Building my confidence

How to build self confidence | Confidence

A lack of self-confidence comes in many shapes and forms, and learning how to build confidence is an ongoing project for most of us – we are all a work in progress! Here’s some tips that you can use to learn how to build self-confidence.

How to be more confident

  • Make lists of your achievements, and things in your life that you are proud of.
  • Acknowledge your personal strengths and talents, and remind yourself of them often.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
  • Make time for your hobbies, and try out some new things to find out what you are passionate about.
  • Talk to a counsellor or mental health professional to learn self-management strategies that can help build confidence and self-esteem.

What is a confident person?

Not everyone is born with an inbuilt sense of self-confidence. Sometimes it can be hard to develop confidence, either because personal experiences have caused you to lose confidence or because you suffer from low self-esteem.

A confident person:

  • does what they believe is right, even if it’s unpopular
  • is willing to take risks
  • admits their mistakes and learns from them
  • is able to accept a compliment
  • is optimistic.

Tips for building self-confidence

There are a number of things you can do to build your confidence. Some of them are just small changes to your frame of mind; others you’ll have to work on for a bit longer to make them familiar habits.

1. Look at what you’ve already achieved

It’s easy to lose confidence if you believe you haven’t achieved anything. Make a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life, whether it’s getting a good mark on an exam or learning to surf. Keep the list close by and add to it whenever you do something you’re proud of. When you’re low in confidence, pull out the list and use it to remind yourself of all the awesome stuff you've done.

2. Think of things you're good at

Everyone has strengths and talents. What are yours? Recognising what you’re good at, and trying to build on those things, will help you to build confidence in your own abilities.

3. Set some goals

Set some goals and set out the steps you need to take to achieve them. They don’t have to be big goals; they can even be things like baking a cake or planning a night out with friends. Just aim for some small achievements that you can tick off a list to help you gain confidence in your ability to get stuff done.

4. Talk yourself up

You’re never going to feel confident if you have negative commentary running through your mind telling you that you’re no good. Think about your self-talk and how that might be affecting your self-confidence. Treat yourself like you would your best friend and cheer yourself on.

5. Get a hobby

Try to find something that you’re really passionate about. It could be photography, sport, knitting or anything else! When you’ve worked out your passion, commit yourself to giving it a go. Chances are, if you’re interested or passionate about a certain activity, you’re more likely to be motivated and you’ll build skills more quickly.

If you’re not feeling better

Sometimes the quick fixes don’t help in the long term. If you’re feeling bad and things just don’t seem to be improving, it’s worth talking to someone who knows how to help. Professionals such as counsellors and psychologists can help you develop strategies to help you build up your confidence. They may also be able to help you understand any underlying problems that might be causing you to feel bad about yourself.

Want to chat with a peer worker who can listen to you and support you? Book a free, text-based session with ReachOut PeerChat.

If you don't feel ready to speak to a professional, try taking a look at ReachOut Online Community. Talking out your worries with a supportive community of people who have been through similar situations can be a really helpful way to build your self-confidence.

What can I do now?

  • Get personalised support for when you're feeling low with the ReachOut Nextstep tool.
  • Remember that it takes time and persistence to build your self-confidence. Learn more about self-talk.
  • Want to chat with a peer worker who can listen to you and support you? Book a free, text-based session with ReachOut PeerChat.

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It's not always easy to find the right place to start. Our 'What's on your mind?' tool can help you explore what's right for you.

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13 Ways To Actually Build Confidence, From Experts

Where confidence comes from.

Confidence is self-trust in your skills, choices, and values. It comes from within yourself and feels like an inner knowing of your strengths and weaknesses while still thinking positively about yourself.

"Self-confidence comes from the information and ideas we take in through the world that support a positive perspective about ourselves," says licensed psychotherapist Rameya Shanmugavelayutham, LCSW. "Often we enter into the world with an abundance of self-confidence. Consider the young child who feels confident taking risks like jumping off the swings or dances without a care in front of a crowd. When a young child is affirmed and encouraged, they strengthen their sense of self and begin to hold cognitive schemas that confirm they are worthy, valuable, beautiful, intelligent, etc."

