Tips on Building Self-Confidence

Not sure if you’re doing anything right? Feel like you’re constantly criticizing yourself or doubting yourself? Wonder how everyone else around you seems to navigate this life flawlessly, but you seem to be behind? Then you need some easy tips on building self confidence, because trust me, you’re doing better than you think.

Self confidence is not something we’re born with – it’s something we develop over time through good habits and good people. So if you’re feeling like you are resigned to being insecure your entire life, I love you, but you’re wrong. You can be just as confident as Lizzo if you just take the time to work on it. And I’m here to help you get started. I’ll even end things with some self confidence quotes to get you going!

Read more about ten EASY tips you can use in building your self confidence:

1. Spend More Time Alone

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to build up my self confidence is to spend a lot of time by myself. And my cats.

Okay, I can see how that makes me sound like somewhat of a loser, but just stick with me here.

Spending time alone forces you to get used to hearing your own thoughts. You realize how smart you are, how insightful you are, and how funny you are. You’re a hoot! You realize that you have more opinions than maybe you thought you did. Or maybe you finally admit that you don’t give an F about sports and would rather go take a long walk outside. It’s good to clock these things – because the more you get to know yourself (and get comfortable with it), the less insecure you’ll feel around others.

In grad school I was taught that proximity leads to familiarity, which leads to likability. Meaning, you tend to grow attraction for people you’re around all the time. Very rarely do I hear “love at first sight” stories in my line of work. Usually people developed feelings for each other over time, like at work or school, because they see each other a lot. The proximity to each other lead to being familiar with each other, and we tend to like things we’re familiar with. This is all a long way to say SPEND TIME WITH YOURSELF SO YOU CAN BECOME FAMILIAR WITH YOURSELF AND THEN LIKE YOURSELF. It works.

Maybe most importantly, spending time alone showcases just how much of a bitch you are to yourself.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and silently said, “…ew.” 

Yep, me too. And it’s really, excuse my language, fucking rude.

Call yourself out when you catch yourself doing this. It’s a lot easier to do it when you’re home alone because you aren’t distracted by other people’s yapping. And, when you get good at recognizing what you’re saying and when you’re saying it, you can try to reframe it before it even happens. Which leads me to…

2. Ask The Magic Question

“What would I say to a friend?”

It’s that simple. Building confidence is all about feeling *good.* And when we are MEAN to ourselves, we don’t feel good. I bet half the shit you say to yourself you would NEVER say to a friend. Absolutely never. Because if you spoke like that to others, you probably wouldn’t have any friends.

So before you silently spat off to yourself, ask yourself if you would say what you’re about to say to a friend. If the answer is no, then go deeper. What WOULD you say to a friend when she’s feeling insecure?

You’d say to your friend that she looks amazing. That she’s smart. That she’s the perfect combo of classy and sassy. That everyone loves her. That she’s going to get the job. That if he doesn’t text her back, he’s insane. That she’s a rockstar. That she’s going to be so successful. That she deserves that ice cream. That she’s earned that promotion. That she’s kind. That she’s special.

If you can say it to her, you can say it to yourself. Because guess what? Friends attract like-minded people. So if she’s all of those things, you are, too.

3. Surround Yourself with Positive People

Here’s a shortcut to being confident: hang around people who support you no matter what.

It is infinitely easier to feel secure about yourself and your choices when your group is always here for it. And on the flip side, even the most confident person can feel like utter poop when they’re around negative people who question or judge their every move. No one is that resilient! We all have insecurities and achilles heels we don’t want poked by others. But negative people, man, they have a way to get under your skin no matter how clever you are at hiding your flaws.

If you’re having issues finding negative people, go solo for a bit. Protect your energy and hole up while you figure out what kind people bring out the best in you. Once you figure that out, think about where they might be hanging out. If you’re tired of being surrounded by workaholics, try going to the dog park at 5pm on a Tuesday. If you’re ready to hang out with people who like being outdoors, campsites and hiking trails will be full of adventurers. And so on and so forth.

