Confidence is a tricky, tricky little thing. Feeling good about yourself is so easy to put at the will of others when it should only be up to you. The good news is that you're driving this self-assurance train and it's ready to depart from the station.
- Look the part. Or, as the saying goes, "fake it 'til you make it." If you know that you look like a confident, capable person, eventually you'll start to feel it, too. You should dress how you feel best -- not what you think confident is. Try these tricks:
- Devote a little time each day to personal hygiene and making sure you're presenting yourself well. Shower daily, brush and floss your teeth, and groom your skin and hair.
- Dress for confidence. You don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe to feel better in your clothes. As long as you're clean, comfortable, and feel good, you're set up for confidence! Remember, you look more confident when you are enjoying what you wear!
- After all, you wouldn't wear a three-piece suit on a pizza delivery. If you think you look good, odds are you probably do.
- Perfect your posture. How you carry yourself communicates a lot to other people, so make sure you're telling them that you're confident and in-charge. Keep your shoulders back, your spine straight, and your chin high. Walk with purpose instead of dragging your feet, and sit up straight. When you look like a confident person on the outside, you'll be approached as one by the world around you.
- You won't only fool everyone else -- you'll fool yourself too. Recent research shows that the positioning of your body cues your mind to feel a certain way -- so positioning yourself confidently will make you genuinely feel in charge. And to top it off, having confident body language has been linked to lower levels of stress, too.
- Smile. Keep your grin in easy reach -- you'd be surprised how even the smallest of smiles can disarm many a social situation and make everyone feel more comfortable. In fact, research shows that smiling reduces stress hormones in the brain. Can you imagine approaching someone who's scowling? No, thank you.
- If you're worried your smile is fake, keep it small. A fake smile can be spotted from a mile away. On the other hand, if you're genuinely happy to see them -- or just happy for the chance to practice your new confidence skills -- flash those pearly white teeth.
- Make eye contact. It's a subtle change, but it can work wonders on how other people perceive you. Don't be afraid to meet the gaze of someone else; it shows not only that you are a person worthy of communicating with, but it tells them you respect them, acknowledge their presence, and are interested in the conversation. You don't want to be rude, do you?!
- Our eyes are uniquely human. They are windows to the soul, if you will, and showcase our attention and feelings. By making eye contact, you will improve the quality of your interactions in addition to appearing more confident. In fact, you'll come off as more likeable and trustworthy and those who converse with you will feel more appreciated. If you can't do it for you, do it for them!
- Have approachable body language. If you see a person huddled in the corner pretending to play games on their mobile phone, are you really going to come up and say hello? Probably not. If you want others to approach you, make sure you're approachable!
- Keep your body open. If you have your arms and legs crossed, you're telling the world that you're not interested in welcoming them in. Same goes for your face and hands -- if it's clear you're preoccupied with something else (be it a thought or your iPhone), people will take the hint.
- Hold your gaze. Now that you've got the eye contact thing down, it's time to put it into practice. Did you know that other people are just as shy about eye contact as you are? Try this out: make eye contact with someone and see who lasts longer. Do they avert their gaze before you? See?! They're uncomfortable too!
- wikiHow isn't advocating staring someone down, you know. Staring intensely at someone until they feel your gaze and shrink accordingly due to palpable awkwardness is not the goal. The goal is, however, to recognize that other people are just as nervous about you looking at them as you are about them looking at you. If you get caught, just smile. You're off the hook.
- Recognize your talents and good qualities and write them down. No matter how down you feel, try to pat yourself on the back a little and remember the things you excel at. Focusing on your better attributes will distract you from perceived flaws and boost your sense of worth. Think of your good qualities in looks, friendships, talents, and most of all, personality.
- Think back on compliments from other people. What have they told you about you that you otherwise haven't noticed or acknowledged? Maybe they've remarked on your smile, or your ability to stay cool and collected in stressful situations.
- Remember past accomplishments. It can be something other people recognized, like being at the top of your class, or something only you know about, like a quiet act of service to make life easier for someone else. Realize how great this was. You go!
