September 08, 2016

How to Be More Self-Confident and Build Self-Esteem

Lack of self-confidence is an issue many teens and young adults struggle with. How be more self-confident and overcome your fears, however, is simple with a few key strategies you can learn.

For many people, it can feel like it's a tough world out there. But it doesn't have to be. Learn how to be more self-confident, build self-esteem, and take control of your life and the world around you with just a few simple strategies you'll learn here.

We've all been there. As a teenager, it can be a difficult and awkward time in your life. You're dealing with peer pressure, grades, competitive sports, social interaction, and, of course, changes to your body as you become an adult. Whether you’re a teenager or a young adult, confidence is something that a lot of people struggle with constantly and, for the majority, struggle with daily. So don't think you're alone feeling this way. It happens to a lot of us. In fact more so, than you might think.

Remember this; lack of self-confidence is not a condition anyone is born with nor is it a condition anyone cannot overcome.

Sometime during the course of your life, to the point of where you are now, a series of events you experienced have made you feel, well, less confident than what you’re actually capable of.

The positive news is, you can learn to be more confident. More confident about confronting the things that frighten, scare, or even terrify you.

If lack of self-confidence is growing on you, or it’s something that has been with you for too long already, then try some of the effective strategies provided below, designed to help improve confidence.

How to Be More Self-Confident

Strategies You Will Learn:

  1. Change how you think about yourself
  2. Act confidently even when you aren’t
  3. Don't get hung up on mistakes: We all make them
  4. Educate and prepare yourself for anything

Change How You Think About Yourself

Do you find yourself questioning "how do I be more be self-confident?" Then chances are your self-confidence is pretty low. You can, however, change that by changing the way you think about yourself. "Easier said than done", you say, and you'd be right.

Many people feel insecure about themselves and constantly putting themselves down. They worry about how other people will perceive them. That if they speak out, they'll be wrong, be embarrassed, made fun of, or they'll look like a ‘showoff’. Sound familiar?

Truth is, people can be too hard on themselves, especially teens and young adults.

They judge themselves too harshly and become their own worst critic. At times, you might think to yourself, 'I’m not valued, I’m not accepted', or 'I don’t have important things to say'. The reality is, you are valued as a person and you too have important things to say.

Best of You

When Foo Fighters Dave Grohl wrote the song "Best of You" there was a message in there. What is the message? It's about being true to yourself and resisting the forces that try to take advantage of you—or, get the better of you. To be a reminder that you, as a unique individual, are important. So it’s important that you be the best of you, you can be. And it starts with your view of yourself. Make sense?

In the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson;
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment".
Instead of beating yourself up with internal dialogue telling yourself everything that's wrong, why not start with telling yourself everything that's right?

Right now, tell yourself [three] things that are right about you today. What are they?

For example, it could be that; you're a good friend, you're an amazing sister or brother, you're a caring girlfriend or boyfriend, you have a genuine interest in others, or you want to become a better version of you.

Whatever it might be, even if you can't think of anything positive to say about yourself, think about how it would feel if you didn't lack self-confidence?

What things would you say if you were more confident and how would you say it?

Now, try to emulate that behavior.

Act Confidently, Even When You Aren't

You may not feel confident, but if you act confident, you're likely to feel more confident. This is sort of the chicken or the egg scenario. Was it first the chicken or was it the egg? It might sound confusing but, as strange as it sounds, it works. People, who are more confident, act confidently and become more confident because of their body's cues.

On a day or a moment you are not feeling confident, simply act like you are confident. Acting confident when not feeling confident is a strategy people all over the world use including celebrity musicians like Katy Perry. In Katy's own words of wisdom ...
“If you're presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything".

Embrace the Fear

How do you act confident even when you don’t feel it?

Start with your physiology. Straighten your spine, pull back your shoulders, smile, make eye contact, and speak assertively. Smiling too makes other people feel more comfortable around you and they will naturally find you more likable. Changing your physiology in the moment will instantly make you appear you are more confident. It may take a little while to get used to but keep at it. Soon enough, you won’t need to act as your self-confidence will grow and eventually will become a part of you.

Contrary to changing your physiology to appear more confident. When you talk rapidly, hunch, frown, and avert your eyes, it makes you look as if you are timid and are afraid of people. By behaving the way a confident person would, it will help you to feel more confident.

