If you look at most successful people, you’ll see that they all have one thing in common – self-confidence. Yes, some people are born with it but for most other people, it’s a learned skill.
Here are my top suggestions to increase your confidence:
1. Work on your body language.
We’ve all been at places where someone quite ordinary strides into a room, makes eye contact and starts impressing the socks off everybody. Or where you think somebody’s at least 6 feet tall because of their bearing and the way they carry themselves and then later you realize they’re quite average.
Like it or not – first impressions do count. So stand tall and practise good posture. Imagine that you’re being pulled by a string going all the way from your toes to the top of your head. And whenever you enter a room, don’t walk in almost apologetically. Stride in, make eye contact and be the first to introduce yourself.
2. Get involved in a physical activity – walking, swimming, etc.
Any physical exercise like walking, running, dancing, etc. will make you feel better about yourself. Firstly, exercising releases all those good hormones and then your body image will improve the fitter you get.
3. Wear clothes that fit you correctly.
In the past, I’ve made the mistake of trying to disguise my body flaws by wearing baggy clothes. Have you? The truth is that wearing ill-fitting clothes only serves to accentuate the very areas you’re trying to cover up. Those big, baggy T-shirts don’t do any favours for most women. In fact, they make you look even bigger.
Sometimes we squeeze ourselves into a pair of jeans (in the correct size) but they look terrible because of the cut. It is much better to buy a larger size and be comfortable. It’s the fit not the size that matters.
4. Be kind to yourself.
Think about the things you tell yourself when you make a mistake. Would you say those same things to your friends? Probably not. When we make mistakes, we are often very hard on ourselves. Yet we treat other people much, much better. Next time this happens, stop and start talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend.
5. Remind yourself often of your good qualities.
Do you know what your best qualities are? Are you kind and compassionate? Do you treat people fairly? Are you a friendly person? Do you like to help people?
Make a list of at least five good qualities and remind yourself of them daily, but especially when you’re having a bad day.
6. Don’t dwell on your past mistakes.
Recognise that the mistake does not define who you are. You can fail an exam without being a failure. Your relationship might have gone off in the ditch but that does not mean you are a failure.
Keep things in perspective. It just means that you failed the exam or that the relationship failed.
7. Surround yourself with supportive people.
The last thing you need when you feel down or less-than-fabulous is to be surrounded by naysayers and negative people telling you that “all men suck” or “it’s impossible to get that job you’re after”.
Choose carefully who you share your heart with and surround yourself with people who will encourage and motivate people. If you don’t have many of those in your life, then contact me and I will be your cheerleader!
8. Keep learning new skills
Aside from keeping your mind sharp (and preventing Alzheimer’s), be a life-long learner. I’m not necessarily talking about formal education.
What’s stopping you from learning a new language, taking a dance class, learning some new computer skills, taking up blogging, etc. Learning will improve your confidence by leaps and bounds.
9. Take the time to reach out to other people through community programmes, etc.
If ever you feel down, there’s no better upper than helping other people. Volunteer your services at a children’s orphanage or an old aged home.
My challenge to you is this – next time you eat out at a restaurant, instead of sending half your meal back to the kitchen, get a doggie bag and give it to the beggar on the nearest corner. His appreciation will melt the hardest of hearts.
10. Learn to stand up for yourself
Your soul dies a tiny little bit every time you keep quiet when you should speak up for yourself. Being a doormat is not attractive and will get you nowhere in the long run.
If haven’t had much practice before, start with small things. Insist on low-fat milk in your coffee. Return the milk that went sour before the due date. Write a letter of complain if you get bad customer service. And only when you’re feeling more confident, then tackle bigger issues like speaking to your boss about overloading you with work or your friends about relationship issues.
Learn to say no. It’s not a swear word – I promise.