This is a question everyone has asked themselves at one time or another. I know it’s something I’ve struggled with, and finally something clicked. It was the simple things that changed my mindset about myself and turned me into a more confident person.

I’m going to share three very important concepts with you that have worked for me, and I hope will work for you too.

We’re all our own worst critics, and it’s time you let go of that constant self-deprecating talk inside your head. Before I learned to do that, I was constantly worrying about what other people thought of me. If someone passed me on the street or at school without saying hello, I’d assume they hated me and think of twenty different ways to avoid them the next time we met.

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If you constantly have that negative self-talk going on, then you’re going to be constantly scrutinizing yourself and noticing all your flaws. It’s a downward spiral that leads to even more criticism. So how do you break this cycle?

When you find yourself over-thinking something, just say to yourself: “So what?” This simple phrase is one of the most important things I’ve ever learned. It’s so easy for your thoughts and fears to get out of hand when you’re in a state of anxiety about them. When we’re stressed it tends to be easier for our negative thoughts to get out of control. Once your mind starts judging you, just say “So what?” and start over. It’s so simple but it makes a big difference.

If you’ve ever had self-confidence problems in the past, chances are that at some point someone has told you to stop being so hard on yourself! This person probably meant well, but I think that you should try to be hard on yourself if it’s for the right reasons.

You have to learn what’s acceptable criticism and what isn’t. We all make mistakes, everyone does things they regret sometimes – it happens. So don’t beat yourself up over something silly like spilling coffee or forgetting your homework. That’s just silly.

But if you’re being really hard on yourself because of something you did that you should have known was wrong, then maybe it is time to try and work on your self-perception. If you catch yourself thinking about something bad about yourself or how much better everyone else would have done at something, stop. Then tell yourself that this should be positive criticism. For example, if you missed out on an opportunity, don’t think about how everyone else would have done better than you. Don’t say “If only I’d applied myself more in school,” because remember, so what?

Instead say: “I should have worked harder!” This will stop the negative thoughts in their tracks. Think about it like this: you went to school for x number of years, and now you’re qualified for y number of jobs. If you aren’t getting any interviews or opportunities that means there’s something missing. You need to work on whatever that is until you get the job!

This tells you that it takes practice, and that everyone makes mistakes sometimes so don’t beat yourself up about them. However, you must learn what’s acceptable criticism and what isn’t, which means correcting any mistakes in your behavior or actions rather than your character. You can help yourself become more confident by mentally accepting that it takes practice and learning from your mistakes.

Everyone has their own problems and insecurities they deal with on a daily basis – some of them will never change.

Now go out there, best version of yourself out there!