In a world that constantly demands our attention and challenges our self-worth, confidence feels like a rebellion. Whether it’s pursuing your dreams, overcoming obstacles, or simply feeling comfortable in your skin, building confidence is essential for personal growth. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what confidence is, what can impact it, and share some useful resources to support building your confidence.
What is confidence?
Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance or certainty that you can rely on your abilities, qualities, and judgement. It’s a feeling of complete trust. Confidence is often associated with positive qualities such as assertiveness, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. What these things have in common is an ability to recognise your needs, accept that your needs are important and that you can communicate them.
Confidence stems from a deep sense of self-belief, recognising your strengths and abilities while accepting your “imperfections”. It involves embracing your uniqueness and maintaining a resilient attitude towards setbacks.
Types of confidence
There are different types of confidence, but they can generally be divided into two categories: internal confidence and external confidence.
Internal confidence is based on your beliefs about yourself. It’s a feeling of trust in your judgement. External confidence is based on how you think others perceive you. It’s a feeling of confidence in your ability to make a good impression on others.
What are the benefits of confidence?
People are often on a quest to feel more confident but why? What is the magic that confidence grants? If you’re feeling confident, you’re more likely to:
- Set and achieve goals. When you have goals to work towards, you have something to strive for. It can help you stay motivated and focused.
- Take risks. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but it’s also a great way to grow and learn. When you take risks, you prove to yourself that you are capable of more than you thought.
- Be assertive. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. Assertiveness is a sign of confidence.
- Communicate effectively. Communication is key to building relationships and achieving your goals. Your needs matter and when you have confidence in this you find an ability to communicate them and build clear boundaries.
- Build relationships. Surround yourself with positive people who support you and believe in you. Having a strong support system can help you stay confident when things get tough.
- Handle stress. Everyone experiences stress, but how you deal with it is important. Learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and time management.
- Bounce back from setbacks. Everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t let setbacks define you.
What causes low confidence?
When looking at how to build confidence it can be useful to look at what impacts it. Sometimes it can be easy to pinpoint why we don’t feel confident. Other times, it’s not obvious. Many factors can contribute to low confidence, including:
- Negative experiences. It might be that time you put your hand up in class to ask a question and everyone laughed at you – these things imprint on our nervous system and mould how we show up as an adult.
- Unrealistic expectations. Our parents or teachers can have wildly unrealistic expectations of us and our inability to meet them can be internalised as a child. Leaving us thinking we’re not enough.
- Social comparison. In a social media world, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others. Forgetting there is always much much more to a person than the image they share or portray.
- Perfectionism. A trait learned in childhood in a bid to win the affection of our carers or to gain control of a situation. This characteristic can stop us in our tracks before we even get started.
- Low self-esteem. This comes from the internalisation of a “problem”, for example, if you get a bad grade on a maths test you derive that you’re terrible at maths instead of saying I didn’t understand the materials maybe next time I’ll seek support.
- Trauma. Whether it’s adverse or little T trauma the impact has the same effect. It changes how we respond to the world around us and this can impact our confidence too.
7 steps on how to build confidence
Below are some practical ways to build confidence but if you really want to do the work, you have to start from within. When working with clients, before we start to look at external goals, we start with the foundations of confidence. You can read more on that here.
In the meantime, try just one of these steps and see how it feels to you.
1. Cultivate Self-Awareness
The foundation of building confidence lies in self-awareness. Take the time to understand your values, interests, and goals. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses, and be aware of your emotional triggers. Self-awareness allows you to identify areas for improvement, set realistic expectations, and develop a growth mindset. It isn’t always easy doing this on your own, this is where a coach can support.
2. Set Achievable Goals
Break down your aspirations into smaller, manageable goals. Setting achievable targets provides a sense of direction and progress. The ability to take action and celebrate each milestone reached will reinforce your belief in your abilities, ultimately enhancing your confidence.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Growth and confidence go hand in hand. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, it doesn’t matter if it’s a millimetre or a mile, is vital for personal development. Start with small challenges, gradually expanding your boundaries. By conquering new experiences, you prove to yourself that you can handle unfamiliar situations, boosting your confidence in the process.
4. Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity
Failure is an inevitable part of life, but it shouldn’t deter your confidence. Instead, view failures as valuable lessons and stepping stones towards success. Analyse what went wrong, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your approach. Each setback becomes an opportunity for growth and personal improvement.
5. Practice Self-Compassion
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks. Be patient with yourself, practice self-care, and replace self-criticism with self-encouragement. Developing a compassionate mindset nurtures confidence and resilience.
6. Cultivate Positive Self-Talk
The words we speak to ourselves have a profound impact on our confidence. Challenge negative self-talk by consciously replacing it with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your strengths, past achievements, and unique qualities. Over time, positive self-talk will become a natural habit, boosting your confidence and overall well-being.
7. Seek Supportive Relationships
Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive individuals is essential for building confidence. Seek out mentors, friends, or family members who uplift and encourage you. Engage in meaningful conversations and share your goals and aspirations with them. Their support and belief in you will reinforce your confidence.
My favourite TED talk on confidence:
I LOVE Brittany Packnett Cunningham’s TED talk on confidence. In her TED talk, confidence-obsessed Brittany stresses how vital confidence is. She places confidence above knowledge and resources because it’s confidence that provides an ability to move forward. To turn our ideas into action. It’s 13 minutes of motivation. Watch it below.
Top 5 Instagram accounts to follow for a confidence boost
- Lauren Currie from Upfront Global – Lauren is on a mission to change confidence, not women. She’s an incredible activist and I learn so much from her page.
- The Female Lead – a curation of incredible female achievements. I love the variation of real-life superheroes on this page – it never fails to put things in perspective and make me feel powerful as a woman.
- Alex Light LDN – in recovery from an eating disorder Alex shares openly her struggles, triumphs and the impact the media has had on this journey. Her vulnerability is admirable.
- Vicky Pattison – I love the former Georgie Shores star’s IG. She has self-admittedly done some things in her past that she’s not proud of but who hasn’t. She uses her platform for good, is open about her journey and is on the same journey as the rest of us. I love how grounded she is.
- Confidence Club – shameless plug but I’m not sorry! My IG consists of motivational quotes, affirmations and practical tips to connect back to yourself. I believe in the power of understanding yourself and your nervous system to show up as your most confident self.
10 affirmations to build confidence
1. I am capable and deserving of success in all areas of my life.
2. I am strong, resilient, and can overcome any challenge that comes my way.
3. I believe in my abilities and trust myself to make the best decisions for my life.
4. I am worthy of love, respect, and happiness, and I attract positive relationships into my life.
5. I am confident in expressing my opinions and ideas, knowing that they hold value and importance.
6. I embrace change and see it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
7. I am proud of my accomplishments, big and small, and acknowledge the progress I have made.
8. I have the power to create the life I desire, and I take action every day to move closer to my goals.
9. I radiate self-confidence, and others are drawn to my positive energy and presence.
10. I am grateful for who I am and the unique gifts and talents I possess. I am confident in sharing them with the world.
Building confidence is a transformative journey that requires self-reflection, perseverance, and self-compassion. By cultivating self-awareness, setting achievable goals, stepping out of your comfort zone, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, practising self-compassion, cultivating positive self-talk, and seeking supportive relationships, you’ll gradually strengthen your confidence.
Confidence is a journey, not a destination. If you want a cheerleader in your corner take a look at my coaching packages. Together, we can do amazing things.