HOW TO BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM
Some common problems people face regarding self-esteem and confidence
It is an unfortunate fact that people suffering from low self-esteem and/or low self-confidence may display some or all of the following behaviours:
- Shooting from the hip – in other words speaking before thinking, saying things they will regret and have to apologise for later;
- Gossiping. A gossiper has low self-esteem and by gossiping about others, their feeling of powerlessness decreases. Such a person may become the trouble-maker of the office or in their family;
- Attention-seeking. Attention elevates the person with low self-esteem, emotionally. They often display inappropriate behaviours and almost always regret it afterwards. They almost always end up feeling even worse about themselves;
- They may withdraw – sometimes to the point of becoming anti-social. Unfortunately this exacerbates their feelings of unworthiness;
- Put themselves down and constantly speaking negatively about themselves and their circumstances to others;
- Become hypochondriacs. Constantly focus on every twitch, ache or pain and letting people around them know that they are not well. Unfortunately people’s reactions and responses normally enable the hypochondriacs behaviour;
- Half empty cups. People suffering from low self-esteem and lack of confidence tend to be very negative about everything;
- Unhappiness. They almost always feel unhappy;
- Hate-speech. Someone suffering from low self-esteem may speak ill of others to the point of hate-speech. Unfortunately their behaviour is often infectious in the workplace and they drag others down with them.
Some general tips on how you can become more confident
- Nobody is perfect. Even the most confident people have insecurities. At some point in any of our lives, we may feel that we are not good enough – no matter who you are and no matter how educated you are;
- Be honest about your insecurities. Become aware of your (mostly negative) self-talk. Be honest about your shame – mostly about yourself. Do you have a bad skin? Are you becoming bald? Are you obese? Be honest about whatever makes you feel unworthy, ashamed or inferior. Identify it and write it down so that you can begin to do something about it;
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop self-talk regarding others being better, more educated or more beautiful than you and start counting your blessings;
- Identify and acknowledge your successes. Give yourself credit for your successes and talents. We are all born with talents and strengths. Start developing your strengths and talents so that you can start applying them. You will begin to feel capable and accomplished and your confidence will increase tenfold;
- Start living in gratitude. Fear and beliefs of lack (mostly lack of money, love or acceptance) can cause insecurity and inferiority. Your confidence will increase and your thoughts will become more positive once you start acknowledging and appreciating what you do have;
- Don’t be a victim. Don’t pity yourself or seek sympathy from others. Don’t allow others to make you feel inferior. People will treat you the same as you treat yourself. In other words if you continue to belittle yourself you are asking others to do the same. Always speak positively about yourself to others;
- Accept and enjoy compliments from others. Don’t deny the things you get complimented on. Say “thank you” and feel the full force of gratitude wash over you!
- Smile often. It is a proven fact that even if you don’t feel as happy as your smile might indicate, your brain will believe that you are happy because the muscles in your face are connected to the area of your brain which releases endorphins when stimulated by a smile. Endorphins make you happy!
- Fake your confidence! There is an old saying “Fake it until you make it.” It works on the same principle as the smile. Pretend that you are a completely confident version of yourself and see what happens after a while. You will truly become confident!
- Be true to yourself. That means that you need to be clear about your values and then live them. Being true to yourself means that you will not change your values to suit the circumstances or to fit in with others;
- Help others. It feels very good to make a difference in someone else’s life. It doesn’t have to cost you anything and it doesn’t have to take up too much of your time. The gratitude you will experience by being kind to others will help build your self-confidence. Try letting someone into the traffic and see how good it feels;
- Work diligently. Do what you were employed to do – and more. Focus on your dreams and goals and take action! Don’t just talk about your dreams and goals. Take deliberate action daily to make your dreams and goals reality. A dream is just a dream – until you start taking action to achieve it;
- Find a role-model. Look for a confident person who has already achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them;
- Always look and behave your best – it will give you tremendous confidence. Make an effort with your make up, clothes and hair and display decorum and good manners.
How to stop negative self-talk
- Recognise your limiting thoughts and acknowledge your patterns of negative expectation. We tend to fantasies about the worst possible outcome instead of the best possible outcome. We do this so that we can be a victim. Being a victim means that everything is done to you – not by you. It means that you don’t have to accept responsibility for it because someone else is to blame. Once you fully accept responsibility for your choices and decisions, you will be in control of your own life experiences;
- We create what we fear most. Our thoughts truly become our words, then our deeds so be careful what you think because you will start acting as though your thoughts are true and so create your worst fears;
- Choose your reading material and television programmes more wisely because they influence and change your positive outlook and attitudes, good moods and inner peace;
- Become aware of your state of mind. Choose your own attitude and emotions – don’t be influenced by another person’s negative outlook on life. Don’t allow their negativity to suck you into their abyss;
- Become and remain more conscious. Focus on the present – not on old memories, past relationships and pain;
- Don’t get stuck in the difficult moments. Today is but a blink in the greater scheme of the Universe. Move gracefully through difficult moments. Don’t get stuck there. Allow yourself to move through it. You can do this without depleting your energy reserves – simply by having the intention to do it. Remember, life is short. Make each day count and stop wasting your energy on negative thoughts, unproductive thinking about who said what to whom 10 years ago.
BY ELSABÉ MANNING