- Think about the qualities you try to cultivate. No one's perfect, but if you're actively trying to be an honorable, good person, give yourself some credit for effort. The fact that you think about bettering yourself at all says that you're humble and good-hearted, and those are positive attributes.
- Now write down everything you can think of and refer back to it next time you're feeling down. Add to it as you remember more things you can take pride in doing.
- Think of the obstacles that stand in the way of your confidence. Take a piece of paper and write all the things that you think are keeping you from becoming confident, e.g., bad grades, introversion, not many friends, etc. Now ask yourself this: Is that valid or logical? Or are these just assumptions on my part? FYI, the answers are "no" and "yes," respectively. How in the world does it make sense that one thing determines your self-worth? It doesn't!
- Here's an example: You didn't get good grades on your last math test, so as a result you're not confident when it comes to your next test. But ask yourself this: If you studied really hard, worked with the teacher, and prepared for the test, would you do better?! YES. That was just one event and has nothing to do with you. You have absolutely ZERO reasons not to be confident.
- Remember that everyone struggles with confidence. Some people are good at hiding it, but nearly every person has struggled with his or her self-confidence at one point. You're not alone! And if you can think of someone who's confident, odds are there's a situation they're not confident in. Confidence is rarely universal.
- Here's a true fact for you: Most people are too preoccupied with how they appear to be constantly judging you. Ever notice how people love talking and looking in things that are even just barely reflective? 99% of people are inwardly focused. Breathe a sigh of relief and recognize that you don't have to be perfect all the time.
- Stop comparing yourself with everyone else. Not everything is a competition, and viewing life that way will wear you out. You don't have to be the smartest, prettiest, most popular person in order to be happy. If you have a strong competitive streak that you can't completely ignore, try competing with yourself instead and strive to keep getting better.
- See confidence as a process, not a singular achievement. Having confidence isn't a finish line you cross once, and the process won't always move forward — there will be days when you feel like you're starting from square one. Take a deep breath, remember the self-confidence hurdles you've already cleared, and resolve to keep going. In the toughest of times, it is good to make it your duty to pat yourself on the back even if you didn't do anything.
- Odds are you won't really realize you're confident until you already are. Was there a day you realized you were smart, funny, resourceful, or punctual? Probably not. So if you don't see immediate changes, know that it's just because you're too close to the painting. Can't see the forest through the trees, type of thing. You get it.
- Remember you were born with it. No, it's not Maybelline. When you popped out of your mother's womb, you didn't really care who heard you crying or how soft your head was. You just were. It was society that pointed a finger at you and made you feel as if you had to measure up. It was learned. You know what they say about learned things? They can be unlearned.
- Tap into that confidence that you were born with. It's there, it's just buried under years of exposure to praise, threats, and perceived judgments. Take everyone else out of the picture. They don't matter. They have nothing to do with you. "You" is good. "You" exists apart from any other judgment.
- Get out of your head. A lack of confidence has nothing to do with the external world, so you have to get out of your head. If you catch yourself having an inner dialogue, just stop. The world is swirling around you -- swirl with it. The only moment that exists is now. Don't you want to be a part of it?
- So much of the world exists outside your head (if we're going with the assumption that reality is as it seems). Constantly thinking about what you feel or look like takes you out of the moment. Practice not thinking about the past or the future. Concentrate on what's in front of you -- there's probably something exciting about it.
- Embrace your interests. If there's a sport or hobby you've always wanted to be good at, now's the time! Improving your skills will reinforce that you are talented, and subsequently boost your confidence. Learn a musical instrument or a foreign language, take up an art form like painting, start building projects—whatever it is that catches your interest.
- Don't get discouraged if you're not immediately awesome. Remember that learning is a process, and you're in it for the small victories and the relaxing recreation time, not to be the best ever.
- Take up a hobby you can do with a group. Finding like-minded people who share your interests can be an easy way to make friends and build confidence. Look around your community for groups you can join, or find kinship with fellow hobbyists.
