One of the greatest plights amongst young people in the modern era is chronically low self-confidence. As someone who struggled with this hindrance for the better part of their twenties, I know just how crippling and defeating it can be in the context of everyday life.
We are the most publicized generation in the history of humanity, constantly being inundated with the best 15 minutes of all our friends’ lives and being held to the unobtainable media depictions of the ideal person.
We’re led to believe that if we’re not getting married, starting a new job, carving out that perfect body, or exploring some exotic corner of the globe that we’re less than– that we’re underachieving.
It’s the real modern tragedy, but it doesn’t need to be our reality. From my own experience and the experience of those closest to me, here are five sure-fire ways to bolster your confidence and change your perception of the person in the mirror.
1. Get Rid of Toxic People
This was a big one for me. Sometimes the people we think to be our friends are merely Lionfish–appealing on the outside, but poisonous on the inside. Friends should build you up and make you see the best version of you, not erode your livelihood and self-esteem.
Here are some red-flag qualities to look for in the people you spend the most time with:
- They constantly talk about themselves. It’s always the “them” show– they are obsessed with their own achievements, never asking about you or the troubles and wins that you’re going through in your own life.
- They focus on your flaws. I’ve had a lot of these friends– they can’t miss an opportunity to point out a shortcoming of yours and deal out some unsolicited advice. But guess what? Nobody is perfect and this is often just a smoke-screen to distract them from their own shortcomings.
- They make fun of you. It’s okay to have that friend who’s the “ball-buster” and likes to rustle your feathers– but when that becomes the only form of interaction they have with you, it’s easy for those jovial jabs to start negatively contributing to your self-esteem.
Severing ties with friends is never easy, and some people may even try to shame you about it– but if they’re not making a positive impact on your life and building you up, then they’re not worth keeping around.
You are the six people whom you spend the most time around, so who do you want to be?
2. Take on Challenges and Push Yourself
One of the best ways to naturally bolster your self-confidence is to take on a hobby or challenge outside of work that you’re passionate about. Working towards a metaphorical mountain peak and succeeding in the summiting can leave you with a fundamental, experience-based confidence that fuels the rest of your life’s interactions.
For me, exercise and cooking are the hobbies that I can constantly work at and succeed at by achieving various milestones. Whether it’s learning how to make a new type of pasta from scratch, lifting more weight above my head than I ever thought possible, or beating my best mile time, it all adds to the reservoir of confidence that I keep in the back of my head. By continuously adding to that, I can feel empowered in the way I carry myself and the way I interact with those around me.
What hobbies or challenges could you take on? Do you already have one that you could contribute more to? Let us know in the comments!
3. Publish on Social Media
I know that I pretty much demonized all things social media in the introduction to this post, but there are healthy ways to use it to your advantage. Consider fire–it’s hot and it can burn you, but you can use it responsibly to stay warm, cook sustenance, and light up your life.
Try posting about your passions and your wins. Show the world that delicious cake you made from scratch, or that weight you just lifted, or the route you just ran.
And post about yourself–about the things going on in your life. If all you do is browse your newsfeed and binge on the successes of others, then you’re going to feel like you’re being left out in the cold and that nothing awesome is going on in your day-to-day… which I guarantee is not true.
It took me a long time to actually start posting about myself. I flooded Instagram with beautiful travel photos, but they were always focused on someone or something else … leading me to feel like a “guest star” in my own life.
But when I started posting about me and about my passions, I started to feel more confident in everything I could do. The fact that other people thought that “I” was cool and not just the things surrounding me was incredibly empowering.
So show the world what a bad-ass you are. No, it’s not healthy to live and die by the perception of friends or followers, but by all means, use the fire to your advantage–light up your life.
4. Talk About Yourself
Being humble is an incredible virtue, and it’s a trait shared by some of the most successful people around the world. But it’s important that you don’t let a humble mindset bleed into shyness. Confident people let the world know what they’re good at and where they’ve succeeded–not in a braggadocious way, but in a way that radiates a sense of quiet strength and experience.
Don’t go so far as to be one of the self-indulgent people from the first point of this post, but also don’t be afraid to assert your authority when the topic comes up. If the group you’re with starts talking about running, and you run a sub-twenty 5k, don’t be afraid to state it proudly. Otherwise, the person wheezing out the 30 minute 5k is going to take the credit and you’ll be left in the dust.
Outward manifestation of your achievements is just as important as its internal counterpart as far as confidence is concerned. It gives you social proof and effectively bolsters the way you see yourself in that area of life.
Be proud of the stuff you done, and be confident in that it’s f***in’ awesome!
5. Start Writing
Keeping a diary or journal is not only good for your mental health, but it’s also a great way to internally bolster and “prove” your confidence. Not only will you realize that your slip-ups, embarrassments, and insecurities aren’t nearly as impactful as you thought them to be, but you’ll also end up with a written collection of all your bad-ass moments.
Ending or starting the day with writing is a great way to wipe the slate clean, forgive yourself for any slip-ups, and reflect upon your strengths. Over time, the concept of confidence will be so deeply ingrained in your psyche that you won’t be able to help but command a room when you walk in.
Want to take it a step further? Start a blog and share your wealth of knowledge with the world. Painting yourself as an authority figure in an area you’re passionate about will not only reframe the way others see you, but the way you see yourself as well.
So there you have it–five ways to start seeing yourself as bad-ass and a champion of life. So get out there and show the world the lion or lioness that you are. Do you have other techniques for building yourself up? Let us know in the comment section!