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Many personal development websites will often hit the topic of self-confidence over and over. The point of this article is meant to explain self-confidence on a level that anyone can benefit from and implement into their daily lives. Many realize that fitness leads to higher levels of self-confidence but this article will discuss how to achieve levels of self confidence in general, not just from fitness.
The millions of individuals that have undertaken a healthy fitness program already know the feeling of self-confidence after just weeks of training. More often than not this comes from an increase in energy levels and positive feedback from images in the mirror. This article will aim to convey to the reader how self-confidence can apply to everyday life. I find self-confidence to be one of the most important aspects of our happiness and would even go as far as to say it should be your number one reason to pursue it.
Self-confidence is the product of a result, not an initial trait. It must be developed over time from multiple results of daily interactions, self-reflections, and personality shifts. In my opinion, it is both one of the hardest things to develop as well as being the most rewarding. Take the time to read through this helpful information on self-confidence building and you will be well on your way to a better lifestyle.
Confidence and Un-Confidence
The benefits to being confident I will be describing here are only a few among the many of possible positive outcomes. I will attempt to highlight what I would consider to be the most important of the bunch. Try to apply these benefits theoretically to your life and envision how different your life could be.
The first benefit that would come as a no-brainer is a higher level of involvement in life. When self-confidence becomes a dominant trait you will find yourself becoming more involved in activities you never thought you would try. An example could be the dangerous, but thrilling activity of hang gliding. Maybe you have always wanted to try it but never quite got the courage to attempt. Obtaining confidence opens new doors to paths that branch out in endless possibilities. You are capable of great things and a little confidence will go a long way in directing you outside of your “comfort zone”.
The comfort zone has long been an enemy of self-confidence. Not only will staying within this comfort zone limit your successes, but also your quality of life. Think about how you always plan to try new things, travel out of the country, or begin a fitness program.
Many of these activities are goals because they are planned outside of your comfort zone. You created these specifically because you subconsciously knew they are difficult to achieve and outside of your zone. As humans we are strong at both self guidance and self destruction. It is ironic how we can create these challenging goals with high ambitions, yet throw them off into that infamous “to do list”. This is like writing a novel and never allowing it to become published. How many people would you actually entertain or help without the confidence to publish it? It would become just as useless as that large to do list pinned up in your study.
As humans we are very social creatures and tend to thrive in interaction, sharing ideas, and constructive feedback. An unconfident individual will not take criticism very well even if it is meant to be positive feedback. They often are incredibly self conscious about the way they eat, talk, exercise, etc. These people are missing out on self-improvement and overall development. We cannot better ourselves without reflection from our peers and teachers. It is not always a pleasant thing to hear what your greatest weaknesses are, but just realize that for every weakness you possess, there is an opposite strength.
In the end, un-confident people will constantly worry what they are doing wrong and focus on the negative aspect of feedback rather than what they can do to improve. This will lead to a vicious cycle of even more negative feedback from the constant worrying or negative thoughts because of a misread comment or constructive feedback.
This leads to my next point which his that self-confident people do not sweat the small things. If there happens to be a negative comment passed their way they can simply shrug it off. They have enough self-esteem to know that this is a false accusation and even if it is partially a true statement, it can be improved.
It seems that self-confident individuals are harder working in terms of personal development. They strive to better themselves in the face of adversity and challenge. In fact, these people will thrive off challenge and do even better than if nobody had opposed them in the first place. Without self confidence you will become easily discouraged to attempt self improvement and is often because of self-sabotage.
This is a word that can describe many people who often attempt to achieve, but often find themselves becoming their own worst enemy. They will subconsciously find any and every reason why they cannot achieve without counterbalancing with the reasons they can. In this case it isn’t that they are doing something wrong necessarily, but rather the fact that they aren’t doing enough things right.
People familiar with self-sabotage often will develop low self-esteem and tend to eventually not attempt any new goals rather than try and be shut down. I their mind it is more important to just avoid all development or challenge than find out that they “aren’t good enough”.