While many people often have a strong sense of confidence as a child, life often throws curve balls that can diminish confidence. Low self-confidence can feel like being unable to handle other people's criticisms or difficulty trusting yourself and others.

The great thing is, every moment is a chance to build evidence toward your self-confidence. To make up for what was lost, you can rebuild confidence over time through small and large moments that ladder up toward more self-trust. 

Notably, although they look similar on the surface, being shy or introverted does not equate to a lack of self-confidence. Shyness is a personality trait where some people are naturally timid around others. Being an introvert is also a personality trait, first described by Carl Jung as someone who prefers to turn inward to their internal world for reflection and insight. This is in contrast to extroverts, who prefer to engage with other people. (Here's a quick quiz to find out if you're an introvert or extrovert.)


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What causes low confidence? 

Just as you can build positive self-confidence, there are things that can erode it. According to Shanmugavelayutham, the way people are socialized and seen by those around them, in addition to difficult transitions in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, can all lead to lower self-confidence.

She says some factors that can contribute to a negative sense of self include:

  • Caregivers that are overly critical or reprimanding
  • Caregivers that limit a child's exploration
  • Feeling rejected by peers
  • Difficulties transitioning into a constructed idea of "adulthood"
  • Media representations and data from the world about what's "ideal" in a person

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Varying levels of confidence can also show up in different situations. You may feel very confident in math because you were socialized and praised to succeed in your academic studies. You may feel less confident when it comes to public speaking because you've previously received criticisms from peers and haven't yet processed their feedback in a useful way.

Again, the good news is that low self-confidence is fixable, and you are totally in charge of making it happen.

13 ways to build confidence:


Figure out where your lack of confidence stems from.

Finding the root cause for low self-confidence can provide a map of how to build up more positive self-confidence. A good place to start is through self-reflection and journaling.

Try this exercise to help you get to the possible root cause of your low self-confidence:

  1. For one week, record any low self-confidence thoughts or sayings that keep showing up for you. 
  2. For each thought or saying, ask yourself "Who or what told you that?" 
  3. Decide if you want to allow that voice to have authority over your thoughts in this stage of your life.
  4. Journal out your reactions and create a plan of action to move forward.

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If you're struggling with this, it can also help to work with a therapist or coach to identify and transform the unhelpful low-self-confidence thoughts.


Understand what self-confidence feels like for you.

Take some time to figure out what confidence feels like in your body. A good question to ask is "How will you know that you've reached a satisfactory level of self-confidence?" Perhaps you will start speaking up more at work. You might finally wear that outfit you've always wanted to. You may even introduce yourself to your crush at your co-working space. This will be different from person to person, so it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else. This is your personal measurement of confidence. 


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Align with yourself.

If you find yourself frequently using the word "should," (for example, I should be married by 30, I should have a house by next year, or I should have my life together by now), take a step back and reflect. Where is this "should" coming from?

Many of the "shoulds" in life stem from cultural or familial expectations. With all of these statements, it's helpful to always ask yourself: Is this what I truly want for myself?

You have the power to reclaim your life at any point. The more that you make decisions aligned with your true self and your desires, the more confident you will become in your decision-making.


Start small.

Most of us don't like experiencing a ton of change at once. A very important key for self-improvement work is starting small. 

Shirin Eskandani, life coach and founder of Wholehearted Coaching, says one way to build self-confidence is to make small promises to yourself and then follow through. "And the key word is small. Do things that are a stretch but also realistic for you. So perhaps if you're not a morning person, not committing to waking up at 6 a.m. every day to do a morning routine but instead trying out an evening routine. "


Adopt a growth mindset.

A growth mindset encourages you to explore beyond your current skills and knowledge, keeping the possibility of improvement open. Instead of using phrases like "I'm not confident," just add "yet" to it, which transforms the old belief into "I'm not confident yet." This adds the qualifier that you are in the process of gaining skills to become confident.

