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Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and not like what you see?
Do you doubt your abilities at work? Or the value you add to your relationships?
Unfortunately, many of us suffer from poor self-confidence. It’s all too easy to fixate on the negative aspects of ourselves. Even though there are so many reasons to love ourselves and be proud of who we are.
Looking for ways to improve your self-confidence? Here are some tips on how to feel better about yourself and begin your path to self-acceptance.
What is self-confidence?
The term "self-confidence" can mean different things to different people.
To most, however, self-confidence means a sense of belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. It’s also strongly tied to self-acceptance and self-awareness. The ability to see yourself as a complete human being, flaws and all, and still love who you are.
Self-confidence may be situationally dependent. For example, a talented athlete will feel at home on the football field but might suffer from overwhelming anxiety. We all have our areas of expertise, and we all nurture different strengths as we develop.
The important thing regarding self-confidence is to know and trust yourself. This is easier said than done, and it doesn’t happen overnight. For many people, building self-confidence is a daily practice that requires active participation.
Fortunately, there are several ways to provide yourself with some self-care and feel good about yourself when your self-confidence is running low.
Why are positive self-views so essential to well-being?
Knowing how to make yourself feel better when sad is about more than just maintaining a sunny disposition. Self-perception has a real impact on your emotional health, mental fitness, and physical health, and even your chances of achieving your goals.
There’s extensive literature exploring the links between low self-confidence, mental health disorders, and substance abuse issues.
Low self-confidence also impacts our drive and ability to take care of ourselves. Those who maintain a high level of self-confidence are much more likely to prioritize self-care practices. Personal hygiene, physical fitness, good nutrition, regular sleep, and social interaction are all practiced.
There is an undeniable pattern to this research, demonstrating that those with high self-confidence are more likely to experience positive relationships with colleagues, friends, partners, and family. They also experience greater success in work and academia.
Want to know how to feel better about yourself? Try our 13 tips
If you suffer from low self-confidence, don’t despair.
These 13 tips on how to feel good about yourself will provide insight and inspiration.
1. Surround yourself with people who bring you up
Unfortunately, battling with low self-confidence may make it more difficult to choose the right kind of peers. Those who struggle to cultivate self-respect may find it harder to distance themselves from people who do not respect them.
Even if the people in your life have the best intentions, they don’t always know how to follow through in ways that reflect that.
If you think this might apply to you, take some time to reflect on the people close to you.
Do they listen to you when you open up to them?
Do they judge you for things that are beyond your control?
Do they pressure you into doing things you’d rather not do?
Do they reciprocate the level of care and respect you show them?
It isn’t always easy to answer these questions honestly. But it’s vitally important. A healthy support network is one of the most beneficial resources you can have to combat loneliness, no matter who you are.
2. Practice gratitude
Psychological research indicates that expressing gratitude, inwardly or outwardly, leads to greater levels of satisfaction and happiness. Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to improve your self-confidence and overall well-being.
If you’re unsure how to actively practice gratitude, try to form a daily ritual.
At a time that suits you, take a moment to think about three things you are grateful for. These can be anything that you appreciate — the roof over your head, a picturesque sunrise, a good friend, or anything in between.
Strive to be present and genuine when you thank someone for an act of kindness, and remember to thank yourself when you practice self-care.
3. Forgive yourself
A common trend among those who battle with self-confidence is an inability to forgive themselves. Today, it’s easy to get wrapped up in perfectionism. The media pushes unrealistic standards upon us, and we end up comparing ourselves to unattainable levels of success.
We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Remember that your best effort will look different from day-to-day. Obsessing over past mistakes or failures will do nothing but hurt you.
4. Practice self-compassion
Some of the kindest and most empathetic people are the ones who struggle most to treat themselves with understanding. Nobody can be expected to perform optimally every day without fail. We all have internal struggles that weigh us down sometimes.
Self-compassion looks different depending on the situation. It might be as simple as treating yourself to a relaxing walk, leaving that pile of dishes for when you’re less tired, or fixing your favorite snack. It might also require a bit more commitment, like attending therapy, coaching, or counseling.
In essence, self-compassion is remembering that you’re human. Sometimes you need to rest instead of work, seek professional help when you’re struggling, or do something purely for the enjoyment of it.
