The Secret(s) To Confidence
In the final part of Kaja’s 3 Piece Project, Kaja reveals all the confidence advice she’s gathered, and whether it has helped her.
Here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. After asking around with friends, family, colleagues and mental health professionals, I have been given tonnes of advice to help us to be more confident.
For the last few weeks, I have been trying out each piece of advice for a couple of days at a time, and honestly it has helped so much. Accessing all of these secrets to confidence has been wonderful. Something interesting I’ve found over this time is that each bit of confidence helped in a different situation. So Roseanna’s advice on seeing things as exiting opportunities, instead of scary, helped when I was trying new things, and Rosie’s advice helped me feel more sure of myself at work. So, I thought it might be helpful if I categorised the confidence advice into which situations the tips work best in.
With that in mind, if there’s a certain area of life you want to be more confident in, feel free to find the category that is perfect for you – or have a browse through all the advice to find what you need. I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me.
Advice For Confidence When You’re Socialising
Be more interested in other people than yourself. There will be at least two others in the crowd feeling like you do. Look around, head up and smile. If you see someone else standing on their own, go up and say, ‘Hello, I don’t know anybody here, can I talk to you?’ and they will probably be grateful.
Look at every new person you meet as a potential good friend. Try not to judge anyone. Kill them with kindness. Everyone is unique so be interested in who they are. Don’t overanalyse what you’re doing too much, focus on others being happy, and this will help you both feel more comfortable.
Focus on accomplishments in your life however small they may seem and remember that we all have a lot to offer the world and those around us. Tell yourself you’re beautiful, others will become attracted to you. Tell yourself you’re cool and interesting, others will want to know you.
Think about what the social situation requires, and how you can put others at ease or help people out. Be brave for others. When you understand yourself in a system and where you’re supposed to be then you don’t feel bad about everything.
Advice For Confidence When You’re Doing Something New
See new things as a really exciting opportunity, rather than scary, and practice being comfortable with the unknown. See it as an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.
Something that’s helped my confidence has being learning a second language; because you have to accept the fact you’re going to look stupid. So you have to let go of embarrassment and accept that you won’t make sense and will get things wrong, but through that you’re learning and you feel your confidence growing.
Advice For Confidence When You’re Feeling Down
1) Identify Strengths: Often when I’ve found myself slipping into low self-confidence, I find it helps to remember the compliments people have given me in the past. If I find this difficult to remember, I can write them down to look at later. By remembering these compliments, that I’m insightful or funny, I haven’t negated the fact that I might have messed up that day. I maybe did. But that no longer defines me because I am still all these other things in general.
2) Practice Congruence: I have found that practising ‘being me’ has been a massive boost to my self-confidence over the years.
An example: we’re having a conversation about something and I feel like contributing an idea. In that moment, I might hesitate, thinking: ‘What will they think if I say this?’
In this moment I don’t feel confident, but I say what I want anyway, just because I’m committed to being me, and also, maybe I want to see what happens. Those who have a positive reaction boost my confidence, and the one person who didn’t like what I said has helped me build my resilience. I feel good, just because I was honest.
3) Accept Yourself: Here, I practise accepting myself, whether I’m happy or sad, strong, vulnerable, confident, or not confident. Actually, this can be quite beautiful, to be at home in ourselves, regardless of what’s going on, even if we’re having a total melt down.
Advice For Confidence In The Workplace
Develop the character that can stand up in front of people and talk to them. Doing something two or three times, maybe ten times, can help you to strip the demons away from it. And the other thing is, especially with public speaking, it’s important to be nervous, but recognise that despite the nerves you can do it. Without nerves, you sound complacent. I often find the best way to humanise the audience is to say hello to them and then wait for them to say hello back. Suddenly you realise you’re chatting to a bunch of humans.
Allow yourself room to improve, grow, ask questions and make mistakes. When I learned I wasn’t the only person who hasn’t the foggiest idea what they’re doing, it made me feel more at ease in (what I’d previously described as) my ’inadequacy’. Even the people at the top won’t always know how to do everything. It’s true that some confidence comes with age, affluence, social-integration… but those people have inherited confidence or naturally adopted it from their surroundings. You’ll get there too but in the meantime don’t sweat it.
Advice For Self-Assured Confidence
Look at yourself in the mirror, smile, tell yourself you are a good person, a loyal friend, and anyway Mum or whoever loves me. Smile. In the 1930’s, people used to say, ‘Every day in every way I’m getting better and better’. Tell yourself something enough times and you start to believe it.
Life never, ever goes to plan (or even in the direction you expect), but I’ve found things always work out in the end regardless. And since you – presumably – don’t have access to any nuclear codes there’s nothing you can do that would be that terrible, so try not to worry and just go out there and do it.
For me confidence is about perspective. There are seven billion people on this planet and whilst our emotions can feel enormous to us they are totally meaningless in the bigger picture of the cosmos. The total insignificance of my existence does not depress me it makes me feel free. The way I experience the mind boggling enormity of the cosmos is through going on silent meditation retreats. Mediation is what can give me the ability to relax and watch and sometimes even laugh at my emotions as the rage. I still feel anxious or sad or worried but mediation gives me perspective and reminds me to lean into those emotions – not be scared of them – because like everything they will pass.
Advice For Confidence Positivity
Put on a smile and act confident, that will resonate off you and on to other people which makes them feel relaxed and comfortable.
PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) is also super important, expecting the worst will only bring just that. Thinking positively will attract more positivity and the same goes for confidence. If you enter the room assuming no one will talk to you and that you don’t fit in, that’s how it will be. Changing your mind state can be amazing for overcoming adversity.
- 1) Use Signature Strengths
Identifying what your top five strengths or qualities are and using them as often as possible can be a really useful way to feel more confident and capable in what you’re doing (and also to know it’s not your fault if you’re not so good at an activity that doesn’t draw upon your strengths). You can find a list of the top 24 signature strengths here
2) Keep A Gratitude Journal
Another positive psychology technique is keeping a gratitude journal. this involves writing a short note at the end of the day of three things that you are grateful for or have gone well that day. Keeping one during my first qualified job helped to really boost my confidence in realising that by using the skills I’d acquired during training as well as just being myself I was performing well at work and that other people (even those with lots more experience) were acknowledging it.
So there we go, there is all the advice.
Did it help me? After following this advice, have I felt more confident? Can we change? The answer is………
It has honestly helped me. I have felt better in so many situations because of this advice, and someone even complimented me, saying I seemed very confident for a 19-year-old.
Me, who before now has struggled talking to anyone other than my cat without cringing. If I can get there, you can to.
Let’s do this.
If you want to learn more about positive psychology and building your resilience why not try The Resilience Lab