For instance: Some of us are more confident with one group of friends than another, or when we share our poetry online rather than in person. Or, perhaps our confidence shines more when we’re delivering a presentation at work than it does when on a date with someone new.
At its core, confidence is really about self-trust. The definition of self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment. And although society may make it out to seem as if there is an exclusive group of confident people—that isn’t the case. We all have confidence, and one thing that remains true across the board is that it is cultivated from within.
“We all have confidence, and one thing that remains true across the board is that it is cultivated from within.”
No one knows more about your journey or capabilities than you do, and that’s what will help give you the boost you need in times of uncertainty. So, here are some simple ways to start trusting your abilities and build your confidence along the way.
Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs
Self-limiting beliefs, or “Iceberg Beliefs”, are the negative feelings and beliefs you carry about yourself. Just like icebergs, they can lurk beneath the surface—you may have never even spoken them out loud, but they impact your thinking, your confidence, and the way you move through your life. They’re often the “should” (… do it perfectly), “never” (…mess up), and “always” (…come up short) thoughts that pop up in your mind.
“Leaving these feelings in your subconscious will only empower them. Once you meet these beliefs head-on, acknowledge them without judgment and from there counter them with ways you’ve proved them wrong.”
In these instances, it’s important to get mindful and to the root of these beliefs in order to move forward. You can do this through meditation (there are plenty in the Shine app!), writing it out in a journal, or speaking to a counselor, friend, or therapist.
Leaving these feelings in your subconscious will only empower them. Once you meet these beliefs head-on, acknowledge them without judgment and from there counter them with ways you’ve proved them wrong. Then, you’ll be able to really unearth your confidence.
Breathe in Positivity
On a day-to-day basis, it’s important that we breathe in positivity, whether that be through engaging with positive people, listening to uplifting podcasts, or quite literally taking a deep breath in times of anxiety.
We put out the same energy we bring in, and thinking positively helps your brain produce those exuberant feel-good hormones called endorphins.
“We put out the same energy we bring in.”
Next time you’re feeling caught up in the negative, try focusing more on the positives in your life right now. They can be as big as your job or home, or as small as a fresh pot of coffee. Tune your mind to what’s going right, and it’ll help you feel more balanced as you move forward.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
This is crucial. A lot of times we feel that validation from others—whether that’s through words of affirmation, awards, or “likes”—can make us feel more self-confident. Though that can be the case for a moment or two, it doesn’t always sustain.
“When you are able to cheer yourself on with a sense of passion, tenderness, and deep gratitude that is what endures.”
Confidence leans heavily on self-appreciation. When you are able to cheer yourself on with a sense of passion, tenderness, and deep gratitude that is what endures. It isn’t about being selfish or self-centered, it’s about honoring the good qualities you have to offer on your own.
You can always turn to self-appreciation—and it’s much easier to control than waiting on validation from someone else. Who better to consistently hype you up than, well, you?!
Look Back to Move Forward
It’s easy to feel isolated in stressful situations, but the truth is those who’ve come before us helped prepare you for it. It’s called the “Ancestor Effect.” When looking back at the things that others have done for us, whether we know them directly or not, it can help boost our confidence in uncertain times.
Looking back on the efforts of a family member, thought leader or inspiring pioneer can remind you of your own power. By noticing how their struggles, courage, and sacrifices made things possible for you today, you’ll feel less alone and more capable. Their support is always around you. As the great James Baldwin said, “Your crown has already been bought and paid for, all you have to do is put it on your head.”
*I originally wrote this story for Shine.