Point is, feeling confident is an uphill battle when you’re surrounded by people who will tear it down the first chance they get. Confidence is contagious, so focus on being with kind, good natured cheerleaders who can help you find your inner Positive Polly.

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4. Talk to Someone

The :::easiest::: way for your confidence to take a nosedive is to ruminate over stupid things. Your brain has a funny way of spinning small crap into massive shit storms in a matter of minutes. It’s not healthy to have our negative thoughts bounce around our minds with nowhere to go. Which is why you need to release them when you can.

But you gotta be careful about releasing negative, vulnerable thoughts to just anyone. Like I already said – it’s crucial to surround yourself with positive people. Ideally a few of them are great confidantes who won’t judge and who can even offer some sound advice/encouragement on the backend. And if that’s the case, you are extremely lucky. But if you don’t feel super secure (or safe), it’s good to practice with a professional.

Counselors and coaches are the perfect starting point for building self confidence. They will teach you how to eliminate negative thinking, offer feedback when you start to slip, encourage you when you need it, offer validation when appropriate, and cheer you on the entire way. Plus, once you feel comfortable gushing out your thoughts and feelings to a coach/counselor, it’s MUCH easier to become vulnerable with friends and family. What’s even more – coaches and counselors can help you identify the people in your life who seem like good eggs, and help you weed out those who could be contributing to your deficit in self confidence.

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5. Take Care of Yourself

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you haven’t had a sip of water in a week and you’re averaging 4 hours of sleep per night.

The little things matter. Hydrate. Sleep. Wash your face. Put decent food into your body. Exercise a bit. Call your mom. Do things that you know are good for you, but you’ve been putting off. The little things add up over time. Our body can sense when we are investing in it, so of course it’s going to feel like a big sad face if you are ignoring it! Your physical self is highly connected to your mental and emotional self. You cannot ignore one part of the triangle and expect the rest to pick up the slack – it doesn’t work like that. So if you’re filling your head with god awful slasher movies and influencer beauty tutorials while running on iced coffee and advil, you’re probably not going to feel too hot about yourself. When your self confidence is slipping, look into other pillars and see if you can make some healthy adjustments. You won’t regret it.

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6. Do Nice things For Others

I think Kristen Bell explained this one more eloquently than I ever could on the debut episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert. She talked a lot about happiness vs. suffering, and how she tends to live her life by doing things that create happiness, and avoiding things that generate suffering. I liked her take on it. As she continued on, it dawned on myself – and her – that a lot of the happiness she generates is by doing nice things for herself and for others. It’s really that simple.

When you do something good for yourself (going on a long walk) or for someone else (carrying someone’s groceries) – we feel good. We know that our time was productive. We feel like we have purpose or that we contributed to society in some small way. It’s a great feeling. And the more we concentrate on the amount of happiness we strive to generate, the better we are going to feel about ourselves. This is not to say we need to adhere to loose boundaries – no ma’am – but we can search for opportunities that help others in ways we are capable of providing.

7. Resist Comparing

This is going to be the hardest one on the list. It’s so, so, so, so hard to not compare yourself. There are days when I absolutely suck at it, and days where I’m the master guru for all of humanity at it.

Today I’m at a solid medium, so I’ll try my best!

There is a difference between noticing or supporting what others are doing, and comparing yourself to what others are doing. It is virtually iMpOsSibLe to never have any sort of pulse on what others are up to thanks to social media. But, even if you aren’t on Twitter or Insta (but you should really get on Twitter, it’s friggin hilarious) you would STILL be in the loop with what your family members, friends, friends of friends, and coworkers are up to because you have conversations with other humans.

It’s inescapable.

So here comes the tricky part. You’re going to have to draw a boundary with yourself. You cannot line up what you are doing next to what someone else is doing. Why? Because there are simply too many variables at play. It’s not a logical comparison, and it’s not helpful to anyone. You have zero clue where this other person is in their journey, what their childhood was like, how much student debt they had to deal with or not deal with, whether or not they are happy, if they like their boss or career, what their relationship is like behind closed doors, or what their hopes and dreams for their future hold. There’s just no way you have all of that information. So comparing your own journey to theirs is simply unfair. You don’t have any of the necessary data to make a sound judgment. Period.

