Increase Self-Confidence: How Do You Feel About You?
The feeling-state of self-confidence is elusive for many people. As a therapist, counselor, and life coach, I often talk to people about how they feel about themselves and they often ask me how to increase self-confidence. Believe it or not, even people that seem like they have it all — intelligence, attractiveness, success, and great relationships — may still also struggle with feeling self-confident. They doubt themselves, and always feel like they need to do more or be better in order to feel “worthy.”
It’s exhausting. It’s also unnecessary.
How to Increase Self-Confidence
Self-confidence means having a belief in your own competence to handle things, a belief in your ability to shape your reality, and a belief that you are worthy of love and respect.
What I have discovered over the years through my work as a therapist and life coach is that people step in and out of feeling confident. Sometimes we feel more confident than others. I often explore with my clients the times that they feel better about themselves and their lives to see what common elements there are.
This has been an interesting experiment, as I’ve gained insight into specific skills and practices that can help us all feel more consistently confident. Here is one of the core skills I’ve learned over the years about how to increase self-confidence and keep self-confidence with you more of the time.
Choose Self-Confidence Inspiring Thoughts, Intentionally:
When you are feeling the opposite of self-confident (insecure, anxious, incompetent, powerless), you likely have some core beliefs that are supporting those feelings. For example, you may believe on some deep level that you can’t handle a situation, you’re going to fail, or that you’re not good enough. These beliefs may be so old and automatic that you are not even aware that you are having them. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you decide to take your power back by choosing self-confidence inspiring thoughts.
Here are some of my favorites for how to increase self-confidence:
– “I am strong and resourceful, and competent to handle whatever life throws my way.”
– “My actions in the present moment create my future outcomes. Today I can make choices that lead me to success.”
– “I am a good person. I am worthy of love and respect.”
I know that this may feel goofy, like some seventies-style “positive affirmation” practice, but this is based on decades of research showing that practicing the thoughts that support your desired mood state is a really effective way of helping you achieve it.
As I teach in my Happiness Class, our brains are plastic. The thinking patterns we indulge literally create neural pathways in our brains.
If you are feeling fearful and insecure, there are likely neural pathways of automatic thoughts carrying you into that bad feeling place. Deciding on, and practicing, new thoughts feel hard at first, but the practice re-organizes your mind. It establishes new automatic beliefs in your competence, power, and worth that will lead you to better feeling moods.
Even more importantly, when you decide to take control of your inner narrative, you become more empowered.
Now I have an assignment for you: Write down a thought that, if you were to believe it, would make you feel stronger, more powerful, and more confident. You don’t have to “feel like it’s true.” Bonus points for making a public declaration in the comments section. I’ll be reading your answers!
I’ll be back in touch next week with step two of this process. Do your homework and meet me back here next Tuesday, and we’ll move forward together.
Read: How to Increase Your Self-Confidence Part 2, Here!
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.