Self-confidence = good self-esteem = good self-care practice = helping your mind stay healthy.
The most valuable and meaningful confidence comes from yourself.
1. List your strengths.
- I am empathetic.
- I am compassionate.
- I am caring.
- I am loving.
- I am an understanding person.
- I am intelligent.
- I am committed.
- I am selfless.
- I am helpful.
- I am kind.
- I am considerate.
- I am determined.
- I am ambitious.
- I am industrious.
- I am talented.
- I stand up and speak up for social justice.
Generally, us humans are our own worst self-critics. We have a tendency to overlook all our positive traits and personal strengths; all the things we’re good at and all the things we might admire in someone else. Acknowledging our strengths is the first step to self-love; and self-love = good self-care practice.
2. Accept your limitations.
I try my best in everything, and that is the best I can ever expect of myself, and as long as I am always trying my best, I am always good enough.
Sometimes, I can’t help other people as much as I’d like to. Sometimes, I need to take a step back and take care of myself in order to be able to look after other people. Sometimes, people’s needs extend beyond my reach. I cannot make everyone okay. I cannot fix everything. I need to be my own support system before I can be anyone else’s.
Things won’t always be ‘perfect’; or exactly how I’d like – and that’s life. I am not in control of everything that happens in my life, and sometimes, I have to accept things how they are. Not everything fits into my ideal of how things should be. Life is precarious.
I have poor mental health days, and sometimes, I just need to take a time-out. Sometimes I need to give myself a day off, to recuperate so that I can be productive again. Keeping myself well should always be my first priority. One day of recuperation and self-care is better than months of mental crisis.
When all is said and done, we are only humans, and we all have our limits. We cannot expect to be everyone’s idea of perfection, nor can we expect to be our own. We can strive to be the best possible version of ourselves. We can’t expect to be anything more than our best self. We aren’t super-human.
3. Don’t “should” yourself.
When it comes to behavioural ideals, work ethic, appearance, success, we often force the toughest expectations upon ourselves. I know what I consider to be acceptable from myself is excessively higher than what I consider to be acceptable from anyone else. Instead of telling yourself what you should do, think about what you can do – you may find that breaking big shoulds down into small cans, allows you to achieve your expectations; but, ultimately, don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Be ambitious, but don’t be too tough on yourself.
4. Gain some perspective.
Nothing in my life is inherently bad. I have a tendency to be overwhelmed by emotions, feelings and events and this can distort my perspective significantly. There are positives and negatives in everything, and preempting the negatives will only ever lead to negative feeling.
The human mind is an intense place to be, and it is all too easy to find ourselves wrapped up in our own feelings and emotions to the point of we lose sight of all rational perspective. Sometimes, taking a step back and imagining we were someone else looking in on our life, can remind us of everything our current self-perspective is failing to acknowledge. By removing our subjectivity, we can gain a greater perspective on a situation and escape the trap of the negative thoughts and feelings, negative behaviour cycle.
5. Try something new.
Start a journal.
Trying something new is a great way to escape the monotony of the human mind that can lead to significant negativity. Trying something new can spark a new interest; increase creativity; and give us more lust for life. It can make us feel that we are more productive; which in turn makes us more satisfied with ourselves and content.
6. Celebrate your wins.
- I got a new job.
I left my job, started applying for jobs, got an interview the same week and within a week was back in employment.
I was determined and stayed motivated and I succeeded.
- I passed my driving test.
Driving was always something I really wanted to do, possibly more than anything, and in 2015, I passed my driving test with zero minors which was amazing! I love driving. I have a beautiful car. Driving makes me happy and gives me a great sense of liberty and feeling free.
- I got a First in second year.