A 2019 study1 found that growth mindset interventions led to better math grades for high schoolers and improved even more when students were immersed in environments that encouraged growth mindset principles. So it's worth exploring your new growth mindset with like-minded people.


Know you will fail, and that's OK.

We live in a failure-averse culture where people mostly just talk about their accomplishments. Rarely do you ever get to hear about people's accounts of failure. Understanding that failure happens and is a part of the process of living will help you to live more fully.  

"For a lot of us, we were usually taught that self-confidence comes from achievements," certified life coach and leadership coach Nicole Cruz tells mindbodygreen. "However, this means that when we achieve, we feel great about our abilities, but when we fail, our self-confidence takes a hit. I truly believe that self-confidence comes from our own thoughts about our abilities rather than external achievements. So that regardless of whether we succeed or fail, we have the power to retain our self-confidence."


Stand up to your inner critic.

Sometimes you might hesitate to trust yourself because you've received critical feedback from authority figures earlier in life, like parents, teachers, or community leaders, and you have adopted their criticisms as your own beliefs. But there comes a point when this feedback no longer serves your current life. Standing up to those old criticisms can unlock a new level of confidence.

"Confidence can also be built by rewriting the narratives in our heads about our worthiness. This involves identifying self-limiting beliefs and reframing them," Shanmugavelayutham explains. "Often the voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough is not our authentic voice but an aggregate of all the voices of those who have criticized us in the past. When we talk back to the inner critic enough, the confident inner-child that we lost touch with can reemerge."


Understand that emotions and feelings are temporary.

In the book Come As You Are, sex educator and researcher Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., writes, "Emotions are tunnels. You have to go all the way through the darkness to get to the light at the end."

Emotions go through a cycle of beginning, middle, and end. Although emotions can feel really intense in the moment, they are only temporary. At the very basic level, emotions are physiological responses to stimuli in your environment. If your Wi-Fi goes out right before your work presentation, you may experience an acute pang of stress. If you receive a surprise package from your sister, you may be overcome by heartfelt joy. If you get a text from your ex, you may feel a sharp streak of hot sadness. Whatever the stimuli and paired emotion, they're all data points to inform your next action step. 

In terms of confidence, any emotion like anxiety, stress, or fear that is holding you back from taking action is only temporary. Once it subsides, you can make your next move. As the saying goes, "Feel the fear and do it anyway."


Focus on what you can control.

"A lot of times, we base our self-confidence on things we actually have no control over—what other people think, the outcome of a project, others' reactions, etc.," Cruz explains. "To build self-confidence, we need to release our attachment to the things we can't control and start basing our self-confidence on what we do have control over."

Take, for example, when you're working on a presentation, she says. You might invest a lot of energy into other people's opinions, the outcome of your project, or your peers' reactions to your work. To build self-confidence against things you don't have control over, Cruz advises to focus on the things you can control—for example, how prepared you are, your passion for the presentation topic, and how much work you've put into it. 

"Remind yourself of these things consistently and repeatedly until they become your new beliefs," she adds. 

Grounding yourself in things you can control, even just one aspect of your goal, will provide you with more stability to move forward. And remember: Building confidence builds more confidence. By starting in the places you have control over, you can ensure that you build confidence from a place of inner strength.


Build a like-minded community around you.

Research suggests that our views of ourselves are usually inaccurate. Whether you underestimate or overestimate your abilities, you can't create a more accurate level of self-confidence in isolation. You need to interact with your environment, hobbies, and other people to build confidence.

Curating an intentional environment to develop your budding confidence is crucial. Share your experience with a few close friends who are on the same self-development journey. Find resources in your community like therapists, coaches, podcasts, blogs, and books to help build a foundation for your new confidence.


Take a break from social media.

A 2018 study published in Europe's Journal of Psychology found that people who have lower self-esteem tend to gravitate toward building a "false self" on social media2, which can lead to an inaccurate sense of self and self-worth. So consider taking a break from social media to reconnect with the person you truly are, free from comparisons and trying to impress others. 


