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How to Build Self-Confidence: 16 Ways to Realize You’re Worth It

how to build self-confidence

Do you love yourself? And I don’t mean in a stuck up, narcissistic kind of way. If not, here are some tips for how to build self-confidence.

Let’s face it – most people don’t have perfect self-esteem. Too often, they look in the mirror criticizing everything from their body to their mind. Or they get in their own head and beat themselves up over something they have done – or haven’t done – with their lives.

That’s no way to live. So why do so many people go through life feeling this down on themselves? There are lots of reasons. So, let’s take a look at a few of them.

Why so many people have low self-confidence

Believe it or not, babies are not born feeling badly about themselves. That is a learned attitude. In fact, in a perfect world, we would all love ourselves. But unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Here are some reasons people have low self-confidence.

#1 The media. Hello? Anyone turned on the TV or seen a movie lately? You can’t get away from beautiful people! And not only are most celebrities skinny, buff, and beautiful, but they’re really rich too. Talk about setting the bar impossibly high for the rest of us! Geez.

It’s a wonder that 99% of the world isn’t curled up in a fetal position most of the time. Needless to say, the media just gives us the perfect opportunity to compare ourselves to people who “have it better than us.”

And as a result, most people feel like crap because of it. And this does not teach us how to build self-confidence. [Read: 10 signs of low self-esteem and 5 ways to increase it]

#2 Your parents. Okay, maybe you had really loving, positive parents who told you beautiful things about yourself. Even if you did, you probably didn’t escape hearing, “You can try harder” or “Don’t be lazy!” They meant well, but their words still probably affected you in a negative way.

But many people have parents who tell them really negative things about themselves. And throughout your life, it literally programs your mind. Eventually, your parents’ voice becomes your voice. So, if you didn’t hear positive messages, then you’ll feel badly about yourself.

#3 Your peers. Anyone who wasn’t home schooled knows what I mean about this. Let’s face it – kids can be cruel! Even if they’re not cruel, you still compare yourself to the popular, smart, or rich kids.

#4 Your self-talk. Most of how we feel about ourselves are created not only by the messages we get from the outside *parents, media, peers*, but all of that turns into your self-talk. Even if it’s just as simple as, “Gee, I’m having a bad hair day!” It’s still negative.  [Read: Build your self-esteem – 35 funny things to tell yourself in front of the mirror]

How to build self-confidence

I don’t mean to sound so negative about self-confidence, but it is something that a lot of people struggle with. The good news is that you really can feel better about yourself! The older you are, the more work it will take. But fear not – it can be done! So here are some tips for how to build self-confidence.

#1 Stop caring what other people think. This is a huge tip for how to build self-confidence, especially for women. A lot of people are not only people-pleasers, but if you’re self-conscious, then you always care what other people are thinking about you.

But guess what? Most people are so busy worrying about themselves that they are probably not even judging you. It’s a reassuring thought, eh? [Read: The art of not giving a shit – How to not care in 15 steps]

#2 Stop comparing yourself to other people. This is a difficult one. Like I said earlier, we’re constantly bombarded with messages and images of beautiful, rich people in the media. And we even compare ourselves to people we know.

Stop doing that! But if you do have to compare, then compare yourself to people who are worse off than you. I don’t mean that to sound bad, but it helps you realize how good you have it when you do that.

#3 Monitor your self-talk. Most people don’t even know what goes on inside their heads! Even positive people have negative thoughts go through their minds a lot. So, you need to become aware of your self-talk, and then stop yourself when you say negative things. Then change it into something positive instead. [Read: How to stop having negative thoughts that drag your mind down]

#4 Visualize. It might sound like a cheesy tip for how to build self-confidence, but research proves that visualization works for just about everything. Even Olympic and professional athletes do it. So, visualize yourself feeling really good about yourself, and eventually, it will become reality.

#5 Re-frame things. If you are down on yourself because you need to lose 50 pounds, well, be happy that you don’t need to lose 100! Or if you feel like you don’t make enough money in your job, just be grateful that you have a job and that you can feed yourself. Re-frame and focus on the positives. [Read: How to master positive self-talk and banish negativity]

#6 Develop honest relationships. Sometimes we need people in our lives to help us along. So, hang around people who are positive and honest. Ask them to help lift you up and re-confirm your positive self-image. Sometimes it’s easier to believe when we hear it come from someone else other than ourselves.

#7 Let go of the past. Maybe you cheated on an ex. Or you were a bully in the 2nd grade, and that affects how you feel about yourself. Whatever it is, it’s in the past. You can’t change the past, so just forgive yourself and move on. Let it go and look toward a positive future.

#8 Seek support. Making any kind of change in our life can be challenging, so why not grab a friend or two and form a “self-confidence support group”? You can all lift each other up as you continually focus on building each other’s self-confidence. [Read: Low self-worth – 5 steps to see yourself in a better light]

#9 Use affirmations. This may or may not work for everyone, but it’s a tip for how to build self-confidence that is worth a try. Write out positive statements about yourself, and them repeat them over and over. All this repetition will help you believe good things about yourself, and then you will automatically believe them.

#10 Try hypnosis. If using affirmations doesn’t sound appealing to you, why not try hypnosis? It’s not scary at all. You can even get your own digital download from the internet. There are many you can find, and they will re-program your mind with self-confidence. Or, you can seek out a hypnotherapist to help you instead, if you prefer.

#11 Take care of yourself. Part of how high or low our self-confidence is how we look and feel about ourselves. So, eat healthy, get some exercise, shower, and just basically try to look and feel good. It’s simple, but when we don’t feel like we look good, then that really affects our self-esteem. [Read: 15 ways to be someone who always says, I love my life!]

#12 Lose the excuses. One big reason we can get down on ourselves is because we fail to meet our goals. Whether it’s a health goal, a career goal, or a personal one, if you don’t take personal responsibility and hold yourself accountable, then you won’t feel very good about yourself. So, don’t make excuses. Do what you say you’re going to do!

[Read: How self-respect affects you and your relationships]

Feeling better about yourself will take some work – I’m not going to lie. But with these tips for how to build your self-confidence, you can’t go wrong. After all, aren’t you worth it? Yes, you are!

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Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...

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