It seems like some people naturally know how to build confidence from an early age. Not all of these people are exceptionally smart, athletic, attractive, or gifted, of course. They know who they are and what they are worth. Whether they learned how to build confidence because of their innate passion for a particular subject, or because they had a wholesome upbringing that fostered their self-worth, the bottom line is that naturally confident people recognize their own value.
We all have immense value. Sadly, the majority of us have a hard time seeing this value in ourselves, which leads to a lack of confidence. The good news is that anyone can learn how to build confidence, as long as they’re willing to put in the work. As with any skill that you are lacking in life, being confident takes practice. Practice requires you to actively participate in creating the life that you want for yourself. Let’s get started.
Get to know yourself
A lack of confidence stems from a place of fear. Fear that you won’t be accepted. Doubt that you aren’t enough. Fear that you will fail. All of these scary thoughts can be summed up as the fear of the unknown. To love yourself, you truly have to know yourself. This sounds cliche, but it is the key to figuring out how to build confidence.
We tend to blow off getting to know ourselves because we think it is something that we should automatically know. The funny thing is, we are so much better than we realize at blocking out pain and lying to ourselves. Getting to know yourself requires you to look into your past and recognize unhealthy patterns that have developed as a result of coping with trauma.
Until you address the blocks you have created in your own life, you will never know why you have a hard time understanding how to build confidence. Perhaps you measure your worth by how much love and attention others give you. Maybe this is a result of attention you didn’t get from a parent when you were a child. Even if you are well aware of the trauma from your past, you might not connect how the effects of that trauma are manifesting as unhealthy habits and beliefs in your present life.
Don’t let fear stop you from getting the help that you deserve. Working with a counselor or a therapist can be helpful for anyone. Therapy allows you the time and space to open up and be honest with yourself. Even if you can’t point to any particular trauma in your past, therapy can teach you how to build confidence by recognizing and rewiring patterns that don’t serve you.
As you undergo the process of learning how to build confidence, you have to have your own back. It can be helpful to think about how you would treat a child. Look at a picture of yourself from when you were a kid. Anytime you engage in negative self-talk, imagine saying those things to your adolescent self.
You would never tell your adolescent self that they aren’t good enough. You would never tell them that they’re fat and ugly. You would say to them that they are loved and beautiful and that they can do anything they want to do and be anything they want to be. And you would tell them that, not because you’re just being nice, but because it’s true. Guess what? It’s still valid for you in the present.
The truth is, no one is ugly, unworthy of love, or a failure. We only feel these negative emotions because we have forgotten the truth and replaced it with limiting beliefs. A growth mindset is essential here.
No matter your age, abilities, or station in life, you have the power to learn how to build confidence, love yourself, and change your life. You are not too old or too broken to be the confident person you want to be, so long as you stop telling yourself that you are.
Take some time to think about what beliefs you hold that are holding you back. Write these limiting beliefs down, then go back and rewrite each one in a way that turns it into the opposite: loving, inspirational, and supportive. Read your new set of beliefs every day, and update them as you grow in confidence. Begin to examine your entire life in this way, ridding yourself of the ideas, things, and people that don’t support you. Find what’s causing self sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.
Learn to love yourself
A common false belief that a lot of us hold is that if someone else has something, it means that we are lacking. We are all so different, and that already gives you an edge. There is no one like you. There has never been, and there never will be. So, when you look at another person, instead of recognizing what they have that you don’t, celebrate what makes you different from them.
Learning to think this way automatically takes practice. A great way to retrain your thinking is with affirmations. There are many audio and video recordings of all sorts of affirmations online, including ones regarding how to build confidence. You can listen to these every day, or write your own and read or say them aloud.
A few powerful affirmations for self-confidence include, “I love and accept myself,” “Someone else’s worth does not take away from my own,” “I am the best at what I do, in my own way,” and “I value and honor myself, therefore, the world values and honors me.” With repetition, these affirmations become part of your subconscious thought process, helping you to return your energy to yourself, rather than comparing yourself to others.
Loving yourself also means forgiving yourself and those around you, if there’s anything holding you back. Learn how to forgive people and yourself.
Once you realize that the harshest judge you will ever come across is actually yourself, you will start to see that you are ultimately in control of how you feel. Understand that everyone is always doing their best with the awareness and resources they have at any given time. The only way to silence that voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough is to allow yourself room to make mistakes. Of course, you need to start making changes slowly to rebuild trust with yourself.
Let’s say your lack of confidence causes you to feel awkward and anxious in social settings. Over-committing yourself to a bunch of parties isn’t how to build confidence in that area, or in any other areas that you are struggling with. You will only find confirmation for your fears going headfirst into the fire.
If you struggle with body confidence, for example, try dimming the lights when you are showering and getting dressed. This helps you to focus on the overall picture instead of seeing every little detail that makes your mind start racing with negative self-talk. As you learn how to build confidence, you will find it easier to expose yourself to things that used to cause you to dread.
When you are learning how to build confidence, it is so important to remember that how you feel about your progress will determine your overall results. If you have a moment, days, or even more extended periods where you fall back into old patterns, don’t get down on yourself. Acknowledge your missteps and your feelings, and get back on the horse. The more time you spend feeling guilty or thinking that you’ve failed, the more it will halt your progress.
If you have low self-esteem, it might take you a little build longer to build confidence. Be patient with yourself and your progress.
Practice, practice, practice
If you really want to know how to build confidence, you have to be willing to try. Action is a requirement of change. The more often that you face the things that make you uncomfortable, the more confidence you will have, as long as you approach the process with the right attitude. Any mistakes that you make (and you will make them) should be seen as proof that you can make it through, even when things don’t go smoothly.
Continue to read or listen to self-confidence affirmations every day. They will help keep you from slipping back into negative thought patterns. Practice visualization, in which you see yourself doing things the way you hope to before you do them. Any positive thoughts that you can inject into your life will help build your confidence. But you have to let go of old beliefs, first. Learn how to be more positive.
Letting go of the limiting beliefs that you hold makes space for new, positive thoughts. Don’t be afraid to get help from a counselor or a therapist to help you work through any obstacles in your past, your habits, or thought processes that are dampening your confidence. Go back as often as you need to, or whenever you feel like you’re losing confidence.
Remember that you’re valuable. The fact that you’re one of a kind, alone, makes you priceless. Once you learn how to build confidence, you’ll finally be able to see all the other reasons you are valuable and worthy of all the good things that you desire in this precious life.