One of the most ominous challenges many people face is building confidence in ourselves. It can be a lifelong journey which starts in our early stages of child development. That’s when children develop the building blocks of ego strength. We can alter our level of confidence by how attentive we are to nurturing it. We can’t assign it to other people, and we need to exert continual effort to maintain it throughout our lives.
The terms self-confidence and self-esteem don’t mean the same thing. Confidence is a measure of faith in one’s own abilities; esteem is about our sense of self. It involves both thoughts and emotions and influences how we perceive others and interact with the world. When children have healthy self-esteem, they are more confident.
Lack of self-confidence can come from not knowing the “rules” of the confidence game. For example, if we think we need to feel confident to act confidently, we set ourselves up for failure. Many factors can also affect our level of confidence. For example, we may inherit between 25 to 50 percent of personality traits linked to confidence.
Our genes pool, race, gender, parenting, misinformation, social media, media, levels of anxiety and depression can all contribute and inhibit our ability to be confident. Studies have shown that many adolescent girls have lower self-esteem and more negative assessments of their physical characteristics and intellectual abilities than boys have. Age also affected levels of confidence and fluctuate the most in young adults 25 through age 60, where self-esteem is at its highest.
There’s no remedy that can cure us from dealing with the lack of confidence challenges we face. And as the data shows no one is immune. We all have inherent flaws in managing and sustaining a comfortable level of confidence. Here are five manageable tips you can try to improve your level of confidence.
- Challenge yourself.
People who continually find new activities to challenge themselves will exponentially feel more confident in their abilities. Committing to learn new skills (an unfamiliar language, art, exercise, dance, computer technology) will challenge your brain and breed more confidence. Experiencing those feelings of competency can become a bedrock in boosting and maximizing your overall confidence.
- Face Fears.
Facing fears regularly continually sends a message to your brain “I can do it”. Feelings of effectiveness build confidence. The more homeostatic you allow yourself to become within your life, the more likely you’ll become anxious about trying new things when they present themselves. This erodes confidence.
- Make Decisions.
Be active in making decisions in your life. Don’t delegate decisions to other people and become complacent in your life. Reinforcing feelings of autonomy will fuel and heighten your level of self-confidence. The more you allow yourself to live your own life, the more empowered you will feel.
- Put yourself first.
Self-care is a constant reminder that you are important. When you pause and reflect on your successes, you rely less on the outside world for reinforcement. Recognizing your self-worth builds confidence. When you put everyone else’s needs above your own, it doesn’t allow you to reflect on what you’re doing well. Don’t let others do for you what you can do for yourself.
- Don’t delegate.
It’s easy to delegate tasks to other family members or other people, but then we deprive ourselves of finding out what we’re truly capable of accomplishing on our own. Delegating tasks reduces the reminder messages to your brain you need to be a self-reliant human being.
The common thread that connects each of these tips is exercising self-reliance. You can’t isolate and work in one area. Take control and make choices that will benefit you the most. Every time you face a fear or make a positive decision on your behalf, you’re boosting and raising your confidence.
“5 Reasons People Have Low Self-Confidence,” by Barbara Markay, Ph.D.,
Psychology Today, December 7, 2018
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, www.apa.org, April 1, 2010.