- Talk to strangers. Straight up, confidence is more than just a state of mind -- it's habit. That's all humans really are. So in order to be confident, you've gotta do confident things. One of those is making conversation with strangers. It's intimidating at first, but with each time you'll be more and more unfazed.
- No, that won't creep strangers out unless you're a smelly, aggressive Quasimodo-looking KKK member. If someone says, "Hey!", smiles at you, and asks you whether they should go to Starbucks or Coffee Bean, how are you going to feel? Probably good. Everybody likes to be the hero, talk to other people, and be spontaneous. You're just brightening up their otherwise dull day.
- You don't have opportunities, huh? How about the barista at your coffee shop? The girl at the check-out counter of your grocery store? Random strangers you pass on the street?
- Don't over-apologize. Being able to say you're sorry is a good trait (and something too many people struggle with). However, be careful to say it only when necessary. Apologizing when you've slighted or inconvenienced someone is polite; apologizing when you haven't done anything wrong, though, can make you feel subordinate and like you should be sorry. Before it slips out of your mouth, take a second to make sure this is a situation that actually needs an apology from you.
- Use workarounds. You can express your sympathy or regret without actually apologizing. For instance, if you're worried about inconveniencing someone, you could say "I hope this hasn't been too much trouble" instead of automatically reverting to "I'm sorry."
- Apologizing needlessly makes you seem unsure of yourself. That doesn't make sense because you are inferior to no one. Why apologize if you didn't do anything wrong? After all, do you really mean it? And if you apologize all the time, it loses value. Being sorry for everything means you're sorry for nothing. Think of "I'm sorry" like "I love you." It should only be said with care.
- Accept compliments gracefully. Don't just roll your eyes and shrug it off — own it! You deserved it! Make eye contact, smile, and say "thank you." Being nice about it when someone else wants to compliment you doesn't compromise your humility; it shows that you're polite and have a secure sense of self-worth.
- Pay a compliment in return. If you're still uncomfortable taking compliments, try giving one back after you've accepted. This can help you feel like the score is "even" and you haven't been too prideful.
- Build your confidence by helping others. Take time to pay someone else a compliment, or do an unannounced good deed. You'll brighten their day, and you'll feel better about yourself. When you become a source for positivity, others will seek to be around you, bolstering the good vibes.
- Lots of people aren't good at receiving compliments. Odds are if you give someone one they'll respond with one in turn. Just make sure you mean it or they might respond skeptically -- "Hey, I really like that shirt you're wearing. Was it made in China?" might not get the best response.
- Drop those who bring you down. It's hard to be confident in a group of people that you feel are constantly judging you. You could naturally be the most extroverted, loud, self-assured person, but with these people, you turn into a puppy dog that hasn't been cared for well enough. Those people need to be dropped like a bad habit. And now.
- It's important that you surround yourself with others who you feel make you feel like you're the best version of you there could possibly be. It's only around these people that you'll be able to make the growth you want to (and can!) make.
- Slow down. A lot of people don't do crowds. Even more people don't do public speaking. If you find yourself in one of these arenas, it's important to slow down. When we're nervous, we tend to speed up just to get everything over with. Don't do that. It's clue one that you're nervous. And you're cuing yourself that you're nervous too!
- Point number one is breathe. When we take short, sharp breaths, we're cuing ourselves to fight or flight. Cut that out and you calm down a notch automatically. Humans aren't rocket science, luckily.
- Point number two is to consciously slow down your actions. Think of a six-year-old on a sugar high -- that's you right now. Match your actions to your breathing. Bingo. Serenity.
- Expect success. A lot of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we think we'll fail, we don't really try as hard. When we think we're not good enough, we often act not good enough. If you expect success, you may just draw it out. Pessimism can actually undermine your abilities.
- Right now you're probably saying, "I'm no accurate predictor of the future! Expecting success isn't logical -- weren't you just pushing logic a second ago?!" Well, yes, but think of it this way: you often expect failure, so why not expect success? They're both possible circumstances and in most, one is not more likely than the other. BOOM. Schooled.
