Even though the development of our self-confidence and self-esteem are influenced by our childhood experience, it certainly does not end there. In fact, it would be a great disservice to ourselves to think that we have little or no control over such things.
A healthy level of confidence may seem like a mystery to someone who struggles with feelings of worthlessness, but anyone can make great strides in this area. Like any other life skill, there are simple, straightforward ways to recreate our perception of self-worth, and improve the way we assess our own value as a person.
Except in extreme cases, adopting new behaviors can effectively reprogram how we feel about our own abilities and personal worth. Our behavior is generally a reflection of our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of, but this process can also run in reverse. If we want to change those beliefs, we can adopt different behaviors that will send powerful new signals to our nervous system.
The relationship between actions and beliefs
If our actions are not supported by our current beliefs then those beliefs will begin to lose their credibility. This opens the way for new beliefs that are being validated by the signals coming from our new behaviors.
While it may sound somewhat complicated, it is actually very simple to do, and the benefits can be felt almost instantly. It really comes down to this; when you talk and behave like someone with confidence, you feel more confident. As you continue to feel more confident, your perception of “self” changes, and perception is where beliefs come from.
With that in mind, let’s consider seven behaviors that can help increase your sense of confidence and self-esteem. We should also note that motivation is closely linked confidence. So as your confidence grows, so will your ability to motivate yourself.
You may already be doing some of these steps, and that’s great. If so, then this will serve as a valuable reminder, but if not, I suggest you begin ASAP.
7 behaviors that build confidence
1. Project confidence and self-esteem. You know the old saying, “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” That is a good reason to look others directly in the eye and greet them with a smile on your face. Direct eye contact and a smile project a sense of self-confidence. In addition, your posture, bearing, gestures, and gate, tell others (and your own nervous system) that you are a confident person. Body language is a much more powerful way of communicating confidence than anything you have to say.
2. Use your words to reinforce your confident image. When you meet someone new, whether in person or over the phone, always give them your name. Leading with a personal introduction underscores the feeling that you respect yourself, and that they should pay attention to what you have to say.
3. Be willing to accept a compliment. Don’t minimize expressions of honor from others. Instead of trying to sidestep a compliment, be gracious and appreciative. Giving plays an important role in life, but so does the ability to allow yourself to receive. Being able to accept form others provides them with an opportunity to experience the joy of giving. It’s a sign of solid self-esteem to be able to show genuine appreciation for a gift or complement.
4. Avoid self-promotion. Bragging comes from a lack of self-confidence and a desire for external approval. Conversely, genuine modesty is a characteristic of someone who is secure with who they are. People who brag are calling attention to themselves because they don’t feel worthy of respect. It’s like wearing a sign that says “please notice me and tell me that I am special?”
5. Keep the conversation positive. Avoid turning your problems into everyone else’s problems. Do this by not making problems the centerpiece of your conversation. Talk positively about your life and the lives of those around you. Train yourself to be aware of, and to move away from, negative thinking. Take notice of how often you complain and work to eliminate that tendency. When you are tempted to criticize or complain, find a way to turn your thoughts in a positive direction before you speak.
6. Counter doubt with positive action. Everyone’s confidence gets rocked from time to time. Dwelling on difficulties and disappointments will only make matters worse. The best antidote for doubt is to increase your level of productive activity. When your self-confidence is under fire, don’t sit around over analyzing the situation, do something. When you are busy taking action, your mind will be focused on solutions instead of problems. Maybe you can’t solve the problem immediately, but you can start working on it immediately instead of just thinking about it.
7. See everything as an opportunity. When you choose to see setbacks as opportunities your whole perspective shifts toward the positive. In its self, the ability to create this shift instills confidence. I like the saying from the movie The Ultimate Gift, “I’ve lost everything 3 or 4 times, it’s the perfect place to start.“ Everyone fails to produce their intended result sometimes, that’s how we know that it’s time to adjust our course. It is not a reflection of our value as a person, so don’t take it personally or let it rattle your self-esteem. If you feel that tendency, go for a walk and practice steps 1 and 2. Going through the actions will help restore your internal feelings of confidence.
The fastest way to skyrocket your confidence is to experience a series of personal successes where each one builds on the one that came before. To accomplish this I like the 100 Day Challenge because it breaks everything down into easy to accomplish daily steps while keeping you highly motivated.