Individuals that fall into this category must realize that they are their own worst enemy first and foremost. This is the first step to removing the negativity associated in preventing any level of self-confidence. Some readers out there may be wondering if you fall into this group of self destructors and wondering if you have missed out on important opportunities as a result. So how do you know if you are partaking in self-sabotaging activities?
While I cannot fully answer this question I will say that if you have to ask the question than odds are you already do engage in self-sabotage. I also believe there to be varying degrees and not a clear cut division of those involved in self- sabotage vs. those who aren’t. So keep in mind that you are not a lost cause just because you have doubts about your capabilities once in a while.
It is natural to feel nervous, scared, or unsure if this challenge will go in the right direction. In fact, I think it is healthy and a way your body challenges itself subconsciously. If we already “knew” we could do anything we set our mind to than there would be no reason to create a goal in the first place. This small level of self doubt can be very beneficial in personal development and self-confidence.
The problem lies within a person who takes this level of self doubt and amplifies it hundreds of times over. You can think of self-confidence as a balancing act between the unsure and the sure. The self-doubt in this case will heavily outweigh the self-confidence.
Improving Your Self- Confidence
To go about improving your self-confidence will not be done overnight. Realizing this and not expecting instant gratification will help prevent much of the self destructive behaviors discussed earlier. I have broken down this drawn out process into three easy steps that can help guide your way to becoming a more self-confident person.
1. Self Reflection
This is the first and most important step to implement on your way to becoming more self-confident. A good way to find out how you feel about yourself is to take a blank sheet of paper and write down all the positive and negative qualities you perceive are part of you. Realize that you are doing this for yourself and nobody else. You are the only one who will be viewing this paper and are the only one writing anything down. Everything that you think of yourself will come out on that paper—either consciously or subconsciously.
This can be a wide variety of skills, talents, and category areas surrounding who you are. Here are a few good places to start:
• Listening skills: Do you actively listen to people when they talk to you or just sort of block them out?
• Vocal skills: Do you find yourself very talkative or to yourself?
• Social skills: How often do you socialize with friends and family?
• Personality traits: Are you a likeable person? Why or why not?
• Coping skills: Do you recover from criticism quickly or drawn out?
• Self Image: Do you view yourself as good or bad looking? Too tall, too short, too anything can fit into this category based on your looks.
• Organizational skills: Do you feel well organized or carry a planner?
• Leadership skills: Find yourself in any commanding roles at work, school, etc.?
• Punctual skills: Do you feel you are usually on time or wait until the last minute and end up late?
Note that this is only a small list of what you could self-reflect on. I simply feel these are more often than not, topics we can all relate to and find lacking qualities in.
While it may seem contradictory to improve self-confidence with a list of negative views about yourself, it is important for you to look at what you think. It is staring at you right from the paper in front of your face. You wrote it, no one else.
Often times we tend to not be direct and honest with ourselves by simply thinking of a problem rather than having cold hard evidence right in front of you. Physically writing down what is in your mind will allow for the real you to come out. You telling your brain to write at the same time your thinking will allow those deep underlying thoughts to come out. You won’t even feel as if you have to struggle to think these thoughts. It will simply flow out naturally.
Again, I would not recommend trying to do this in your head for the sake of not writing this down. There is something quite different about writing what you feel on a piece of paper. If the idea of somebody viewing it and want to preserve your most personal thoughts, just shred the paper up as soon as you’re done. You won’t need it after you have gone through the steps. The point of this exercise is to self-reflect and gain knowledge of your views on yourself.
Now look at both the negative list and the positive list. How do they compare? If you heavily weigh on the negative side than this is a good first step and should proceed to the next two steps. If there aren’t as many negatives as you expected that is great too. Just know that there is always room for self-improvement and you should consider following the next couple of steps for personal growth.
For each negative, reflect on why it is that you feel this way. Is it something that a friend or family member said? How about a comment from your significant other? It could have even been something that has grown from several sources and not simply from one comment anyone made. Whatever the reason find out why you put it on the paper.
This is what I like to call “self-realization”. Many times you won’t actually know why something bothers you so much. Using this step is a way to “trace back” your steps to the origin of the thought that sparked the idea. Find out why this is and move on to step #2.