- Take risks. Sometimes the only way out is through. In order to get good at life, you've gotta encounter experiences that force you to learn. You can't be awesome at it right off the bat. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll never get better at...anything. You gotta take chances to grow.
- Failure is inevitable. It always happens. And it doesn't matter. The only part that matters is that you get back up. Everyone experiences set backs, but not everyone gets back up. It's the getting back up that builds confidence, and you've got to fail in the first place to do so.
Help Building Confidence
Doc:Ways to Overcome Shyness,Ways to Build Confidence
- Retrain your inner voice. In situations where you believe you lack confidence, realize that your inner voice is telling you negative things. You need to retrain that inner voice to be positive at those times.
- Every day, make a list in your head of everything good about yourself. Say thank you silently in your head for each thing on your list.
- Make goals for yourself, not expectations.
- Speak positively. When you hear yourself saying something negative about yourself, instantly replace it with a positive comment.
- You are the only one who truly knows you. Love yourself and others may follow suit.
- Be thankful for what you have. A lot of the times, at the root of insecurity and lack of confidence is a feeling of not having enough of something, whether it's emotional validation, good luck, money, etc. By acknowledging and appreciating what you do have, you can combat the feeling of being incomplete and unsatisfied. Finding that inner peace will do wonders for your confidence.
- Stop being a perfectionist. Nothing and no one is perfect. High standards have their place, but your daily life is going to have pitfalls and flaws. Accept them as learning experiences and move on.
- Imagine yourself in various situations where you display confidence, wit, or leadership. By simply picturing yourself doing such things, being self-confident becomes less of a foreign concept and you begin to believe that you can.
- Remember to live every day like it's your last. Who knows when it might end? Who cares what other people think as long as you're thinking positive and feeling good?
- When you walk, focus on where you're going. Make sure you sit up straight.
- Every time you pass a mirror or a reflection of yourself, give yourself a compliment in your mind. Keep this up until you see the compliment as a fact about yourself.
- When you wake up in the morning, look into the mirror and tell yourself that you've made it this far in life and you're not going to let anything or anyone put you down.
- Sometimes people will say mean things because they are jealous of you! Remember to smile and enjoy life.
- Consider attending leadership classes. Learn to take control of things. If you are in school, then consider running for a social position, such as a president of a club. The ability to lead others and respond to others' behavior under your leadership will help to bring you self confidence.
- When you're feeling bad about yourself, imagine one of your friends feeling the way you are. Take a piece of paper and write down what you would say to the person to help them feel better. Put that piece of paper in a safe spot, then when you're feeling down you can grab it and read it to yourself.
- Don't be afraid to show people the real you, no matter who doesn't like you. Stay true to yourself.
- Make sure you feel good about yourself! That is one of the many things you can do.
- Eye contact is very important, as it shows your confidence.
- Don't be overly confident. Make sure you know your strengths and use those to your advantage, but not too often or you will look like a show off!
- Try not to slouch, it makes you look closed off and very insecure. It also represents vulnerability. It makes you look very uninviting and unhappy and you don't want that if you want to show people that you're confident.
- Forget about your fears.
- Think positive. Think about all of the good things about yourself and how lucky you are compared to others. Embrace your differences and learn to accept that you are different and that's what makes you unique..
- If you want to be confident, don't let anything bother you; drown out everything that gets under your skin and keep on walking.
- Don't be afraid of being judged. Sometimes it can really hold you back, so just do what makes you happy.
- Talk to people you don't get to know much. This can help you make contact with the outside world more.
- Don't think about what others think. Just be yourself and the rest will follow!
- Do not devote your life's mission to being confident. You must do things that make you happy. In happiness you will find confidence.
- Being cocky and being confident are two very different things. Being cocky is not good; being confident is. Know the line.
- Build Self Confidence
- Feel Confident
- Stop Feeling Self Conscious
- Discover More About Who You Are and Be Confident
- Go from Shy to Confident
- Walk with Confidence
- Recover when You Start a Test and Lose Confidence
Sources and Citations