Maxwell Maltz once said that “low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.” Lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem can prevent you from living your life to the full. We all know that one person that seems to have rock-solid self-confidence in all areas of their life. We envy them. Most of us, if we’re honest, are wracked with insecurities about one thing or another.
At its worst, it can affect every area of your life, from relationships to work performance and can even lead to poor health and depression. It is estimated that it affects up to 85% of the adult population.
It can take a lot of work and self searching, but there are ways to improve your self-confidence and overcome those insecurities.
Try And Narrow Down The Issue
Some people have a general level of low self-esteem that isn’t related to one thing in particular. Others have a very specific issue. It could be related to their physical appearance, their performance at work, or lack confidence in their skills to form romantic relationships.
If it is a particular issue then you have a good place to start. Though too much importance is placed on looking physically perfect, people do still like the confidence that looking their best gives them. So if that’s the root of your issue, then you can take steps to improve it by starting to follow a healthier lifestyle or finally get that perfect smile that you’ve always wanted so that you can smile with confidence.
Low self-confidence stemming from deeper issues or trauma will need to be explored in a professional context.
The benefits of exercising on our physical appearance are well established. Looking our best is often an important part of feeling good about ourselves. That’s why when we’ve not been looking after ourselves, maybe put on a few pounds, it can make us feel less confident.
Physical exercise also has a host of benefits for our general physical and mental health. Health professionals even use physical exercise as part of a range of treatments for anxiety and depression.
Committing and sticking to a long term habit of exercise can also create a great sense of achievement.
Try New Things
Sticking to things that are familiar and comfortable isn’t going to improve your confidence. Being confident is our way of acknowledging how well we can deal with a given situation.
By trying out new things, which may be outside of our comfort zone, we widen our experience and the kinds of situations we would feel confident in.
You can start small by visiting new places, striking up a conversation with a stranger, or taking a class in something that interests you. As your confidence begins to increase, get a bit more adventurous.
Get A Makeover
If you’ve been dressing the same way, with the same hairstyle, for years, why not go for a new look. The way we look and dress can affect our confidence as well as how other people think about us.
This can be particularly useful in a work environment, where being perceived as well groomed and professional, can change the way you perceive yourself too. A makeover can give you a huge boost.
Tell Yourself You’re Good Enough
You’d be amazed at how many people experience imposter syndrome. This is where you convince yourself that you’re a fraud, or not good enough, and people will eventually find out.
Even people who are extremely successful can feel this way and it has very little to do with their actual talent in that area. Instead of focussing on the negative thoughts, focus on your positives.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Sometimes, there’s nothing else for it but to put on your game face and act confident, even if you don’t feel it inside. By acting as if everything is under control, other people will perceive that confidence too, which can lead to you feeling a little more confident too. It becomes a virtuous circle. Eventually, you’ll have to pretend a little less each time.
There’s a great TED Talk by Amy Cuddy that explains how faking confidence will eventually lead you to becoming more confident.
Accept That It’s An Ongoing Process
There’s no overnight cure which will suddenly wash away all of your insecurities, it is an ongoing process that you may have to work on in some form or another for a long time, but every step you take is a step towards a more confident you.