Tips to Develop Your Self-Confidence

Confidence can be like the tide: it ebbs and flows. Some days you will wake up and feel on top of the world and capable of flying to the moon, and others less so. Whether your confidence can be dashed by a careless comment from a partner, a look from a stranger, or murmurings from your over critical inner voice, confidence is a tricky skill to master. Here are 4 tips to help you be the woman you want to be – confident, assertive and self-assured.

1. Assess Your Friends

In this digital age it can be easy to collect friends on social media, but in real life, it can be harder to maintain a friendship group that benefits you. There are two categories of friends: radiators or drains. Radiators are the friends that keep you warm with positive feelings of support, protection and security. Drains are those who zap your energy and take those positive feelings away from you.

Your friends should make you feel good, not in a pretentious and shallow way, but in an honest and caring way. They can still disagree with you and call you out when you are being disagreeable, but not at the expense of making you feel bad about yourself. They are there to give advice or an asked for second opinion with the benefit of knowing you so well and the issues and challenges that you have faced in the past and your hopes and dreams for the future.

· They celebrate your successes

· They support you when you are down

· They provide a different perspective

So, it may seem harsh, but to boost your confidence, you need to reduce contact with the people that drain you, and that goes for family members too. It can be a minefield if you start unfriending people on social media, so just unfollow them, and pledge to set some boundaries for the next time you physically see them. You are not going to tolerate being belittled or made to feel foolish anymore. It will feel unnatural to you to begin with, but you will soon be empowered by being able to stand up for yourself and not accept this behavior anymore.

2. Trust Your Instincts

While you may need to quieten your critical inner voice, you need to give your instincts a megaphone. You will know the phrase ‘gut instinct’, and it is this that you need to learn to reignite. Your instincts are your best decision-making compass, and by learning to trust yourself to make decisions your confidence will grow.

How do you develop your intuition?

· Observe your body’s physical reactions to situations – Does your gut feel nauseated or tight around certain people? Or, does it feel relaxed and at ease?

· Observe your energy – Do people energize you or drain you?

· Recognize your Eureka moments – Just as Archimedes had a flash of inspiration in the bathtub, you too will have moments of clarity when issues become crystal clear, so note them down while they are fresh in your mind. Now you know what to look for, journal these observations and feelings so that you can see patterns developing of when your instincts were correct. As you see regular and positive observations emerging, your confidence will grow as a result.

3. Prepare

If you have been journaling your feelings, you may now be able to recognize circumstances that cause a momentary lapse in confidence. It’s an important step in the process of developing your self-confidence. There will be triggers in your life that knock you for six, and if you are able to identify them before the event, you can prepare yourself to overcome the doubts. Try and complete these tasks each day to boost your self-esteem.

· Be objective – you are not able to second guess how people feel about you, so rather than role playing narratives in your head about potential conversations, take a step back and think objectively about the situation.

· Look at your success – when your self esteem is on the floor, take a look back at the successes and experiences you have had. Dig out your college certificates, your US army coins, and vacation holidays and relive those achievements.

· Give 5 positives – stand in front of the mirror and say out loud 5 positives about you. It may be that you struggle to begin with, but you will be able to! Whether you are a good friend, have cute dimples, or can bake the best cakes, you will be surprised how recognizing your positives can make you feel great.

4. Review Your Wardrobe

Confidence comes from within, but your outward appearance, the image you project to the world can have a huge impact on your self-confidence. If you have recently had a baby, lost weight, gained weight or not had a closet clear out for a while, the clothes that you wear will not be helping you feel your best. It seems rather shallow to consider your confidence in terms of how you look, but by reviewing your personal style you will feel better – fake it until you make it.

Have a friend come over and help you go through all the clothes that you have. Make two piles: one for clothes that make you feel great, and a pile for the ones that don’t. The ones that don’t elevate your confidence can be given to charity or sold. The clothes that you choose to keep should complement your body shape and be of colors that enhance your complexion, rather than high fashion garments that will quickly become dated. Wearing clothes that fit you properly and flatter your body make you feel more confident.

Lacking in self-confidence can impact on all aspects of your life: your relationships, your work and your health and well-being. The good news is that there are things that you can do to develop your own sense of confidence and self-worth. The key points are to listen to yourself, learn to trust that you will make the right decision, and celebrate your achievements big and small.

Thanks to Ana Apostolska

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