Cultivate compassion.

Cultivating a sense of self-compassion can help you to sympathize with yourself when you experience difficulties in life. This can help you turn away from negative, demeaning self-talk and toward more loving, nurturing ways to talk to ourselves.

"Compassion is key in cultivating self-confidence," Eskandani says in an email interview. "Holding on to past 'mistakes' or 'failures' really affects how confident we are. If we can be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to let go of these moments, then we allow ourselves to trust ourselves." 


Find professional support

If building self-confidence has become a discouraging pursuit, it might be time to lean on professionals for some guidance.

"There are many ways to build self-confidence. One approach involves processing and uprooting the formative experiences that may have contributed to a negative sense of self. While this can be done through personal reflection and journaling, it can often be more effective when done in relationship with a safe support person such as a therapist," Shanmugavelayutham says.

The benefits of boosting your confidence. 

While it may feel unnatural and like a lot of work, there are plenty of benefits of building self-confidence, such as:

Building resilience to try new things

"Confidence is the life source for much of what we seek in life. It gives us the fuel we need to try new things and take risks," Shanmugavelayutham says. 

Better performance

Whether at work, in sports, or in personal endeavors, having confidence can help you accomplish tasks3 with more ease and, therefore, success. "Confidence in one area can beget confidence in other areas," Shanmugavelayutham adds. "Confidence has even been proven to be a higher predictor of performance than competence!"

Creating the life you want

"When we don't believe in ourselves, we tend to take actions that actually create the exact outcome we're fearing," Cruz explains. "By boosting our self-confidence, we can take actions and create outcomes that better reflect the incredible power that's within us." 

Discerning other people's motives versus your own desires

In a study exploring the relationship between self-confidence and social interactions, economists note that, although many people tend to derive confidence from other people's compliments, other people benefit from your ability to produce. For example, a manager may praise your event-planning abilities because your efforts also make her job easier. You can be good at a lot of things, but with self-confidence, you'll be able to determine which things you want to become good at, not just build confidence in the things you get external praise for.

Making your own decisions according to your true self

When you're confident in yourself, Eskandani says, "you start making decisions that are in line with what you truly want. You listen less to the well-meaning advice around you telling you what you should do, and you start doing things that you truly want to do." 

The bottom line. 

While most of us are born with a healthy level of confidence, life throws us challenges that can derail our sense of confidence. However, reclaiming that self-confidence is possible and worth every effort for living a more fulfilling life.

How to strengthen the feeling of self-confidence

Feeling of confidence - an inner feeling of one's own strength, rights, rightness and opportunities. Self-confidence, lack of doubt and fear. One of the moments of self-confidence, along with confident behavior and determination.

Feeling of confidence plus determination is determination: complete confidence in yourself and your strengths, courage, lack of fear in making and implementing your decisions.

Building a sense of confidence

Film "On the Edge"

Not everyone who has ground under his feet feels it as his support. Knowing you're right doesn't always make a strong voice. And there are arrogant, self-confident people who are confident in themselves even when there are no grounds for this. How to increase your faith in yourself, strengthen the feeling of your strength and your capabilities?

There is an operational sense of confidence and there is a basic sense of confidence.

Creation of an operational sense of confidence can solve the issue today and for now, and in order for the issue to be resolved seriously and for a long time, one must not look for confidence for a specific situation, not create it from nothing, but develop its base, become seriously confident.

Rational bases of feeling of confidence KOZLOVA

There are 10 video lessons in the course. View >>

Do I have reason to speak and act confident? Are my rights sufficient? Am I in a strong position? Do I have enough experience? If I have opponents, is it true that their position is irreproachable? What are their weak points? Self-confident is the one who, based on his own experience, knows that he will be able to cope with difficulties and obstacles.

You need a positive experience of success - create a bank of success.

Plan a small number of things for the day, and do them exactly. If 3 things a day is too much for you, start with one.

Quite cool - set your goals for 5 years - 3 years - 1 year.

