According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of self-confidence is “a feeling of trust in one’s ability, qualities, and judgment”. Self-confidence is the most useful emotion we can have to create the life we want, but it also happens to be something that many people struggle to obtain. Everyone has had issues with their own self-confidence, and unfortunately it can impact personal relationships, work performance, and your self-esteem. Therefore, it is extremely important that you strive to cultivate self-confidence so you can be happier with yourself and your life.
I used to be very nervous whenever I spoke in public. I felt self-conscious while speaking because English is my second language, and I was afraid of being judged for my accent. I envied others who could speak with confidence and eloquence. I wanted to express my opinions and answer questions without hesitation, too. I wanted my voice to be heard! But, I was worried that if I spoke up, people would judge me or look down on me. As a result, I often avoided speaking, even if I thought I had something important to say.
While progressing through the Life Coach School Coaching Program, I learned to worry less about mistakes and judgement. I don’t need to be perfect or pretend to be someone else; I can just be my authentic self. I found that I needed to identify my thoughts of self-doubt, because I was often more critical of myself than others were of me. After I cleaned out all the negative thoughts, I realized that not only do I have a lot to offer, but people genuinely like what I say.
When was the last time you had trouble making decisions or second-guessed yourself? What thoughts did you have? Many of my clients tell me that they do not think they can ever be confident, but that is simply not true!
Although many people believe that self-confidence can only be built if you achieve and succeed, self-confidence actually comes from our thoughts, not from actions and results. People who have self-confidence THINK confident thoughts about themselves. They don’t second guess themselves. They don’t have trouble making decisions or taking action because they are confident that they can get back up on their feet if they fail. As the great French philosopher Rene Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am”. If you lack self-confidence, understand that you have the power to change your thoughts about yourself, and therefore can build a more confident outlook.
One of the most important parts of building self-confidence is understanding that it needs to come from YOURSELF. Many people think they will be more confident if they gain approval from others, but this is not actually self-confidence. If you let your value stem from what others think of you, you will always be seeking for external approval instead of internal approval. Remember that other people’s opinions might be important sometimes, but your opinion about yourself is always the most important. What do you need to do to stand up for yourself, believe in your good qualities, and support your needs?
Having an amazing relationship with yourself starts with a commitment to thinking awesome thoughts about yourself.
One of the thought exercises I do daily to boost my self-confidence is to be curious about my thoughts and beliefs without judgment. I ask myself, “is this thought true”? “What if it’s not true”? When I question myself, my mind doesn’t get stuck in old or harmful thoughts that don’t serve me. Instead, it helps me to be open and accepting about how I feel and what I need. After I evaluate and change my thoughts, I feel more confident, which helps me take action to reach my goals.
For many of us, it takes practice to develop self-confidence, so I recommend that you regularly and gently explore your thoughts whenever you are not feeling confident. Think about the things that you are least confident about. What thoughts do you have about these things? How often does this stem from fear of external judgement? How often is the judgement only from yourself? Do you ever find yourself thinking “I can’t” or “I won’t”? Is that really true? What do you think you can change inside or outside that might improve your self-confidence?
Some optional thoughts to try on:
- I believe in my ability to reach my goal, even if it means I fail in the process.
- Failure is a learning opportunity, and I can use it to my benefit.
- I see no reason why I can’t create something spectacular if I keep trying.
- I can succeed because I am worthy of success.
- Success is what I choose to define it as, and no one else can choose for me.
What do you want to believe about yourself? You have the power! You get to choose!