But subconsciously, you know that already. Which is why you fill in the gaps yourself.

You assume they are the HaPpIeSt person alive. You make up whatever story in your mind to make you feel even WORSE about yourself. If you admire hard work and feel guilty for having a privileged background, then you decide this person you’re envious of worked for every single thing they have. If you have a chip on your shoulder from a rough upbringing, you assume they had everything handed to them. It’s a trick of the mind that affects all of us – and all it does is point out what we’re insecure or upset over at the moment. But you already know what you’re upset about…so again…it’s pretty useless.

Instead, learn to acknowledge and support others. Resist the urge to do a side by side comparison, and just ASSUME that you two are in completely different hemispheres when it comes to starting point and ending points.

When I’m really struggling with this, sometimes I try to fill in the gaps in a way that helps me feel better. I don’t necessarily put others down – but I do try to push myself up instead of shoving myself down like I used to do.

For instance, not too long ago I found myself at a 3 million dollar Los Angeles home in the Hills for an event. I walked in to meet the host, expecting to be greeted someone 20 years my senior, but instead found myself staring straight in the face of a woman who looked just like me. Except she was skinnier, had nicer clothes, was obviously more successful, and was definitely MY AGE.

I mean mother f#@%$*!

Notttttttt what I was anticipating. And it took just about all of me to not spiral into a frenzy of “WHAT IS MY LIFE EVEN? HOW DID I END UP HERE AND SHE’S THERE?” I mean, don’t get me wrong, I obviously did for a second. Like c’mon guys, I’m not made of stone. But then I realized, ok. Breathe. Perhaps I’m in the beginning of my journey and she’s at the end-ish. Perhaps she started on third base. I don’t really know. Because I don’t know her at all.

I used those tactics to calm myself down and reach equilibrium. Then, I started going over my values, and realized there is no reason to compare myself to someone just because of their social status. It’s silly. But I’ll get to that later.

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8. Remember, Life Isn’t a Contest

Life isn’t a contest because there’s always going to be someone better than you. oOoOoOoO BURN.

lololol I know that’s so harsh, but omg it’s so true. Name a singer, and I’ll name someone better. Name an athlete, I’ll name one better. And guess what? We will both be right, because it’s virtually impossible to compare these things. It’s all in the ears or eyes of the beholder.

But the point is, there’s a lot of people sharing this earth. And a lot of us are extremely talented. So if your goal in life is to be THE BEST…then this is going to be one long and miserable life for you. I’m not telling you to give up on whatever your dream is, but I am telling you to be ok with the fact that you might come across people who are better. And once you accept that, life is going to be so much more enjoyable for you! You’ll be able to practice your craft or enjoy your hobbies or meet your goals without this crazy intense pressure of winning. Instead, you’ll relax. You’ll realize it’s all apart of the journey, and it doesn’t really matter how everyone else stacks up. All that matters, is that you’re happy and confident in your choices.

TL;DR: Winning won’t make you confident.

Just ask any famous rockstar who found themselves in the terrors of addiction or Kevin Pearson from This Is Us. It doesn’t work that way. Confidence and happiness come from within, not from awards, accolades, or recognition. You have to think your life is amazing before anyone else.

9. Focus on Your Values

Confidence is a product of self love and security. When you feel love for yourself and love from others, confidence will burst out of your seams. Love from others comes from being vulnerable with family members or sourcing a chosen family that will stand by you always. The other part, the self-love, is harder to develop.

But the more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that self love really stems from respecting and loving your values. Values are what drive our decision making in our careers, relationships, friendships, faith, finances, and pretty much anything else. So if you don’t respect your own values, your chances at self-love are going to be slim.