5. Perform acts of kindness
Selfless acts of kindness, no matter how big or small, are clinically proven to raise self-confidence and happiness.
If you’re wondering how to feel better about yourself when feeling down, performing acts of altruism can make a massive difference. This occurs on a chemical and a cognitive level.
When you go out of your way to help someone in need, your brain releases neurochemicals called endorphins. These little molecules play a huge role in mood, motivation, and pain management.
From a cognitive standpoint, helping others gives you a logical way to feel good about yourself. If you add value to the lives of others, then you have a tangible reason to value yourself.
6. Use the power of positive self-talk
Many of us don’t realize how often throughout the day we put ourselves down. While this might not seem like such a big deal, negative self-talk can have a drastic effect on your self-confidence.
The more you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, the more likely you are to believe it. Luckily, the opposite is also true. Practicing affirmations regularly has demonstrated remarkable results.
It’s not about forcing yourself to believe something you don’t feel. It’s about gradually training your neural pathways to form positive expectations of your abilities. The more regularly you practice it and turn it into a habit, the likelier you are to feel and believe it.
7. Eat healthy
Diet has an indirect yet powerful influence on self-confidence. Your brain and body need a diverse range of nutrients to perform the complex processes that keep you healthy and energized.
8. Seek help from a coach or therapist
It is often more difficult to address personal problems than it is to see solutions for other people. For this and many other reasons, it is essential to reach out when you need help.
Different types of coaches and therapists have trained for years to become familiar with the human psyche and how to improve internal conditions. Some of the world’s most successful people see professionals on a regular basis. There’s no shame in doing so.
Advances in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have shown success in improving self-esteem levels. In turn, this leads to better experiences in social situations, increased assertiveness, and positive self-perception.
9. Set aside me-time
We all have a limited capacity for interaction. While being social and developing meaningful relationships is a crucial part of the human experience, balance is also necessary. We need time and space to be ourselves without navigating the expectations of others.
‘Me-time’ can be anything you want it to be. It’s time to do whatever makes you feel good. Spending time alone demonstrates self-care and gives you time to recharge your ‘social batteries’. It also helps you learn how to feel good by yourself without needing others.
Just like diet, exercise has a remarkable impact on self-perception and internal well-being.
On a neurological level, physical exercise stimulates the release of important chemical messengers. This includes dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine, serotonin, among others. These play key roles in the regulation of mood, motivation, focus, and energy.
Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your self-image. Completing challenging tasks for the sake of your well-being increases your sense of self-mastery. Building physical strength helps you feel more capable, which improves self-confidence in many areas of life.
11. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword, but it has real-life benefits.
In short, mindfulness is simply the practice of being aware and present. This applies to your own state of being, the moods and needs of others, and the activity around you. It also applies to how your environment affects you and vice versa.
Mindfulness helps bring attention to things that may be affecting your well-being on the periphery of your awareness. Cultivating a strong level of mindfulness helps you identify problems that bring you down.
12. Journal your thoughts and feelings
Keeping a journal is a simple way to organize your thoughts and emotions.
The human brain can only work consciously with a limited number of ideas at a time. If your mind feels like it’s ‘buzzing’ with too many things, getting your thoughts down on paper can help put them in perspective.
It can also help you find patterns and links between things that have been sitting uncomfortably in the back of your mind, waiting to be understood.
13. Visualize achieving your goals
The power of visualization is often underestimated.
It works in a similar way to verbal affirmations, slowly adjusting your viewpoint from a fear of failure to preparing for success.
Visualizing your desired outcome vividly also helps you draw a mental roadmap of how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Start from the end goal and work backward. Break your goals down into actionable steps and visualize yourself putting each piece into place.
Learn how to feel better about yourself for your well-being
At times, it can be hard to pick yourself up and be proud of who you are. But it’s important for you to commit to the process of building healthy self-esteem.
Like most things in life, self-confidence doesn’t come without practice. Be gentle with yourself, but remember that you have the power to change for the better. There are plenty of people out there to help you along the way.
BetterUp cares about your journey to self-confidence, and we’re here to help. Our qualified life coaches will help you set achievable goals and overcome obstacles. If you want to learn how to feel better about yourself, we can help.
Learn more about our personalized coaching programs and how they can benefit you. Contact a BetterUp coach today to request a demo.
Vice President of Alliance Solutions