Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Self-confidence is defined as a feeling of confidence in one's skills, qualities, and judgments. Self-confidence is something very important for your health and psychological well-being.
Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help you succeed in your personal and professional life. When you believe in yourself, you will be more willing to try new things. Whether you are moving to a new country or applying for a new job, believing in yourself is the key to going fearlessly into unknown situations.
Self-Confidence and its Benefits
When you feel confident in yourself, you can fully dedicate yourself to whatever you have at hand. Instead of wasting time and energy worrying that you are not good enough, you can devote your energy to your efforts. Ultimately, you will perform better when you feel confident and sure of your skills and competences.
Confident women tend to be more successful in a wide variety of fields and feel better about themselves and their lives in general. It is this strong feeling of confidence and self-esteem that allows women to go out into the world and achieve their goals.
However, many women today suffer from a lack of self-confidence due to childhood traumas or social programming. Fortunately, there are things all women can do to increase their self-confidence. If you lack confidence in a specific area, or constantly strive to feel confident about anything, here are some strategies that can help!
Why So Many Women Lack of Confidence
Women generally have difficulties in dealing with the problem of low self-confidence. For many, it may even seem like a personality trait one is blessed to be born with. Some of us spend our lives constantly pursuing certain goals under the assumption that once we achieve this thing, we will suddenly feel good and more confident about ourselves.
However, these assumptions are often wrong. Not only does building self-confidence take time and practice, but it also needs to come from within. Sometimes the external world can provide a boost of confidence, but if a solid foundation of trust does not exist within, any sense of pride or accomplishment will be short-lived. This feeds the cycle of constantly chasing external validation, and falling into that same insecurities again and again.
As a community, we can help our fellow sisters develop healthy levels of confidence and self-esteem. Instead of comparing and competing, we can support, encourage and offer genuine praise for each other. Self-confidence also comes from having the love and support of trusted people, as well as a solid guidance system that balances rewards with appropriate limits. With this, we are able to explore the world, discover our personal strengths and limits, and develop the ability to regulate ourselves.
How to Develop Self-Confidence in Daily Practices
Self-confidence cannot be developed overnight. You need continuous and persistent practice to build it up. Thankfully, this is achievable by taking small steps, one at a time, on a regular basis. Here we share with you some daily practices to start with:
1. Stop comparing yourself with others
Whether comparing your body with a model influencer’s on Instagram, or a friend's relationship status on Facebook, know that these comparisons are not healthy. Pay attention to the times you compare your wealth, looks, possessions, skills, achievements, and attributes to what you see online or presented by the media. Be aware of these thoughts and stop them. Everyone is running their own race and life is not a competition.
Remember that you are not seeing the whole picture. What you are looking at is often carefully curated, touched up, and designed to be as attractive as possible. Believing that other people are better or have more diminishes the confidence you have in yourself.
2. Be kind to your body
It is difficult to feel good about yourself if you are not being good to yourself. Avoiding sleep, eating unhealthily, and avoiding exercise are things that will harm your overall well-being. Studies consistently show that regular physical activity increases confidence and can improve a woman's body image.
Make self-care a priority. Create morning and sleeping routines, pamper yourself, exercise, maintain good nutrition. When we feel good about ourselves, our body image is improved, and we will naturally feel more confident.
3. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion involves treating yourself kindly when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. The way you talk to yourself is very important and will also influence the way others will talk to you.
Studies found that self-compassion contributes to more consistent confidence. Remembering that everyone makes mistakes sometimes can help you feel better, even when you don't perform a task as well as you expected.
Instead of blaming yourself, try to talk to yourself as if you are talking to a trusted friend. Take a break, observe your feelings and thoughts directed towards yourself, smile, and remember that no one is perfect.
4. Embrace doubt
Sometimes women avoid doing things; like calling someone on a date or traveling somewhere alone until they feel more confident. However, the best way to gain more confidence is also to just go and do it!
Face some of your fears that come from a lack of self-confidence. Even if you are afraid of failing, try it anyway. Of course, this does not mean that you should not prepare or practice for it. For example, if you are going to give a presentation, practice in front of your friends and family to gain some confidence first.
The main thing is that you don't have to wait until you feel 100% confident before proceeding. Because sometimes this 100% will never come, and that will hold you back from taking the plunge. Embracing a little self-doubt can help you take those first steps to perform better in the future.
5. Eliminate negative and worrying thoughts
Start to identify worried and negative thoughts, and redirect that energy. It is not healthy to be constantly worrying about circumstances and feeling worthless. If you can’t fully change things for the better, just do what you can at that moment. And if you can't do anything about it, why worry about the things you have no control over? Let life flow, and go with the flow.
Negative thoughts are highly detrimental to a person's development and well-being. Cultivating positive thoughts on a daily basis can increase confidence in yourself. If you feel trapped in negative thoughts, consult with a psychologist, a therapist, or a coach who can help you.
6. Enjoy the moment you are living
This can be difficult for many of us, but the best way to build self-confidence is to focus completely on the present, on each moment we are living. Allowing ourselves to think about bad times or something unpleasant that happened before will only trigger negative thoughts in us. Worrying about the things that could go wrong in future will also have the same negative effect of being damaging to our self-confidence.
So live in the moment. Be present! You can make use of meditation or other mindfulness practices that can really help you make the most of every occasion, and feel better about yourself and the environment you are in.
7. Conduct behavioral experiments
When your brain tells you that you have nothing to say in a meeting or that you are too out of shape to exercise, remember that your thoughts are not always accurate and you should not listen to everything your inner critic says. Sometimes, the best way to deal with negative self-talk is to directly challenge those statements.
Try to do things that your inner critic claims that you can't. Tell yourself it is just an experiment and see what happens. You may find that making some mistakes are not as bad as you initially thought. You may find that you can do so much more than you believed you could. Each time you move forward, you will gain more confidence in yourself.
8. Remember that life is short and precious
Acknowledge that even though life is brief, it is also very special. You can choose to make the most out of it, and of the opportunities that present themselves. Move forward with confidence and believe that you can succeed, even when it seems like a distant possibility.
Sometimes, low self-confidence stems from a bigger problem, such as traumatic events from the past. At other times, it may be a symptom of a mental health problem that needs to be dealt with in different ways.
Work every day in small ways, to make your dreams come true, to heal your relationship with yourself, and to enjoy every moment you live. Listen to your heart and do everything to guide it where it really wants to go.
Never undermine the power of self-confidence and its importance in your life! Everyone struggles with self-confidence issues at one point or another. But if your issues with self-confidence interfere with your job, social life, or education, please don’t hesitate in seeking professional help. You are worth it.
Jessika Lagarde is a storyteller, Earth and climate activist, and Women On Psychedelics Co-founder. Her personal healing work with psychedelics have made her more aware not only of the crisis of our planet but also of the mental crisis humanity is in. All of her work is informed in taking action in a way that serves the Earth and our human collective, in hopes of mobilizing inner healing towards outer action.