are already a success. Therefore it is even more important that you value even the smallest success and write it down in your success diary. Thus you make sure that you consciously perceive every achievement.
Tip 2: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
It is perfectly normal for you to compare yourself to others. After all, you want to evolve, so you are looking for a way to measure your progress. At least the easiest way to measure success is to compare yourself with your peers, right?
This habit, no matter how intuitive, is not good for your self confidence. There will always be people who master some ability better than you.
You have to imagine one thing: you are living a unique life. Your parents have raised you uniquely, your character traits are unique and you have your own strengths, hobbies, habits and weaknesses.
Basically, any comparison between two people is as meaningful as the comparison between apples and pears. It’s nonsense.
Even more serious are comparisons with people online. Influencers and other “internet personalities” are everything, except worthy comparison partners. They dazzle you with their show & shine and most of what they publish on the internet is not real. Real life looks different. We hope you agree on that.
Influencers are professionals at maintaining their imaginary world. Do you really want to compare yourself to a fake fantasy?
Tip 3: Avoid Negative Energy
This tip is probably the most important of all: avoid negativity. Although it sounds simple in theory, it’s in fact quite challenging.
If you find yourself in an environment that energetically pulls you down, make sure you get rid of it. Rather surround yourself with positive people who build you up than wasting your time with “energy vampires”. Positive energy and therefore a healthy self esteem are difficult to build if you are constantly bombarded with criticism and negativity.
Here are a few notes on how you can ward off negative energy:
- Spend less time with people who are constantly trying to downsize you
- Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and support you
- Accept feedback, but resist any criticism that does not contain valuable feedback
The last point in particularly is important. You should defend yourself if someone is unjustifiably attacking or insulting you. In this way you show yourself that you take care of yourself.
If you would like to learn more about negative energy, you can find a detailed article on this topic here.
Tip 4: Meditation
We cannot emphasize the benefits of meditation often enough. The most important advantage with the greatest impact on your health and well-being is the fact that meditation gives you greater mindfulness to your thoughts.
People who meditate daily have an increased visualization ability and can better recognize and ultimately control their own thoughts.
Here is why: when you meditate properly, you observe your thoughts. The longer you practice this ability, the better you become in it.
However, what advantage does this bring to your self-confidence? Quite simply: you can only change your harmful thoughts and habits, such as comparing to other people, if you recognize them concretely.
Tip 5: Vision Board
A vision board is a powerful tool for the law of attraction. The law of attraction helps you to better pursue your dreams. The space on the vision board is limited and forces you to prioritize your goals. This helps you to invest your time and energy better and on top of that, it helps you to visualize your goals.
In order to building confidence, a vision board is a good companion because it reminds you of your goals and vision, especially in difficult times. Therefore, it helps you to keep your focus and to appreciate the small victories.
Tip 6: Make the Right Decisions
As mentioned above, your decisions have a great influence on your confidence. Simply put, making the wrong choices will damage your self-confidence.
We are talking about contradictions, like when you say one thing, but do the other. If, for example, you decide to quit smoking, but stick to your cigarette again after three days, this has a bad influence on your confidence.
That is why you should avoid any contradictions in your thoughts and actions.
Tip 7: Reduce Social Media
We tend to compare ourselves with others on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat all the time. We are constantly bombarded by seemingly perfect people with seemingly perfect lifes all over the internet.
As already described in the second tip, it is a perfectly normal instinct that we compare ourselves with others. In social networks, comparing is even worse.
On the one hand, because in our social networks we have people whom we know only shallowly or not at all. As soon as these people post about their successes on the Internet, negative thoughts like “oh dear, he doesn’t deserve this” spread throughout you. In most cases, however, you don’t know the story behind his or her success. You don’t know how much time and energy this person has invested to achieve this victory.
Soon the thought “why don’t I have something like this” spreads in your head and negative energy arises, in this case jealousy.
On the other hand, there is a lot of fake bullshit on the internet. Sorry for swearing, but that’s how it is. Many of the so-called influencers have professional teams who do nothing all day but work on pictures and maintain an illusion of a seemingly perfect life.
If you want to do something good for your self-confidence, spend less time on social networks.
Tip 8: Positive Energy
As described in the third tip, negativity is the purest poison for your confidence. The logical conclusion is that if you want improved self confidence, you should surround yourself with positive energy.
Tip 9: Sports
Sport will change the way you look on a day-to-day basis. These changes boost your self confidence, because you see the changes on your body immediately.
Not only for your motivation, but also for your body sport brings some advantages. The biochemistry of your mind changes for the better, for example. This gives you a very positive view on yourself and the world around you.
In addition, sport teaches you to go beyond your limits on a regular basis. At some point you will understand that you can actually go further than your mind tells you, which is the most important thing when it comes to personal growth and development.
Thus sport is the ultimate deathblow for any self-doubt.
Self-confidence consists of two components: your self esteem and your self belief. If you want to build your confidence, you need to work on both components in a balanced way. In addition, you should always make sure that you do not have more self esteem then self belief and vice versa.
In summary: building self confidence is not difficult, but it takes time. The basis is success, gratitude and a positive way of thinking with which you will see victories everywhere.
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