10 Tips for more self confidence
Self confidence | 4 minutes
Self confidence is important for living your life in a pleasant way. How exactly does self confidence come about? And why is it so shaky sometimes? OpenUp psychologist Shannon explains self confidence - and what you can do to keep your confidence.
‘Am I asking a stupid question?’ ‘Am I doing it correctly?’ ‘Do they like me?’ Insecurity can play an important role in many aspects of your life - at work, during studies and in friendships. And even though being insecure is human, being insecure can be very difficult. Shannon: “Self confidence is about: do I dare to take on things; do I trust myself that I am able to do things? This is not static, but a changing process that continues throughout a lifetime. Within the field of Psychology, we distinguish between two fundamental pillars on which your development rests, namely: your predispositions - nature - and the experiences you have in your life - nurture. Both of these influence your level of confidence or insecurity in certain situations.
"Have you inherited a strong personality from your parents?"
Then this can positively affect your self confidence. Have you been laughed at while giving a presentation at school? This probably affected your feelings of self worth. Sometimes this happens structurally, for example in the case of bullying. People can then start to avoid things: they make sure they do not find themself in a situation in which they can be exposed to these negative feelings’.
Social media or not?
Using social media is up for discussion when talking about self confidence. Shannon: ‘We are social animals, we want to belong. Realistic or not: wanting to measure up to the ideal image presented on social media is human. Do you notice that you naturally struggle with your self confidence, then usage of social media will probably reinforce this. Culture plays a role in self confidence as well. In our Western society the focus lies on individual performances, while in Asia the collective is given more importance. Failing individually is weighed upon more heavily in our society: if you don’t know something or you can’t succeed, it feels like your own fault. In addition, the idea of ‘let’s keep things fun and easy’ prevails. This isn’t helping when you feel ashamed or vulnerable. Good to know: these feelings often become less intense when you get older: our ability to put things in perspective grows with the years.
This is what you can do
Does it matter for your self confidence if you are at work or at home? ‘Until a certain extent, yes. Of course, the company culture and match between you and your job affects your feelings of safety in a job. But you will take the experiences on which your self confidence is built - in good and bad sense - with you in every situation, like a mental backpack. Luckily this backpack isn’t closed: it is always possible to add relativising and reinforcing experiences.
10 tips to boost your self confidence
Realize: it is normal Everyone feels insecure at some point. Even artists that perform for the thousandth time for a million people. It is not weird or stupid to feel insecure.
Focus on the positive and celebrate success! Write down 3 positive things every night, for which you focus upon what you did well today or what went well because of you. (For example: ‘I cooked myself a healthy meal today.’)
Ask people around you for your positive characteristics Often, the image you have of yourself is (incorrectly) less positive than the way others view you. Ask people around you: ‘When you think of me as a person, what comes to mind?’
Don’t compare yourself with others Don’t look at other bodies, careers, performances, or houses: focus on you and neutrally judge your own situation. It is not realistic to compare yourself to an athlete when you just started working out. Training your mind works the same way you train your body: practice a lot and create a routine, it will become easier and easier.
Look at yourself with kindness Are you fed up about something you said? Do you think you made a mistake? Think about what you would tell a friend in your situation? Write it down and read it out loud to yourself in the mirror.
Take a critical look at your social media accounts What does social media with you? When you notice that using it comes with negative thoughts and/or feelings, think of accounts to delete or use less. Set a maximum user time and think about what you could do in the time you will have left because of it?
Lower the bar Even with doing a little less, it probably will still be more than sufficient. You don’t always have to be that person working over hours. Don’t try to always beat your workout times. The house doesn’t always have to be spotless. Good is good enough.
Replace ‘I need to’ with ‘I may’ Now look if you still want to do things. Allow yourself to ‘not do’ something when you need time for yourself.
Try a psychologist They are there to ask you constructive, critical questions - to look at your thoughts and see which are correct and which aren’t, and to help you with dealing with insecurities.
Give yourself some time Insecurity doesn’t happen or change overnight. Self confidence neither. Allow yourself some time and space to tackle it. Focus on the steps you are taking and the progress you are making, instead of solely focussing on the end goal.