Going to university was a massive achievement in itself for me – and not something I ever expected I could do; I’ve always been very intelligent and exceeded academically, but from a working class background, it seemed unreachable. I was originally studying Sociology and History as I thought it would give me good prospects to become a secondary school teacher – I didn’t enjoy my History classes one bit, and I decided I should be doing a degree in something I love, just because I love it, rather than doing a degree just for career purposes. I transferred to major in Popular Music with Sociology as my minor subject and I excelled – achieving a First overall. It’s put me in a great position for my third year and gives me a great sense of achievement that keeps me motivated to graduate with the grade I deserve.
- I’m still alive.
It may seem like stating the obvious, but, I’m still here. Things have been hard at times. At times it’s seemed like nothing was ever gonna be okay; but everything that’s happened, I’ve come out the other side. That’s proof I am strong enough to survive.
- I feel I can almost say I am a recovered anorexic.
I developed Anorexia Nervosa aged 17, and from 17-19 I was severely anorexic; at great detriment to my life. I found the strength to physically recover my body; but not my mind, and I’ve been plagued by eating disorders ever since; at a severe intensity. For the first time since Anorexia, I think I’m at a place where I am not controlled by an ED. I still have ED-related insecurities, but my behaviours, thoughts and attitudes towards food are no longer in the hands of an ED. I didn’t think full recovery was ever a slight possibility for me, but I’m beginning to second think that now!
- I transitioned to veganism.
In relation to the win above, I have a volatile relationship with food. I’ve wanted to adopt a vegan lifestyle for a very long time, but due to the danger I face placing any kinds of restriction for myself on food, it’s always been a thought I haven’t been able to entertain. Unexpectedly, I’ve found a stage of recovery where I can healthily control my food; I’m not restricting at all; I have a healthy control and I’m actually enjoying food, enjoying making food, and building a positive relationship with food, by being vegan!
Humans are great self-critics, and thus will pay much more attention to their losses and downfalls than their wins and successes. Give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved – no matter how big or small. Leaving the house; sending an important email; answering the telephone, can all be huge wins. Give yourself recognition for your achievements. It will both motivate and inspire you.
7. Practice positive self-talk.
We all have an internal monologue – and like I’ve said before, we are internally critical. Too many of us are verbal and emotional self-abusers. Abuse diminishes confidence and this effect is the same in self-abuse. Instead of negativity, talk to yourself with kindness; softly encourage yourself; treat yourself as you would someone you love and care for; for after all, we cannot love and care for anyone else if we do not love and care for ourselves.
8. Accept compliments.
Have you ever thought that to not deflect a compliment would be vain or somewhat self-righteous? We are taught to deny recognition of our own positive features, attributes and achievements, as if to agree would be impolite. A compliment should be given with sincerity. If someone tells you your outfit looks great on you, it should be because they think your outfit looks great on you. If someone pays you a compliment like this, don’t deny yourself that praise. Accept it! and feel free to agree, too! Don’t feel you have to put yourself down to be socially accepted. Say “thanks!” and allow yourself to feel good! Better still, agree! You think the outfit looks great on you too, (if you don’t feel amazing in it, why the hell are you wearing it?!?!) If someone doesn’t feel you should agree with a compliment, then their compliment is not sincere and should not be given in the first place. Accepting and/or agreeing with a compliment is not narcissistic; it’s self-appreciative, which is essential to feel good about yourself and increase your confidence.
9. Show others how to treat you.
The way you treat yourself sets an example for others. If you lower your standards for how you treat yourself, you’re definitely liable to lower your standards for how others treat you. Mistreatment is severely damaging to confidence. To maintain your self-confidence, make sure you’re treated right by those around you, and lead by example.
10. Be kind to you.
Kindness is arguably the most important quality in being a decent human being. In the words of Cinderella: “Be kind, always.” That kindness doesn’t stop at yourself. You are the most important person in your life, so be kind to you. Give yourself what you need, treat yourself to what you want, don’t be too hard on yourself, and give yourself some love. Love & acceptance is key to anyone’s confidence, and it’s no different when it comes to self-reflexivity.
Image credit to classycareergirl.com