Perhaps that means you need to make some adjustments. Earlier, I wrote about feeling inferior and insecure while comparing myself to a woman owning a $3 million mansion in the Hills as a young 30-something. After I quickly spiraled into an anxiety frenzy, I was able to recognize that monetary value should not be one of my top values. And in fact, it isn’t. Sure, I have monetary goals just like anyone else – but I don’t want it to be my end-all-be-all. If I did, I’d probably be in a different profession. Pretty sure Wall Street pays better than counseling and coaching.

But I like that about myself. I like that I value helping others more than money. I like that I also value creativity and ambition more than security and routine.

But not all of my values are admirable. For instance, I get judged A LOT for my two bengal kitties whom I did not adopt. I have a severe allergy to cats (and dogs, too), but my husband, a devout cat person, and I wanted a furry companion at home. So, when I found out that Bengal cats were hypoallergenic (it’s true!), I went for it. I chose to purchase a pet for the sake of my own allergies rather than rescue a kitty that would create a sneezing frenzy daily. Plus bengal cats are SO cool.

It’s fine. You can judge me. After reflection, I’ve decided I don’t feel bad about it and I can be confident in showing off my ridiculously cute pets. All because I focused in on my values (comfort, health, productivity) instead of bending the will to others’ values (adopt don’t shop no matter WHAT!). If you fall in the latter camp, that’s amazing. I really respect that and am so glad people like you exist. Sorry you might probably definitely hate me!

Point of all of this is to encourage you to dive into your values. Focus on what you want out of life and boil it into one word. Reflect on your choices and see if you can figure out what was driving them. The better acquainted you become with your values, the more secure and confident you’ll feel, because your behaviors and thoughts will start to make PERFECT sense. Everything will feel congruent, and not feeling proud or confident about it would be so bizarre. And if that’s the case, then you need to CHANGE your values so you feel more aligned with who you really are.

10. Do Nice Things For Yourself

We covered doing nice things for others. We covered taking care of yourself. But now I want you to do something nice for yourself.

Maybe that means buying nice mascara and putting it on when you’re feeling a little blah. Maybe it means going to see that movie you really wanted to see by yourself. Or perhaps it means canceling all your plans and taking a bubble bath while listening to Prince (Oh wait…that’s Pretty Woman. But still you get it.) It’s not just about doing all the “right” things like sleeping and eating well. Life is meant to be enjoyed – and it’s hard to feel confident when we are constantly worrying about what is “good” for us and what is “bad” for us. Indulgence can be FANTASTIC for us. I have no doubt in the world it releases dopamine and serotonin and all of those happy feelers.

I also would think that it gives you that much needed release of just NOT giving a FUCK.

I don’t know about you – but I’m one of those girls who gives a fuck about everything. This whole “IDGAF” culture and I do not mesh. I was born caring. And it’s only gotten worse with age. So I need to be nice to myself, otherwise I’m just going to be constantly taking EVERYTHING too seriously. People actually comment on the fact that I seem so “laid back” and “anxiety-free” which is hysterical, because I can definitely be tightly wound. But instead of leaning into that tendency – I try to lean out of it whenever possible. And that usually involves The West Wing, a long walk, cuddles with my kitties or a glass of red wine.

I want you to be able to relax and invest in yourself in ways that aren’t necessarily “healthy.” Focuses on whether or not it’s healthy is still stressing out about something, and that creates an atmosphere of self-doubt or judgment, and that isn’t a great environment for self confidence. So just go offline for a bit (literally and metaphorically) and eat a cake pop in your robe. You’ll be fine. And probably feel better for it later.

Self Confidence Quotes

“Confidence is not ‘they will like me.’ Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.'” – Christina Grimmie

“Talk to yourself like someone you love.”Brene Brown

“She remembered who she was and the game changed.”Lalah Delia

“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” 

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”Maya Angelou

“Everyone is so obsessed with themselves, they don’t even really have time to worry about you.”Amy Schumer

“Confidence begins when you finally realize that you count and that it’s no longer acceptable for you to settle for less.” 

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”Oprah

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”Rup Kaur

“If someone treats you like an option, leave them like a choice.” 

Want more help building self confidence?

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