A lack of confidence doesn’t have to be a lifelong condition. Thankfully, there are ways to boost your self esteem and some great role models to follow on your journey. Una Rice has some practical advice and some great role model ideas.
We often think about giving the young people in our lives the keys to the car, but wouldn’t it be great if we could give them the keys to confidence just as easily?
For some, confidence seems to be that elusive thing. We can see confidence in other people, so we recognise it. But sometimes it’s just a bit more difficult to kickstart and bring it out in ourselves.
While it’s heartwarming as a parent to cheer on younger kids – to climb that tree, race after that ball or join in like a pro – at a certain age, all the cajoling and encouragement won’t work.
When there’s a young person suffering with lowered confidence, it can become difficult to try and convince them how brilliant and beautiful and able they are.
Mark Twain once said: “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. ”
And today that saying still holds true, for men, women and young people.
Seeking approval, from oneself first, is challenging these days as we live in a world where our senses are bombarded with ideas of success, brilliance and beauty.
It’s no wonder young people, who are the purveyors of social media, can suffer with crippling low confidence due to the subliminal messages about so called ‘perfection.’
In a world that’s very materialistic, seeking approval through having the latest, the most expensive or the best, can feel like a boost. It seems hollow, but these can be important to young people. It helps them feel validated. Low confidence issues manifest in all sorts of ways, from the young guy taking steroids to build up his frame, to a young girl opting out of joining a club because none of her peer group play anymore.
10 tips to kickstart confidence
- Be aware of how you hold yourself. If shoulders are stooped, lift them up and back. Raise your chin.
- Start saying ‘no’ when something displeases you, rather than going along with it.
- Look in the mirror. Observe everything, including what you see as flawed or imperfect, breathe deeply and say, ‘I love you regardless’.Look in the mirror. Observe everything, including what you see as flawed or imperfect, breathe deeply and say, ‘I love you regardless’.
- Sign up for at least a month’s trial of an activity you’ve shied away from; whether it’s swimming, football, or kick-boxing.
- Volunteer where you need to talk to people. Try charity shop work where you have to engage with members of the public.
- Do something useful within your community. Organize a tidy up or a free event for elderly residents.
- Watch TED talks online and see how people come across when they talk to groups on various topics.
- Now go a step further by joining a local group like Toastmasters to gain confidence talking with groups.
- Do something that makes you squirm when you think about it – interrupt a group of people to ask for directions or go a week without make up.
- Read confidence quotes every morning before you get out of bed. You are literally priming yourself for the day ahead.
In addition, studies have shown that girls in particular can be prone to a drop in confidence around the time of puberty, not to mention the monthly cycle of hormones that can literally create a rollercoaster in how they view themselves. That’s even before we consider sports, and how girls have been found to be more likely to drop away from sports than their male counterparts.
HOW TO CULTIVATE CONFIDENCE
CHANNEL YOUR CHAMPION
It’s a bit like ‘fake it until you make it’. When you’ve got a scary or intimidating situation, just think about the hero who does ‘messy hair/don’t care’ with ease, or who dances and performs with abandon.
Literally feel what the energy of that person is like and pay attention to how your body responds. How would that person move into a room, approach a group of people, or do something outside of their comfort zone?
If you’ve ever wondered how someone can speak their mind yet doesn’t take over, it’s because they are being authentic. An individual who is happy and able to include others and value everyone’s contributions is confident because they are authentic. They are literally tapping into something deep inside themselves that says: “The person who I am inside is good -like that person”.
TAKE ONE BIG, BOLD, BRAVE STEP
While taking up a new sport, approaching a group of people, speaking in public can all feel terrifying, especially when they are new and not attempted before, these are the steps that push you out of your comfort zone and can kickstart confidence. The ‘before’ feeling and ‘after’ feeling are very different.
PLEASE FAIL EVERY SO OFTEN
We’ve been conditioned to see failure as something that’s bad, but actually failure is good – it means you tried, and that means you grew.
It means you learned something. And how awful not to have at least tried.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Journalling can be a useful way to hold yourself to account when you’re working on your own confidence. You can privately set goals and then reflect on what worked and what didn’t. It really is your confidence buddy.