2. Create a goal
This goal will help you improve one component of your self-confidence. Create any goal that is in relation to one negative view you have on the paper. I recommend only pursuing one goal at a time regardless of how many negatives you have written. Know that it is not uncommon to have several negative views on ourselves due to the immense pressure we place on ourselves for improvement.
Starting with one and only one goal will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. Having multiple goals in the beginning will undoubtedly end with you quitting altogether so take it slow at first with the one negative quality you want to change most.
For instance, if you found that you view yourself as “unfit” in the category of self-image you would base your goal to improve any aspect of this. It can be anyone of several goals all leading to the same place. In this case you could make it a goal to workout 3 days a week by running around the block, signing up for a gym membership, or starting a new diet.
All of these things will lead to the same goal so use your creativity to find the best path suited for you towards that goal. There is no wrong answer here and several methods create the same result.
3. Expand your goal
If you find that results are starting to show without much effort you can modify the goal or start another goal from your list of negatives. This is the catalyst to the branching out effect on goal setting. You will begin to feed off the great self-rewarding experience and feel levels of confidence you have never know. So why stop with just one easy goal? Make it harder and more challenging and the rewards will be greater.
In either case you will begin to feel better about yourself and see a positive change in your quality of life. This new habit you have been keeping up will also begin to become part of who you are and integrated into your subconscious. For instance, in the above example let’s say that person wanted to work out 3 times a week. After a few months that person may begin to notice that they don’t have to force themselves to go, but rather want to.
This is the most rewarding part of the whole process. Not only are you feeling better about yourself, but you have integrated the change permanently. It also just so happens that exercise will lead to better health as a side perks to this goal. In fact most goals will have some level of health associated with them whether it is a physical or a mental change.
I will now give a couple of tips to aid you on the pursuance of your goals. Try not to fill your life with the negative stimuli that caused the self-destructive view in the first place. Was it a comment made by a friend? If this is true what they said has upset your subconscious enough to bring you here so you have two options. Either get rid of the negative stimuli from your friend or avoid this friend altogether.
I trust that you know if this person is truly your friend and will reflect the magnitude of the comment. Many times people will find that when confronting the individual that hurt them that they had no idea it came off that way. People perceive words and phrase in various ways. Even the tone, pitch, and nonverbal cues play a part in the meaning. This is simply communication misread and if you feel this is what happened with your friend, significant other, etc. then you should aim to bring it up with them.
Don’t allow yourself to take the offense during the conversation. A simple, “Remember that time when…” will get you tons of information and sometimes all the answers you need without even divulging why you brought it up in the first place. This will be eliminating the negative stimulus as you now have relief in knowing why this person commented that way. More often than not it was simply a mis-communication between the two of you.
If you go the other way and realize your friend is not really a true friend, this works too. Although this way is a bit more on the negative side it is still better to lose a “friend” than be tormented forever by this negative stimulus. Besides, if you find your friend really is a jerk than you most likely won’t feel bad about giving them the boot in your friendship. You should also feel relief that it was only a jerk that made the comment and most people will not fall under this “jerk status”.
Another useful tip to keep you on track with your goals is to surround yourself with positive and a self-improving environment. Motivational articles here will always be available to you should you ever feel doubt about your goals.
Mental rehearsal is another really handy tip that is back by plenty of research. Many athletes will you this technique of imagining a situation in their mind while playing it out. It has shown to increase focus, skills, coordination, performance, etc.
In our previous example of the person whose goal is to work out 3 times a week, mental rehearsal could be done to improve their performance/attendance to the gym. They would imagine walking into the building and performing their workout, think of that great feeling they get from their workout, or the image of the body they desire and how appealing it is. They think of the order of exercises in their workout or types of machines they plan on using. Anything to get your mind in setting of your goals will do. You do not have to be an athlete to perform mental rehearsal.
In conclusion I hope that this article has helped you realize the true potential that can be unlocked by being honest with yourself. Try and put this 3 step process to the test and truly become honest with yourself. It may be a little shocking at first, but the rewards you can reap from it will be well worth your trouble. Next time you set a goal think of why you are picking it and how this will lead to better self-confidence.
How to Build your Self Confidence