Confidence is the key to succeeding in so many important aspects of life—from relationships to academic goals, to jobs and your career. What’s likely the most important outcome of being more self-confident is how it impacts the way you see the world and your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about yourself.
Although self-confidence is different from self-esteem, the two qualities inevitably affect each other and build upon one another. As a self-confident person, you are likely to also have healthy self-esteem—and vice versa.
Another excellent perk of self-confidence is having overall better mental health. Self-confident people struggle with stress, difficult life circumstances, and negative emotions like anyone else, but they are more likely to cope in healthy ways and bounce back from adversity much faster.
I’m sure you don’t need convincing when it comes to the benefits of working on your self-confidence. I mean, who doesn’t want to be more confident? It’s truly among the most important qualities to work on and put effort towards developing. However, confidence is certainly not something you can acquire quickly and easily. You can’t “learn it” through an online course or even a great self-help book. The most coveted and valuable skills take time, effort, and emotional growth to truly achieve, but below, we’ll discuss the top 3 ways you can start building your self-confidence and growing into greater trust in yourself and your abilities.
Be kind to yourself: Eliminate self-judgment and perfectionism.
One of the hallmark traits of self-confident people is being okay with that fact that they are human, which means they are flawed and imperfect in many ways. Confident people understand this concept and don’t go through life trying to life up to unrealistic or impossible standards.
Confidence is about accepting your weaknesses and knowing that you can’t be good at everything, you won’t always meet the mark, and you can’t get things right all the time. You can confidently acknowledge and accept these facts and still move on to succeed and achieve because embracing your weaknesses and imperfections doesn’t mean you’ll settle for mediocrity. This is a common belief, but the opposite is typically the case! Putting excess pressure on yourself to perform and do everything right can be very stressful and emotionally draining. You risk becoming hyper-focused on your flaws. Instead, by adopting a more realistic mindset of being kind to yourself and accepting your weaknesses, you’ll free up mental space to focus on using your strengths. A strengths-focused approach to everything you do in life is how your self-confidence will grow and develop.
Self-confident people are assertive. It comes naturally to them because they don’t question their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or opinions. When they respond to people or situations, they do so from a place of honesty and genuineness. As a self-confident person, you live your life and react to circumstances based on what you truly want and feel and you do so with tranquility and conviction. Basically, an assertive person is real.
If this description sounds like assertive people might tend to be a bit stubborn and selfish, consider a few differences. Being assertive is about intuitively knowing when and how you must establish boundaries or draw a line between tending to the needs of others and prioritizing your own needs and wants. Selfishness and stubbornness is not confidence because there is no fair balance; there’s only self-satisfaction, a self-centered approach to people and situations, and oftentimes, there is also violations of other people’s boundaries, too. When you’re assertive, you don’t cross anyone else’s line, but you know your worth so you do make sure no one crosses yours.
Approach tasks, situations, and goals that can potentially expose you to failure.
Self-confident people aren’t afraid to mess up or fail miserably because they don’t feel that mistakes define them. Self-confidence is about knowing yourself and strengths—and understanding that failures, even the big ones, don’t cross out your positive traits and capabilities. Doing things that are challenging and uncertain—and that you know may lead to failure—will build your self-confidence with time. Even if you do get down on yourself after experiencing a major setback or loss, you are still actively working towards increasing your self-confidence. Each time you leave your comfort zone, a desensitization process is occurring and each time, it will get easier to approach the daunting task—whatever it may be. You’ll get over disappointments a little faster and easier. You won’t spend days, weeks, or longer feeling sad or demoralized. You’ll move on faster from defeat and you’ll focus more on the valuable lessons you can derive from mistakes. Your thoughts will more quickly focus on your next move. So, even if it feels wrong at first, or you feel like avoiding something that scares you, take the courageous step forward and try. You might not always get the results you want, but you’re likely gaining much more because putting yourself out there and taking those leaps of faith in life are major steps forward towards building your self-confidence.
Arnold Gillo, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Therapist, a Behavioral Health Consultant, and the Clinical Program Planner for State of Nevada ICF Program