In addition to a bank of successes, you need a working memory of successes: the ability to remember your successes at the right time, that you succeeded and that you have all the opportunities for success. Fix (remember, write down) the things you have done, the tasks that you have solved. Every day, write down at least 20 of your virtues, internal or external, in a notebook. See the Notebook of Successes.

Develop the habit of seeing pluses in everything: see joys and opportunities in life, see strengths and good sides in people, and see all this in yourself at once. Praise other people, compliment them - at least 3 times a day. Develop a positive mindset.

Disposal of the negative. Reframe any negative statements about you that you hear from others or yourself. You need to reformulate them so that they move you to action. You need - not experiences, but actions!

Use body suggestion: turn on activity, play confidence and strength

What to do today? And today, start with your body - with its activity. The most powerful hypnotist, always by your side, is your own body. Use body suggestion: get active, play confidence and strength.

What you are now doing sluggishly and slowly, you can do more collectedly and faster. More active. Increase your activity - to begin with, be active in areas that do not require a lot of effort from you.

In the street - walk faster. At the seminar - be active, raise your hand (when you know). Prepare your dinner more collected and lively, immediately wash and put away the dishes. Turn on the internal motor, start doing everything - quickly!

Allow yourself speed, including decision-making. At least one day a week, make all small decisions (not vital ones) quickly. When you enjoy being fast, you will start to get ahead of others, you will feel like a leader.

Cheerful morning. You need active physical activity in the morning, for example, running (at least 20 minutes).

Studies have been conducted - those who took up running, significantly increased their self-confidence! See →

Interference - interfere. Create conditions where you can operate without interference.

For example, at home you can start your morning more confidently by simply getting up 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the household.

Play confidence, learn to act like a Master, start acting like a Master - this is one of the best forms of suggestion and self-hypnosis. See Body suggestion

"Emmy Cuddy and TED" movie

Assuming strong postures - for example, postures of confidence, even in situations where we do not feel confident - affects

Feeling confident - an inner feeling of one's own strength, rights, rightness and opportunities. Self-confidence, lack of doubt and fear.


levels of testosterone and cortisol in the blood and increases our chances of success. MBA students often exhibit a full range of non-verbal expressions of power. Some of them behave like real alpha males, they take two places at once and raise two hands at once when they want to answer. Other students simply wither when they appear, and it can be seen from their faces and body positions - they literally shrink in size. Social psychologist, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School Amy Cuddy shows how we can use body language to change the way we think about ourselves.

That state of confidence that we have when we take "strong postures" can be anchored. It is done like this. Recall an event when you experienced the state of confidence you needed (or whatever you want). Imagine it in all the details and details, bright, bright, to the smallest detail. What colors were there, what you heard, what you felt, right down to the smell and the breeze. Place yourself in this picture as if this situation is unfolding right now and right with you. At the peak of your experiences, put a bodily "anchor" on this state - come up with some kind of movement, gesture in advance. For example, I like to "catch the state" - clench my right hand into a fist. In addition, you can come up with a phrase that will be a verbal anchor for you to help you enter the desired state. It can be any short and energetic phrase: "Yes!", "Let's go!", "Forward!", "Do it!", "Nothing is impossible!" - everything that turns you on, charges you. Combine gesture and phrase for best effect. And then - the matter is small: whenever you need to enter the state you are looking for, reproduce the bodily and verbal anchors and - here it is, the state of confidence! With one caveat: the anchor needs to be reinforced - that is, to use it regularly, and also to feed it - in situations when you suddenly feel confident, “catch the state” again, refresh the experience of confidence. Therefore, it is in our interest that such situations arise as often as possible!

It will be easier for you to develop new behavior in a new company (new environment).

Think about signing up for some courses or a section? It is convenient to work out new, confident behavior for you in stores or in the market - where people do not know you. There, no one will be surprised by your loud voice and confident statements.

Use affirmations

Affirmations are verbal self-suggestions aimed at achieving the state you need. “I am confident in myself. I will succeed. I have an easy and confident gait, good luck awaits me!” See Self-Suggestion Formulas

Remind yourself of your personal rights: the right to ask, the right to be alone, the right to make mistakes. See Personal Rights

Work through your beliefs and beliefs!

