Confidence breeds more confidence. When you develop confidence in yourself, you are more likely to achieve your goals, build healthy relationships and be happier in life. Lack of confidence can have the opposite effects, but here’s the thing: you don’t need more money, a nicer family, a significant other, a college degree, a gold medal, or any more things to feel confident. True, lasting confidence comes from within. It takes determination, gratitude and for most folks, practice.
To become more confident, try these techniques:
Practice gratitude. Whether you’re “keeping up with the Joneses” or not, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of focusing on what you don’t have. Instead, try focusing on what you do have. Nothing is too small. What brings you joy? What do you like about yourself? What things might you take for granted each day? Write them down and refer back to that list whenever you feel doubtful or insecure. It will help you develop the kind of inner peace and self-appreciation you need to feel confident.
Identify and avoid negative influences in your life. We all have those people in our lives who radiate negativity, put us down or make us feel bad in some way. Recognize that their behavior stems from their own issues, not yours. If you feel overwhelmed by their behavior, stick up for yourself and step away for some self-care time. That alone can help improve your confidence.
Speak slowly and less often. Enunciate. Think before you speak. When people are nervous or insecure, they tend to speak fast, take shallow breaths, and quicken their pace. Take the time to breathe and space out your words. It can help you feel more relaxed, which can help others better understand you. This way, you feel more heard.
Maintain eye contact. Do you look people in the eyes when speaking with them? If not, work on it. This is one of the biggest signs of confidence, but it takes practice. It can feel awkward at first, but can help improve overall communication, connection and trust with other people, which can help boost confidence.
Believe in yourself. It’s easy to say this, but much harder to do. We all have an inner critic — and sometimes outer critics, too. Always question them and their motivations. Ask yourself why you feel self-doubt. Recognize the reason, accept it, and let it go. Don’t let it define you.
Help someone. You may think you have nothing to offer. Perhaps you don’t feel like a good role model, or you want to accomplish more before you feel “worthy” enough to help others. But it doesn’t take much to help someone. People appreciate little things, like holding the door. Also, everyone experiences life differently. Simply sharing your experiences can help others in ways you may never have imagined. Best of all? You’ll both feel great afterwards.
Know that your time is important. Really evaluate how you’re spending it. If you find yourself doing something you don’t want to do, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it worth your time? Do you feel robbed or slighted in any way? Can you ask someone else to help you or do it for you instead? If you can’t find a silver lining — something that makes you feel good — maybe it’s time to do something else.
Be present. Try to keep your attention span focused on the moment in front of you, not yesterday, last year, next year or your phone. By staying in the moment, we can fully recognize and appreciate what we have. This inspires daily gratitude, which leads to confidence.
Take risks. Often, lack of confidence is rooted in fear — of failure, judgment, embarrassment, etc. — so we don’t take risks. We try to preserve our sense of safety, security and normalcy, even when we long for something different. But taking risks, or rather “going after what we want,” is how we build confidence. Little by little, weathering rejection and accomplishing things can make us feel more resilient and capable. We can look back and say “hey, I did that,” and appreciate ourselves. And that’s what confidence is all about.