When I was younger I was fat, shy, had a strange haircut and the clothes I bought and owned were either too big or too strange, even for a growing teenager who is lost and doesn’t know what to do with his life. As you can imagine, I didn’t had even a drop of confidence in myself or in my abilities. I feel nervous every time I had to speak to a stranger, not to mention how my heart was pondering when I was speaking to a girl. I knew that this was a problem and I knew I had to do something about it.
Have you ever entered a room full of people and you felt like your heart is about to explode, your mouth is dry and your legs begin to shake? When someone speaks at you and you respond your voice is low and sometimes shaking. You rarely look others in their eyes when you speak because you can’t handle the tension. That’s why you feel better sitting behind a desk, not talking to anyone.
Even though we all have our down moments, if you’re too often doing the things described above you’re lacking self-confidence. And if you are indeed not confident in yourself, you’re in a big trouble my friend.
A lack of self-confidence is devastating to our lives. If you don’t believe in yourself and in your own abilities, how do you expect others to believe in them?
This is a topic we rarely discuss with other people, for obvious reasons: we lack confidence and we’re afraid of what others will think about us. As a person, who was lacking confidence for most of my time on this planet, I feel obligated to share my experience and my observations on the subject.
I this practical guide, I will share my observations, experience, research on how to increase self-confidence.
If you’re the type of girl, guy, who is always picked last when teams are formed, I’m sure that the tips below will help you feel better in your own skin.
What is self-confidence?
My understanding of being self-confidence is simple: It’s believing in yourself. When you’re confident in your own abilities, your knowledge, your strengths, in you, as a person, you’re going to perform well even in situations in which you don’t know shit.
People who are sure in their abilities approach tasks, problems, life situations, way differently from people who are shy. Usually, if you’re unsure of your own skills you will be like: “Ahh. I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t have the skills.” While guys who feel great in their own skin will tackle problems or tasks for which they know nothing, the following way: “I’m going to be the best in this. I still don’t know how exactly but I’m going to manage.”
While the mind of the first is filled with fear and doubt, the mind of the confident person is full of faith, poise, certainty.
In a nutshell: self-confidence is a way of thinking. Nothing more.
Of course, having self-confidence doesn’t mean that you can do everything. Self-confident people have expectations that are realistic. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be positive and to accept themselves.
The Importance of Self-Confidence
The concept of self-confidence is something of a great importance in our lives. Don’t be fooled by thinking that this will make you an egomaniac. Yes, it can, but yet again this is only if you let it.
People who don’t believe in themselves are often the last who get a raise on their day job. They often marry the wrong person only because they don’t have other options, sort to say. That’s why they hold tight to the wrong person even if they know it. But the worst of all is how they feel. They feel like they’re not worthy and they don’t ever start chasing their dreams because they don’t think that they can make something work.
On the other hand, people who are confident in their own skin, are the ones that get all the honors. The ones we see on the TV. The ones we envy. High self-esteem is associated with better health, better social lives, better life in general. Such people believe in themselves.
So, yes, gaining self-confidence is really important. Don’t neglect that quality.
LET’S SEE WHY PEOPLE LACK CONFIDENCE – MAIN REASONS
I believe there are three main reasons we don’t feel good about ourselves:
Parents: When I was a little boy, I remember that my dad was constantly making remarks about things I’ve done. This, in a way, lowered my self-esteem. I felt that I’m not good at anything I do. Of course, this wasn’t 100% true. Obviously, I was making mistakes in some areas, but the way this was presented to me had a bad influence on my way of thinking.
Since our parents are the go-to people when we’re young, we consume what they say and do like a sponge. Our parents teach us what is good and what’s right and if they continuously tell us that we’re not good enough, we absorb this and we start thinking that this is true.
But it’s not only our parents. If other people around you, especially when you’re young, tell you that you suck at doing stuff, you’ll probably start believing that that’s true.
Looks: Nowadays, our coolness is measured by likes and followers on social media. And as we all know, people who are naturally pretty, skinny, and good looking have thousands of subscribers just like that. If you’re not part of this group of people, then there is a high chance that you won’t feel good in your own skin and that you’ll try to bury yourself in a whole.
There is a certain pressure coming from social media channels. Unfortunately, looks matter more there than anything else in these mediums.
Resources: After looks there comes the money problem. Again, this is something related to the social media platforms. Before, if you bought a new pair of jeans, or you went on an expensive vacation, you had to actually tell other people about this, which is making you look like a needy person – not cool. Now, if you have enough money, you can daily post your new possessions, experiences and make other people feel bad about themselves.
What can you do about it?
After reading the above, please, don’t do the following:
Stop calling your parents. Marry a rich dude. Make a plastic surgery and other beauty treatments. Hire a photographer so you can have cool pictures for your Instagram profile.
These things won’t solve your self-confidence problem. They will only make things worse. You must tackle the problem on a deeper level.
I’ve prepared a couple of actionable things that will help you believe in yourself and make you a more confident person. Hopefully, after reading the simple steps below, and doing what’s mentioned, you will start having decent conversations with other people and loosen up a bit:
Practical Guide to Gaining Self-Confidence – 6 Simple Steps
Stop minding what others are saying
You must stop, all at costs, take personally what other people are saying about you. That’s easier being said than done, though. When you’re lacking confidence you will be really sensitive about everything happening around you. Still, with a little practice, you can learn how to neglect comments towards yourself.
