Boost Your Confidence and Your Self-Esteem
There are many reasons we may have low self-esteem, but they mainly come down to three things: How we consider our intrinsic worth, how we think of our personal skills, and how we work with our relational skills. Without a balance of these three things, we can fall prey to low self-confidence. Learning to trust means developing confidence in our skills, i.e. our internal resources and talents, and this involves changing the way we look at our actions and capacities. In other words, it’s important to work on both our actions and mental patterns. Let’s take a look at some ways to improve these.
1. Focus on Existing Skills
In order to increase self-confidence, it’s a better idea to strengthen our existing skills in a particular discipline than to undertake a totally new and difficult activity or skill set. The goal here is to acquire expertise in an area in which you feel competent and which you enjoy. As the feeling of expertise encourages positive emotions like pride and cheerfulness, it increases and reinforces confidence. For example, if you have a knack for gardening, you could increase your knowledge of botany. If you play an instrument, you could enrich your musical culture, etc.
2. Talk to Friends and Family
Talking with someone you are close to makes it easier to accurately evaluate your own capacities. Choose a friend, a colleague, a member of your family, and explain to him/her that you need an outsider’s perspective. Ask questions like: “In your opinion what are my strengths?” or “What activities do I have skills for?” Asking questions and listening to their answers is not only a way to get a new point of view, but also to develop a sense of security. It can also be a way to discover unique talents and skills that you did not suspect you had or that you thought were “abnormal.”
3. Make a List of Your Actions
The goal here is to get a more objective perspective about your abilities. It is not a question of denying reality by covering the facts with a fake “positivity”, but of taking a step back in order to overcome obstacles that keep you from realizing your full potential. The first thing to do is write down a list of all your actions related to low self-confidence. Try to describe the cause of this feeling in one or two sentences. On another sheet, do the same exercise but for positive actions: What are the things in which you feel capable of and why? Lastly, re-read the two lists several times in order to integrate a more holistic vision of yourself. This exercise decreases the feeling of incompetence by highlighting certain positive skills.
4. Tone Down the Perfectionism
Contrary to popular opinion, perfectionism is not only for ambitious or confident people. It affects most of us and can express itself in the form of reproach, for example, “I do not do well enough!” Being a perfectionist means setting impossible goals, which leaves you feeling helplessness or incompetent. To escape from this trap, it is necessary to distinguish between achievable objectives, objectives that are momentarily unachievable, and objectives that are permanently inaccessible. Make a list of these three things in writing, if possible with the help of a friend or family member. The idea here is to describe each objective by detailing the means to achieve them and to recognize which objectives are unreasonable.
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