“Confidence is a muscle: the more you use it the stronger it gets”
Reaching for morsels of confidence when you have low self-esteem can seem beyond the bounds of possibility for so many. The daily battle with low self-confidence and poor self-esteem can thwart your achievements and get in the way of you living a fulfilled, meaningful life.
This battle is surprisingly common. According to Dove’s recent Global Beauty Report, only 20% of women surveyed said they were happy with who they were. Ready access to social media can exacerbate the issue of low self-esteem as we look through the ‘perfect’ window of others’ lives and make comparisons with our own.
If you believe you suffer from low self-esteem you may experience the following: A feeling of dislike towards yourself; An inability to make concrete decisions; A disposition of ‘people pleaser’; Negative inner chatter; Not deserving happiness; A lack of confidence.
The good news is that we’re not destined to live a life of crippling confidence issues. If you no longer want your confidence issues to get in the way of you attending certain social situations, and living out your true potential, read our top tips:
1. Use positive affirmations
Talking to yourself in positive repetitions might seem a little strange at first - especially if you’re doing it in the mirror, as widely recommended. However, the mind believes everything you tell it, and subsequently acts out on this attitude. The lesson? Be kinder to yourself out loud. With regular practice, over time you’ll start to believe the positive words you’re repeating about yourself. There is definitely something in the ‘fake-it-until-you-make-it’ notion: fake an air of confidence until it becomes a regular state of mind.
2. Counter negative feelings
Think of thoughts that can replace those which are negative as soon as they occur. It’s hard to undo negative thoughts without significant practice and a re-engineering of your thought process. As well as affirmations, counter the negative self-chatter. For example, if you are a worrier of what people think of you, or worried you’re not good enough, counter this by focusing on who or what you do have, and your achievements so far. Think of how ineffective this state of mind is and how little it helps.
3. Connect with people who love you
If you lack self-confidence, you may have issues saying no and therefore attract less-than-savoury people into your life. If you find certain people bring you down, try to spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions. If you don’t speak up or detach from negative people, there is a risk that you become overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed. Seek out relationships with people who are positive, appreciate and love you. One really good friend, family member, or confidant is better than a squad of people who couldn’t give two hoots about you.
4. Step outside your comfort zone
Your confidence is massively affected by the experiences you are subjected to. Learning a new skill or doing something completely different that may be uncomfortable at first, but achieving your goals will help increase your self-esteem. We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times, so set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion that you would have otherwise avoided.