When people say stuff like: “You’ve gained weight; You look awful today; This is not done properly; You have mustard on your t-shirt, respond always with a positive reply. Say: “Yes, indeed, I did gain weight for the last few days.” This way you’re disarming your opponent. When you accept verbally what others are saying about you, they won’t know how to proceed. Usually, they expect a defensive reaction from you, something like: “No, I’m the same weight as last week. Probably it’s because of the jeans I’m wearing.” Then, we all know what happens, these people start to dig deeper: “Nope, it’s not because of the jeans, I’m sure it’s you.”
That’s the best technique I’ve adopted throughout the years. When someone wants to mess around with me and tells something with the idea to pick on me, I reply without any sign of discomfort, even if I’m screaming sometimes inside. People who want to make you feel bad in front of others don’t deserve even a portion of your time. You don’t owe them anything. That’s why a way to make them shut up and make them think about how to respond is simply agreeing with what they say. Of course, depending on the case, you might need to punch someone in the face eventually.
I know, it’s not so easy. We’re bombarded by messages everywhere. Commercials. Updates. Emails. Even cold calls from firms that offer us a new mattress. Everyone is telling you that you’ll be “a complete person” only when you purchase their product or look like them.
One of the solutions is to be intentional about how you browse online. Let me clarify: How often do you think about the sites you visit and the time you spend on the Internet? I thought so. You don’t think about this at all. That’s why you probably have more than 10 tabs opened at this very moment.
Stop spending so much time on social media and unsubscribe from all online shops you’re currently subscribed. These two simple things will not only save a bunch of your time but it will also help you to stop comparing to others. Since people share only their best moments online, we compare ourselves based on what we see. No wonder we feel miserable everytime we open Facebook and we always think that everyone else is living better than our lives. So, the best thing will be to not give a damn, of course, this won’t happen in a day. That’s why I’m suggesting first to cut the bad online influence. Over time, this will help you become careless about things of a little importance.
Invest in your wardrobe
By all means, I don’t want you to think that you should spend thousands for dollars on clothes that you’ll never wear. I’ve actually created two articles recently on how to create capsule wardrobe and how to have an intentional approach in fashion. These will give you a bit more information about buying clothes.
What I mean here is to make sure all of your clothes fit your personality and your body, so that they can boost your self-confidence. Don’t wear baggy pants or t-shirts that are making you look bad. Pick the right size clothes, the size that actually fit you.
A lot of times people neglect how they look but they don’t understand that this affects them badly.
Walk with confidence
I’ve been talking to a lot of girls for the last several years and I often ask one particular question: “What do you look for in a guy?” The answer is always the same and it’s something within these lines: “I’m attracted to guys who influence the social dynamics. Guys who you can feel when they enter the room.” This statement can be summarized in one simple word: self-confidence.
I see a lot of people looking down when they walk, a clear signal of a lack of confidence. Our body language is something other people notice, consciously or not, and by simply walking straight, holding your head high, you will surely boost your self-esteem. Also, make other people wonder who you are.
I’ve learned this the hard way. When I was a teenager, I always looking down. Always the one standing at the back. Missing all the action. At some point, I realized that girls like confident guys.1 Guys who are fearless. Such that walk straight and are passionate about what they.
It might sound stupid and something that won’t make a difference, but I dare you to try it.
Improve in your craft
What better way to increase your self-confidence than being the best at your work?
We all know why football players, athletes, fortune 500 businessman are confident – because they’re experts in their niche.
Such people have spent years improving and once the society acknowledges their work, through interviews, books, covers, they are now famous. They believe in their work. Not only because they earn a lot of money, but because thousands of other people believe in them.
Improving in your craft is actually something really logical. When you’re good at what you do, people ask you to help them, work for them, or whatever. When you receive such requests you feel good, naturally. And when you receive a lot of these request you start believing in your own skills, thus this improves your confidence and increases your self-worth.
Whatever you’re doing, strive to be the best in business. This will change your life.
Accept who you are
Knowing yourself, accepting your limitations and your strengths is the last and most important thing you need to do in order to feel good and be confident. Only by doing this, you will truly understand why you should be doing some things and not doing others.
Quite normally, when you execute tasks related to your natural abilities, you’re performing good, thus feeling good, thereby you’re confident. However, when you do things that aren’t close to your persona, you’ll probably fail and fell down. Not that you should avoid doing new things. I simply saying that you should understand what are your main interests. Focus less on the negatives and more on the positives. This way, you will be also more motivated in your actions.
The idea here is to convince your mind that you’re a worthy person. That you CAN do what you want to do. Lack of confidence is limiting your way of thinking, which in most of the cases will result in a lot of occasions into a miserable life.
I know it’s hard and I know it’s going to take time. If I tell you to be brave this won’t be of any value. That’s why, I will tell you to act. To execute what I’ve mentioned above and to start believing in yourself. Because there is surely something you’re good at, if you don’t know, it’s your obligation to find out what it is.
If you’re still not sure where you stand in terms of self-confidence, I will be glad if you share your roadblocks in the comments below. Maybe we can figure out something together.
Thanks to Neil Strauss, and his book The Game, I was able to overcome anxiety and gain confidence. If you’re struggling with talking to the opposite sex, I will definitely recommend this book.