Seven Steps to Greater Self-Confidence
If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right. — Mary Kay Ash
You have the POWER to move from poor self-esteem to having great confidence. These steps should help you discover the “New You.”
1. Don’t just think about the sort of person you want to be and feel helpless. Picture yourself having already accomplish your goals and feel proud.
2. Take your notebook and list your strengths. What are you good at? Leave plenty of space because, as you keep thinking about it, you will want to add to the list. You will think of strengths you had forgotten and you will find yourself developing strengths in new areas.
On another page, list things you are thankful for.
3. Use self-talk. When you feel like giving up, tell yourself “I am NOT a quitter. I know I can do this if I try hard enough.” And if at first you don’t succeed, “I didn’t do too well this time, but the effort taught me a great deal. I will try again and this time I will….”
4. Be Courageous. Take risks.
It takes real COURAGE to make a change in your life. You need to believe in yourself. You must dare to look different, act different, and change the way you relate to other people.
You might build up your courage and tall your best friends what you’re doing. If they are true friends, they will encourage and praise your efforts. If they laugh at you, they aren’t real friends. But, with time, you might show them you can succeed in this effort. Sometimes other people can change.
Winston Churchill said it well. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Begin with little steps.
- Try taking a class that’s a little harder.
- Raise your hand and ask or answer a question in class.
- Accept compliments by smiling and saying “Thank you” instead of acting like the compliment wasn’t deserved.
- Set a very small goal like learning ten vocabulary words in the next twenty minutes. You can do that. Feel proud of your accomplishment. Recognize that you can accomplish even more.
- Accept the fact that you aren’t perfect. Even the most confident people you know are not perfect.
- Remind yourself that you can never succeed if you don’t try and, if you always succeed, you need to aim higher. It’s all right to try and fail as long as you don’t give up.
5. Avoid people who tend to make rude remarks about you or who put you down. Never stay in a relationship with someone who is verbally abusive. They do this because they also lack self-confidence. They try to increase their confidence by destroying yours. You don’t deserve this sort of treatment. Nobody does. You don’t need to put down the other person. Just break off the relationship.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. — Mark Twain
Sometimes this other person is a parent. Explain to them that their comments are hurtful, how they have made you lose confidence. Suggest ways they could rephrase their statements to be more helpful. Instead of saying that raising your grade from a D to a C was OK but I expect it to keep going up, they can simply say how pleased they are. Instead of asking why you signed up for a hard class like Chemistry, they can say, “I’m so pleased that you signed up for Chemistry. That won’t be easy. I know you you’re smart. You can do it.”
Accept the fact that you can’t always change other people. This includes parents and, if you are married, your spouse. You might simply remind them each time they put you down. “When you put me down like that, it hurts my feelings. I feel like you don’t have confidence in my ability to succeed.” If they continue, leave the room. If they ask why you are leaving, explain and leave. Leaving the room gives you the feeling that you are in control of the situation.
6. Show people you are self-confident.
- Stand tall with your head held high.
- Look people in the eyes and smile… not a shy smile, not a fake smile, but a warm, confident smile.
- In classes, sit up and lean forward slightly to show how eager you are to learn. The teacher will see you as a good learner.
- You can even dress differently. Wear brighter colors. Wear clothes that make you look good. Get a new hairdo, You don’t need to hide yourself. You are a strong, confident person.
- Take the first step and talk to people. If they need encouragement, you can do that. A confident person helps other people. This takes courage, but you are a brave person. You know you can do it.
7. If nothing else works, fake it. I have known people who found this very helpful. One young man I know had poor self-confidence because he never did well in class. He was shy and had never been part of a popular group. When starting at a new school, he decided he would pretend to be popular. He walked and talked and acted like he thought a popular student would. He walked up to other students and introduced himself. He worked hard to learn their names. He was soon elected the president of his dorm.
A friend later remembered meeting this young man for the first time. “I could tell he was a shy kid pretending to be popular,” he said. “but it worked. He ended up being popular.” When the young man returned to his previous school a year later, other students didn’t recognize him. He didn’t look any different. His behavior was different. He was now able to make friends with students who had ignored him earlier.
Some people act like they are Overconfident. They brag. They criticize other people. They seem to expect success without effort. In many cases they have low self-esteem. They lack true self-confidence. Instead of acting like truly confident people, they overact and others find them offensive. You might explain this fact to the, and let them know it is causing them to lose friends, or you might simply avoid them.
Confident People are realistic. They accept themselves and accept other people They recognize others who need more confidence and offer praise and encouragement.
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. — M. Williamson