I have a confession to make: I have confidence issues. Not the “every now and then”-type of confidence issues, either. I have the “questioning your decisions & self-worth often”-kind of confidence issues. But, I manage it to the point strangers wouldn’t know that I suffer from, at times, a crippling and self-sabotaging lack of confidence.
So, how do I do it? That is the question this post will set out to answer. I want to share 7 good methods with you that I regularly practice in different situations. I hope these positive tips are helpful if you also struggle a bit with low self-esteem. And if you don’t have issues with that, I hope they help build your self-confidence even higher.
Method #1: Words of Affirmation
This first approach is pretty well-circulated and -researched, but it’s borderline anecdotally accepted at this point that self-talk can impact your mind in more ways than most of us give it credit. There are outstanding benefits to positive self-talk and definite downsides to negative self-talk. These things are so assured that they’ve been captured in famous maxims overtime like, “Whatever you believe, you can achieve,” and “He who says he can, and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” (#Tips)
I have friends who guide their kids through words of affirmation each night before they rest their little heads because it’s socially recognized that we must watch what we tell ourselves. Whether it’s keeping notes posted around the house (like me) or stating positive mantras multiple times a day (also like me) – do whatever is necessary to be more aware of the words you feed your mind.
Words are a double-edged sword, and they can build you up to feel powerful, confident, and strong or slowly poison and tear you down. And when they eat away at you well enough, they can lead to unwanted results when you least expect it. The negative results of your prolonged bad self-talk can join you at a job interview or a first date and create a terrible first impression; they can make you unexpectedly mopey and distant while you’re out with friends and give you a terrible reputation as “that friend“; they can even hop in the sack during sexy-time with your significant other and cause you to perform terribly.
So, yeah — the first method — use loving words when talking to- or about yourself verbally or in your mind. It matters. You can be honest about when you mess up or disapprove of something you do or say without ripping yourself a new one.
Method #2: Seek Objective Confidence
When you have moments of questioning your self-worth, happiness, self-esteem, values, or pedigree (as I often do) – remind yourself of your positive past events.
Rest assured that if you sucked as much as you believed in your low moment(s), you likely wouldn’t have a job. Remember the many times you did things correctly, and weigh those against the few times you screwed up (this is a little tricky since humans actually tend to remember bad memories more easily than good ones). Remind yourself of where you started and how far you’ve come on your own merits.
Don’t downplay your achievements. Count each one as tiny monuments to how amazing you are!
If you’re such a terrible person, why aren’t you locked-up in jail or eternally single and forever alone? Why do babies and pets adore you? If you are, in fact, the worst person ever, how have you been able to get anywhere in a society primarily built on social capital? Ask yourself those questions that you can’t help but ultimately say, “I don’t know,” in response to. There is a simple reason you can’t answer those damn questions in the first place: It is because, objectively speaking, you’re trippin’ – and you should probably leave whatever pity party you’ve signed yourself into that’s bringing you down.
The second method: Stop conflating and confusing “how you feel” with facts. That is one of the best tips I can pass along to you. You are a beautiful soul. 🤗 I know you are because you’re reading this blog! And if you ever feel like no one values you – remember, “I do (along with your family, friends, coworkers, classmates, religious affiliations, volunteer groups, local restaurants, cute animals, etc.)!”
Method #3: Remember Family & Friends
Related to the previous method, but different enough to be worth mentioning — sometimes you have to remind yourself that someone out there loves you. You might feel like a stinky piece of poo, but somebody somewhere (at some point) truly cares for you; Imperfections and all.
This one is a little different than simply being objective because everybody’s actual situation is different when it comes to family & friends. Some people have… um… “Not so great” family situations. And others may not be good at making friends. Some people have both of these things working against them in their minds. And that’s where this one comes in as an exception to the previous method.
I encourage you to think about how others made you feel good about yourself and cling to that. Remember the happy moments you had and try to accept that even if you feel like a waste of space – you’re not. In fact, you might take up a lot of space in someone else’s heart if you think about how they’ve treated you.
At some point in your life, someone has seen enough value in you to show you kindness and consideration. And you may have viewed those people as family members or at least as a friend. That is valuable to your happiness.
