Better Mind

This small change will give you more self-confidence

This small change will give you more self-confidence

We all aspire to lead a healthy, joyful, and fulfilling life, and achieving this requires a genuine sense of self-worth. Building substantial self-confidence is essential for reaching this goal. While the common belief often revolves around enhancing self-esteem through increased effort, strength, and perseverance, psychologists are now challenging this perspective. While bolstering self-esteem can indeed contribute to heightened self-confidence, it also carries certain drawbacks.

Self-esteem is closely tied to external validation, wherein the fear of others’ opinions becomes a significant factor. This external reliance can lead to a loss of control and heightened vulnerability. Additionally, it fosters a negative self-perception. For instance, if you fall behind in your marathon training and feel frustrated with yourself, the inclination is to believe that intensifying efforts is the solution to avoid failure.

While this approach may yield short-term benefits, it proves unsustainable in the long run. Self-condemnation fuels self-doubt, hindering the ability to take risks, learn, and evolve. The fear of failure intensifies, potentially prompting a preference for giving up rather than persisting in the face of challenges.

Show kindness to yourself

An alternative approach to cultivating assertiveness involves practicing self-compassion—treating yourself with greater kindness and understanding, particularly during challenging times, moments of failure, or when you observe aspects about yourself that you dislike.

Self-compassion doesn’t revolve around meeting external expectations; rather, it’s a method of relating to yourself as a human being. By nurturing yourself through difficult circumstances, acknowledging your concerns, and expressing self-compassion, you can endure challenges and instigate positive changes.

While this might seem straightforward, let’s revisit the training scenario for clarity: With self-compassion, your mindset shifts to something like, “I’ll persist because I care about myself.” This mindset fosters increased self-confidence, especially when you successfully reach your goal.

Even if things don’t go as planned, adopting a gentler attitude toward yourself by adjusting expectations can make a significant difference. It’s a subtle shift in response, but its impact is profound, particularly in the long run.

We often find it easier to be kind to others than to ourselves, frequently quick to pass judgment on our shortcomings and failures. The encouraging news is that you have the ability to transform those negative thoughts. Here are a few tips to guide you:

Try these exercises for cultivating self-compassion

These three techniques aim to deepen your understanding of self-compassion, promoting an improved sense of well-being both today and in the future. The outcome? Increased motivation, a brighter mood, and enhanced self-confidence. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Reflect: What do I require?

This question serves as a catalyst for heightened self-compassion and self-confidence. Imagine missing a deadline. Instead of succumbing to negative self-talk, identify your needs and ensure they are met in subsequent situations.

Place your hand over your heart

Give your well-being a boost by frequently placing your hand over your chest. This simple act stimulates the most crucial nerve in your parasympathetic system, inducing a sense of peace and tranquility. Literally extend kindness to yourself by periodically ‘petting’ your chest.

Identify patterns when things go awry

Be proactive. Examine whether certain negative feelings consistently resurface. Does anxiety arise whenever a particular colleague emails you? Does tension build every time you and your partner engage in an argument? Recognizing these patterns empowers you to employ self-compassion, fostering transformation in these moments.

Whether it’s getting caught up in your thoughts upon receiving an email from a specific colleague or feeling unsettled during arguments with your partner, focusing on self-kindness in these instances can pave the way for the desired change.

Here’s how you offer yourself an uplifting self-talk

The manner in which you communicate with yourself has the power to evoke compassion and self-confidence. However, positive self-talk goes beyond mere affirmations like saying, “You’re great!”

Identify negativity

Direct your attention to recent mistakes or shortcomings that have been preoccupying your thoughts, and then pinpoint where these emotions manifest in your body. Do you experience tightness in your jaw or tension in your shoulders?

Instead of resisting or rejecting these feelings, allow them to be present. This approach connects you with the distress caused by your self-criticism or the notion that everything must be flawless.

Express a wish

Convincing yourself of certain things can heighten your fear of failure. A more constructive approach is to express a wish, such as: ‘I hope to cultivate self-acceptance’ or ‘I wish to develop greater self-confidence.’ This method serves as a gentler way of addressing yourself.

Replace the term ‘must’ for more self-confidence

Statements like ‘Oh, I should have completed this much earlier,’ ‘I have to run an extra lap tonight to meet my training goal,’ and ‘I really must monitor my weight more closely’ are laden with self-criticism. This mode of expression lacks compassion for oneself and will lessen your self-confidence.

Transform these sentences into questions, such as: ‘What steps could I have taken to meet my deadline?’ ‘How can I find motivation for tonight’s run?’ or ‘In what ways can I be more attentive to my weight?’ Approaching these situations with curiosity is both kinder and more productive for your self-confidence than imposing a sense of obligation.