Self-confidence, or belief in yourself and your own abilities, is crucial to so many aspects of life. It plays a key role in your professional success, personal fulfillment, and even your physical health. However, society can be skeptical and mistrustful of self-confidence. You may receive messaging from others that directly or indirectly undermines your self-confidence. At the same time, there is an inherent tendency toward self-doubt in many people that can combine with external messaging to decrease your confidence level.

Fortunately, you can reverse the trend and build your self-confidence up to a healthy and functioning level. Here are some tips on how to do this.

1. Prioritize Self-Care

It’s important to emphasize that self-confidence isn’t superficial, but at the same time, when you like the way you look outside, it is easier to feel better about yourself inside. Therefore, you may start the process of improving self-confidence through bettering your appearance by learning how to apply makeup bronzers, getting a new haircut, having a manicure, etc.

However, self care isn’t only about improving the way you look. It is also about adopting healthy habits to increase your overall well-being. When you eat nutritious food and get regular exercise, you start to feel better as well as look better. Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy so that it is easier to stick with it. Study different cooking styles to find a type of healthy cuisine that you will be excited about preparing and eating.

2. Take Your Time

Developing self-confidence is a process that can take some time. As with many personal endeavors, you can become overwhelmed if you try to take on too much at once. Instead, make small changes and give yourself adequate time to adopt them. Little by little, work up to larger challenges. Congratulate yourself for the small victories you make along the way and stay focused on your long-term goals.

3. Be Kind To Yourself

Once in a while, you’re going to encounter some setbacks on your quest to improve yourself. This is normal and expected. When you were a baby learning to walk, you probably fell down quite a bit before you finally took those first steps. The trick is to forgive your failures and try not to beat yourself up when you make a mistake or experience a lapse. Acknowledge that you’ve fallen a little short of your goals and make a plan for how you can do better next time.

4. Focus on the Positive

Self-confidence has a lot to do with your attitude. If you constantly doubt yourself and keep repeating that you can’t do something, chances are that you’ll prove yourself right. On the other hand, if you keep telling yourself that you can do something, you often wind up convincing yourself. Therefore, try to keep your thoughts about yourself and your abilities positive as much as possible.

Inevitably, doubt will creep in once in a while. When this happens, acknowledge the doubt and be honest with yourself about what you are feeling. Try to analyze why you are feeling the way you do and find concrete arguments you can make to yourself to show that the feeling may not be warranted.

5. Surround Yourself With Supportive People

There are people who, intentionally or unconsciously, try to undermine your self-confidence. Sometimes they are jealous of you and your abilities and lash out to try to make themselves feel better. Other times, they are genuinely concerned about you and want to “take you down a peg” for your own good.

Whatever the reason behind it, these people’s attitudes can be critically damaging to your self-confidence. If possible, avoid these people altogether, or at least limit the interaction that you have with them as much as you can. Seek out people who are supportive and encouraging. Spend as much time as you can with the people who reinforce the positive messages you are giving to yourself.

Some people confuse self-confidence with arrogance, but they are really not the same thing at all. Arrogance is a belief that you are superior to those around you. Self-confidence acknowledges that all people have their own abilities and potential for success.