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8.10.2017

How to build self-confidence

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most esteemed of all? If the answer isn’t you, then it’s time for some confidence-building. It’s all about having a positive, true picture of yourself–correctly measuring what you can do, and knowing you’re okay, no matter what. Self-confidence—and turning low self-esteem around–is something that is learned. You can learn, for example, to take better care of yourself by staying healthy. You may like yourself better if you feel fit.  Here are some more tips:

Focus on what you can do. Your strengths lie in some areas more than others.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re wonderful as you are.

Take an inventory of your strengths and pleasures and nurture them.  Maybe baking the perfect pie or scoring the best concert tickets isn’t your thing or is out of reach.  Maybe what gives you pleasure is snapping photos on your nature walk, tinkering on a woodworking project or sharing your thoughts about the latest novel with a book club.  Do more of these activities, more often!

Let go of perfectionism. Instead, strive to achieve your personal best. Remind yourself that not everyone or every situation is truly “perfect.”  Everyone has their own issues and insecurities, but not everyone reveals them.

Set the bar at a reachable level. You can then reach beyond it. Is rising to the top of your company or the top of a mountain in some exotic location really something that you can reasonably achieve?  If so, gather more information on what it might take to get there, what resources you need, and the appropriate steps and timeline. Figure out your very own “peak” you want to climb, which may not be what someone else strives for.

Pat yourself on the back. Do it every time you reach a goal.

Practice positive verbal and body language. Banish negative self-talk and walk tall. Say to yourself, “I refuse to put myself down, I am just different from (a certain person). I have my own unique qualities—and so do they.”

Keep a gratitude journal. Write down the “plusses” in your life.  Think small. Did it make you happy to share a cup of tea with your co-worker? Have a snuggle with Fido? Start an interesting new project at work? Had a great conversation with a long-lost friend? Writing down as many things–big, small and in between–that you are grateful for each day has been shown to reduce social comparisons, envy, and resentment and increase self-esteem.

Enjoy the present moment. Tell yourself that life is not a competition, but provides opportunities at every moment to enjoy, learn and grow.

Cultivate relationships with non-competitive people. It’s difficult to feel a connection, sense of well-being, and mutual appreciation with those who are constantly bragging about what they have or do.

Focus on the things you can change. You may have lost income, a loved one, or had an unexpected illness—all things that can damage your confidence and outlook. Try to focus on actions that move you forward, even in some small way.

Exercise. Any type of physical movement can build your self-esteem. For one thing, exercising stokes up the feel-good brain hormones that lift your mood. If you start with small goals, say walking around the neighborhood, and stay with a regular walking regimen, for example, you’ll feel physically and mentally stronger. Your personal outlook will change and you’ll stop worrying about what others do or think.

For Health Advocate members

  • If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life Program, consider speaking with a Health Advocate Licensed Professional Counselor who will help provide confidential support with self-esteem issues, stress, substance abuse and other personal and work issues.
  • If you’re a Health Advocate member with our Advocacy services, contact us to speak with a Personal Health Advocate who specializes in behavioral health. The Personal Health Advocate can help you identify resources for help.