All of that said, the third method is to remember your good relationships and the positive feelings they bring when you feel low. And don’t worry about limiting those memories to blood-relatives or longtime acquaintances for this one, either. By allowing happy memories with loved ones to wash over you in moments of negativity, you can relieve some of the insecurities you may be carrying and make yourself feel better.
Method #4: Take Time to Learn
An effective way to guard against feeling low and like you know nothing about a topic is to constantly be in a state of learning related to the subject. And preferably, learn in a way that you can somehow track.
Think about it. Can you really say that you don’t know ANYTHING about something that you’ve been studying for months and passing standardized online quizzes for? Can you say that you know NOTHING if you’ve read 5 books about it? How about if you have multiple certificates related to it?
This 4th method is all about being ok with accepting that you don’t know everything while appreciating that you know SOMETHING. And having things that you can count as evidence for yourself can come in handy during moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” (Hov)
Method #5: Avoid Negative Energy
It can be hard to differentiate between challenging yourself and putting yourself through hell for no reason, at times. I have learned to avoid some of that confusion altogether by honestly asking myself if what I’m doing will lead me to a happier place or if it will continuously stress me out and lead to an undermining of my self-confidence in the long-run.
To be clear, I’m not advocating that you avoid feeling uncomfortable for the sake of your happiness. I genuinely believe that a little discomfort is typically a sign of growth because you’re doing things outside of a realm you’re familiar with. What I am saying, though – is that you should avoid things that aren’t ultimately bringing you to a place of good vibes based on your priorities.
If you’re in an unenjoyable relationship that you constantly doubt your commitment to – end it. If a career path you’re currently on is making you question whether or not you’ll have a fulfilled future and lack confidence in your chances at happiness – pivot away into something new. If you are in friendships that lead to you questioning that connection or anything about it continuously – there are nearly 7.6 billion people on this planet… find new friends.
Keeping sources of negativity around leaves the door open to questioning things you were once incredibly certain of. And, yes – we all have questions in life, but this will lead to your second-guessing yourself more than you otherwise would. You may end up doubting your passions, your talents, your answers — all of it! Try the 5th method of acknowledging when things feel off – evaluating how those situations fit into your priorities, and removing anything that bothers you. Trust me, purging from time-to-time can do wonders for your self-esteem.
If you aren’t living your life because you’re glued to your phone screen 24/7 – it may be time to pull back a little. If looking at others doing well makes you feel insecure, maybe consider unfollowing those people. If others are mean to you online, disable comments and block people. If looking at your ex has you in your feelings, disconnect from them – not everyone else (by leaving the service).
The 6th method is to pay attention to your actions on- and reactions to Social Media. I feel like Social Media is fine so long as you aren’t obsessive and you can stay positive. All good things in moderation when it comes to Life Happiness.
Method #7: Consider the Context of Life
Lastly, I would remind everyone to remember that there is nothing new under the sun. Be confident in that and let it further fuel your self-esteem.
What that means is if you’re having a hard time dealing with a messed-up situation you were forced into — it’s ok. If you don’t know the full-answer to something — it’s ok. Even If you have virtually no idea how you’re going to complete a task and things seem bleak — it’s still ok. Why? Because of the sentence that opened this section.
Remember: Other people have faced your predicament and survived. Not only survived – but thrived (in some cases against all expectations)! Keeping in mind that many of them had nowhere near the resources that you have at your disposal.
I’m not saying that angrily at anyone, but I’m trying to reassure you that if they did it (or are currently doing it) – you can, too! I am positive! If they were able to face equally difficult situations without the aid of a computer and all of the wonders of information that unlocks for you, YOU GOT THIS!
This final/7th method is to breathe and remember that you’re not alone. This is one of those fortunate times in life where you should be happy that you’re not unique. Again, you can’t forget the all-important rule that nothing is new under the sun. It is the ultimate bit of context for our existence and personal happiness.
Test Those Methods to Boost Your Self-Esteem
If you’re wondering why I picked this old guy as my photo figure for this particular post, I don’t know what else to tell you other than I was drawn to how confidently he owned all of his photographs. He doesn’t appear to have low self-esteem at all, and I just felt like that made for a great consistent example in this post. I hope we can all live lives as full as his pictures portray.
I also hope to exude that kind of confidence one way & I hope you can do the same (especially after some of these tips). If you have any thoughts that you care to share regarding self-confidence/self-esteem or any of these methods I mentioned, as they relate to approaches for happiness, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.