Confidence isn’t about what you wear, how strong you seem, or faking it until you make it. Confidence is having the courage to be your authentic self and believing you are capable of reaching your goals, making connections, and overcoming the challenges you face. You don’t have to always “get it right” or handle it all on your own. Being truly confident means we have the courage and honesty to speak up when we need support or direction and the curiosity to explore different viewpoints and new pathways in our lives.
Quick Tips On Confident
Make a List
Our brains have been trained to focus on the negative, because that’s what kept us safe from sabertooth tigers in the day. It was really helpful then, but it’s not so helpful when our brain scans for any possible flaw in ourselves, our work, and our lives. We end up—as a species—focusing on our perceived negatives a lot, and it takes work to train our brains to look for and appreciate the positive. One way to do that is to sit down and make a list of things you appreciate about yourself. What are you good at? What are you proud of accomplishing? What have you done that made someone else feel good? When was a time you really took care of yourself? If this feels hard at first—remember, our brains aren’t used to it. Over time—and with practice—you can turn that inner critic into one of your biggest fans.
When our minds start focusing on the things we can’t do, don’t have, or haven’t accomplished, those thoughts can snowball quickly into an overall feeling that we just aren’t good enough. A single social media post or a small mistake on a project can feed a wave of insecurities. But you can ride that wave to a safer shore by pausing, taking a few deep breaths, and reminding yourself that we are all on our own paths, learning and growing as we go.
Journaling is a powerful way to notice the moments when we compare ourselves to others, feel less than, or are way harder on ourselves than we would be with anyone else. When you keep a journal of what’s been happening and how you’ve been feeling, you may notice the places, people, or things that amp up the negative soundtrack in your head, as well as all the ones that make you feel good and more like yourself. With that information, you can make intentional choices about how—and with whom—you spend your time.
Our whole society is focused on success—getting into the right school, choosing the right career, having ambition in your career, winning at all costs. What we haven’t been so good about is realizing life is actually about the journey, not the final destination. All the things that happen in our lives—the hard or exciting, the “successes” or “failures”—are just experiences. They give us information. We learn from them and we make choices and changes based on that input. Whatever goals we reach, we do so because of the lessons we’ve learned along the way and because we were open to taking risks. The next time you feel like you “failed” at something or could have done better, grab your journal and write down the lessons you learned and the risks you took. Confidence isn’t about getting everything right on the first try, it’s about having the courage to keep showing up, learning, and growing.
Turn Comparison into Compassion
The media and social media can make it feel like we are all striving to be like someone else who we perceive as more beautiful, smarter, more successful, or more confident. Comparing yourself to someone on social media is like comparing apples and oranges. You’re looking at one person’s highly curated (and probably filtered) pic they chose from 37 they snapped and comparing it to all the moments—big and small—of your life, probably while in your pajamas.
It’s human nature to compare, but you can work to counter that instinct. One of the most effective ways is through self-compassion—acknowledging that this world we live in sets us up to feel like we don’t measure up, that it can be really hard to feel that way, and that just by taking the time to realize that, you are being authentic and kind to yourself.
Need Help Now?
If you or a friend are struggling and need to talk to someone, you are not alone. There are many free, confidential resources available 24/7.