Bonus tip: Try dressing yourself up and styling your hair to help accentuate your positive image. People are naturally attracted to people who look nice. When you look nice, you feel good. And when you feel good, guess what? You feel confident!

Don't Get Hung Up on Mistakes

Don't get too hung up on making mistakes, it's a part of life and we all make them. Everyone makes mistakes, it's how we learn, grow, and become better. Even the most popular student and the most successful people in the world make mistakes. It's part of being human and how we learn and grow.

The difference between someone who is confident and someone who is not, is often defined by whether or not he or she will often bluster through their mistake or simply acknowledge the fact they made a mistake and move on.

If you are one to constantly dwell on mistakes you have made that everyone else has forgotten, it's time for you to let it go as well. Even if other people remind you that you made a mistake, instead of focusing on the fact you think you screwed up, focus on fixing the problem or, how you could do things better next time.

We All Make Mistakes

Many of the greatest people in the world have made mistakes. Big mistakes.

Beethoven made many mistakes before becoming one of the greatest classical music composers of all time. In fact, Beethoven was called ‘hopeless’ by his own music teacher.

Abraham Lincoln was defeated eight times in elections and failed in business twice. Walt Disney was fired from a job because his superiors thought he lacked imagination. Michael Jordan didn't even make his high school basketball team. The list goes on.

Could you imagine this world if these outstanding people had let mistakes get the better of them?

These people simply looked at failure as an obstacle to overcome and did not let it define them. So neither should you.

Remember, a mistake is just a mistake. Learn from it and use it to your advantage to help build your confidence.

Write Down What is Worrying You and Prepare for it

Sometimes it helps to put our anxieties on paper. Let's say, for example, you have a presentation to give to a group of people. If you are lacking in self-confidence, chances are, you're worried about how people are going to look at you, what they may think of you, how you might sound, or how you will feel if you screw up.

A strategy you can use to help overcome your worry and anxiety, and that will help to build your confidence, is to prepare in advance and put a plan together. If it’s to give a presentation, then plan your presentation out. Write out what you want to say. Make a bullet point list of your key points. Then write out how you want to look, how you want to feel, and how you want to sound.

Then, in front of a mirror (or your cat/dog) review your list of bullet points and rehearse your presentation. By preparing, you're likely to gain familiarity with your presentation and, as a result, gain confidence to deliver it to your audience.

Remember, practice makes better, so practice in front of an audience who won't criticize you, even if it's your dog or cat. No pet? Then, practice in front of a mirror, in front of stuffed animals, or to the outside window.

When you finish your presentation, go over your list of anxieties and see if any of them came to pass. Chances are they didn't.

Educate and Prepare Yourself for Anything

While we're on the subject of preparation, part of our lack of self-confidence is to do with our own beliefs and convictions.

For example, when we feel confident about the facts that we know to be true, not only does our self-confidence grow but also our self-esteem.

When we know we know the truth, we believe in it. When we believe in something, we have confidence about it.

Even if someone is telling us that we are wrong because they don't understand the facts or don't know what we know, we can be confident in our assertions.

No matter the situation or past events, there's no reason for you to be worried about how you will be perceived. The important thing to note is you will gain far more confidence in yourself knowing that you are prepared.

Bring in the Elders

Parents, seniors of the family, and caregivers should also play a supporting role in helping to build your confidence. In the article 'Ways To Build Your Teenager’s Self-Esteem' published on, they provide a good discussion on the importance of parents encouraging young people to cultivate their talents and interests.

If you're going to build up your confidence, it's important that those around you will be supportive towards your interests, pursuits, and achievements.

Be Mindful of Your Associations

Find ways to be around and associate yourself with like-minded people who value you for who you are and get involved in groups or activities that are meaningful to you.

See also: 5 Inspirational Be Yourself Quotes to Boost Your Confidence.

Stay Curious, Stay Hungry

As Oprah Winfrey once said;
"It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures”
So stay curious, practice at least one of the confidence-building strategies we've shared here every day. Change how you think about yourself, act confidently even when you aren’t, don't get hung up on mistakes, and educate and prepare yourself for anything. Keep at it and become the confident person you know you can be.