Confidence is a universally valued quality — when a person is comfortable enough in their own skin, many things in life become less of a hurdle and more of a challenge. But gaining self-confidence can also be a challenge in itself. Here are 9 life choices you can take to make that challenge an easier one to conquer.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other people
It's important to realise that we are all born with different sets of strengths and weaknesses, which means we all experience life differently. Ultimately, building self-confidence isn't so much of emulating the successes and lives of other people than it is about understanding yourself and using that understanding to make your life better. Comparison is an act of violence against the self.
2. Be realistic
People tend to have an unrealistically negative view of themselves while glorifying and overestimating the abilities of those around them. Remember that we are not any less great or any more vulnerable than the next person. Be realistically aware of your own weaknesses, but don't let them hold you back from growing as a person.
3. Fake it till you make it
Pretending to be confident is a good substitute for actual confidence. Often, confidence is an acquired habit, an adopted mentality that can be cultivated. When you act confident, you take a step towards learning to be confident in time.
4. Set a series of achievable goals
Avoid wording any goals in a vague way. For example, be more confident! is a very vague and therefore seemingly distant goal. Setting small goals such as I will express my opinions more often and following that with I will express my opinions more assertively allows you to occupy a frequent and active role in building confidence.
5. Celebrate success; accept failure
Small victories are victories nonetheless. Take pride in having had the courage to venture beyond previously established comfort zones, and keep in mind that positive thinking encourages positive results. In the same line, learn to accept failure as a natural ancillary step to success instead of letting it dissuade you from trying again.
6. Cut negative people out of your life
Friends that constantly nitpick at your flaws instead of offering you support in improving at them are not your friends. Likewise, keeping people that only ever criticise you for your mistakes without acknowledging your achievements or efforts in your life is unhealthy and toxic to your well-being. Find a circle of supportive, positive-minded people and see an instant change.
7. Embrace the unknown
Confidence doesn't mean being infallible. More importantly, it encompasses having enough faith in yourself to pick yourself up when jobs, relationships, or even your health falls apart. It is understanding that not all things will work out as you want them to, but trusting yourself to make the best of a bad situation — instead of focusing on self-blame and self-pity — to emerge all the better from it.
8. Be comfortable with fear
Contrary to what most people think, fear is universal and not unique. What sets apart the people who are confident and the people who aren't, however, is the fact that confident people act despite their fears. They don’t let their fears stop them from going out there and getting what they want — they act instead of reacting.
9. Make peace with your insecurities
Often, we exaggerate the negatives and aggravate our own flaws, and this can lead to a dire lack of confidence. Know that flaws are there because no one is perfect. But when we realise our flaws, they serve to remind us to continue striving to be the best person we can be despite them.