Practice relaxation

Anxiety interferes with confidence. To relieve fears and anxiety, practice relaxation. See autogenic training, autotraining. Wider - see Work with fear

The following exercises can be recommended to develop an internal state of confidence:

  • Quiet presence. It relieves fussiness, twitching, gives inner peace and the habit of calmly looking eye to eye.
  • I am the Master. Gives a sense of the right to be and dispose of others.
  • Silver threads. There is a feeling that people are in your hands.

Choose a good picture of the situation

How we see the situation depends on our sense of self. By changing the picture of the situation, choosing a vision, you can control your feelings:

If you are afraid of your boss, before entering his office, look at your palm and imagine your boss on it - a little man, 4-5 centimeters tall. Here he stands on your palm, and you gently stroke him from above. Stroking. Clapping is not necessary at all. Usually after that you start to feel more confident.

Strengthening self-confidence. | Consultation:

You do not stop looking for strength and confidence outside, but you should look inside yourself. They have always been there.

Sigmund Freud Austrian psychologist

Self-doubt is the presence of doubts in one's skills, choices, strengths and fulfillment of the plan, on the basis of which fear arises, and in critical cases even refusal to perform active actions. The feeling of self-doubt is closely related to the feeling of wrongness of oneself or the idea of ​​defectiveness of some side of life.

A similar sense of self is born in childhood, when a system of self-perception is formed, based on the response of others. And if there is no clarity in determining which actions and statements should be praised, and which punishment or rejection should be in emotional and activity contact with the world, then in the future, insecure behavior is born. It is the priority of external evaluation left from childhood (the words of people, priorities, etc.) that leads to an increase in uncertainty.

The problem of self-doubt is due to the impossibility of the same reaction by different people to one event, which means that the idea of ​​the constancy of self-perception through other people's assessments is absurd and entails only an increase in anxious uncertainty and exhaustion.

There is not a single person in the world who would not encounter such a feeling of insecurity, but how to make sure that this feeling does not destroy a person?

Three useful practice exercises to help develop/strengthen self-confidence:

  1. Draw a state of self-confidence

Artistic ability does not matter for this exercise. The meaning is in the execution process itself, so the result is not worth analyzing.

Put your confidence on paper. Turn on your imagination and draw what you feel. (it can appear to you in the form of a person, animal, inanimate object, or in the form of an abstract drawing filled with various colors). It can be anything! Draw all the details. You can add captions with phrases or quotes that inspire confidence in you, or add a collage to your drawing. After completing the work, look at the result and observe the sensations in the body and your emotions. You can save the drawing and add details to it from time to time.

  1. Remember the state of confidence

Surely, there were moments in your life when you felt confident. It could be any situation! Pride and self-confidence from getting a good grade in school (if you vividly remember this feeling) will also work. Immerse yourself in this state and stay in it. Observe what you feel at the same time in the body, what thoughts come to your mind, what emotions you experience. Try to remember this state. And not only mentally. Remembering the state of confidence, make a gesture that is convenient for you, which you can reproduce when you are faced with a feeling of confusion and uncertainty (for example, it can be the connection of the tips of the thumb and forefinger, a victory gesture, a snap of the fingers, etc. ) Such a gesture will gradually become that “anchor” that will help you remember and quickly reproduce a sense of confidence in the right situations. For greater effect, you need to do this exercise regularly.

  1. “Confidence Notebook”

Keep a small notebook and write down all your positive qualities, successes, achievements, skills and abilities. Surely, at first you will miss some points that seemed unimportant to you or simply forget to write something in, so add to the list as soon as you remember what quality or ability you missed. Also add to the list the skills that you acquired not so long ago. Constantly review the notebook and supplement the list with even insignificant achievements.

Practice these exercises daily, keep a diary in which you can display your results, and you will definitely reach your goal!

This is interesting (quotes from great people):