How to Be More Confident

6 Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Self-care tips for better confidence

Verywell / Jiaqi Zhou

Self-confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment. Research suggests that it is important to your health and psychological well-being.

Confidence can refer to a general sense of belief and trust in your own ability to control your life, or it might be more situation-specific. For example, you might have high self-confidence in an area of expertise but feel less confident in other areas.

Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help you become successful in your personal and professional life. It can play a role in your motivation to pursue your goals and affect how you present yourself to other people. Research has found, for example, that people who are more confident tend to be more academically successful.

This article discusses some of the benefits of self-confidence and how to be more confident.

Characteristics of Confident vs. Insecure People

Confident People
  • Celebrate other people's success

  • Stay open-minded

  • Think positively

  • Willing to take risks

  • Able to laugh at themselves

  • Decisive

  • Always learning and growing

  • Admit mistakes

  • Accept responsibility

Insecure People
  • Judgmental and jealous of others

  • Close-minded

  • Pessimistic

  • Fear change

  • Hide flaws

  • Indecisive

  • Act like a know-it-all

  • Always make excuses

  • Blame others

Fortunately, there are things you can do to boost your self-confidence. Whether you lack confidence in one specific area or you struggle to feel confident about anything, these strategies can help.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Whether you compare how you look to your friends on Instagram or you compare your salary to your friend’s income, comparisons aren’t healthy. In fact, a 2018 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself.

Researchers found that people who compared themselves to others experienced envy. And the more envy they experienced, the worse they felt about themselves.

If you’re feeling envious of someone else’s life, remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Consider keeping an ongoing gratitude journal to help you focus on your own life and not the lives of others.

When you notice you are drawing comparisons, remind yourself that doing so isn’t helpful. Everyone is running their own race and life isn’t a competition.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Pay attention to how your friends make you feel. Do your friends lift you up or bring you down? Are they constantly judging you or do they accept you for who you are? 

The people you spend time with influence your thoughts and attitudes about yourself more than you think. If you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with a particular person, it may be time to say goodbye

Recap

Surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you.

Take Care of Your Body

It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re abusing your body. On the other hand, if you practice self-care, you know you're doing something positive for your mind, body, and spirit and you'll naturally feel more confident as a result.

Here are a few self-care practices linked to higher levels of self-confidence:

  • Diet: Eating well comes with many benefits, including higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods, you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized, which can result in feeling better about yourself.
  • Exercise: Studies consistently show physical activity boosts confidence. A 2016 study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that regular physical activity improved participants’ body image. And when their body image improved, they felt more confident.
  • Meditation: More than just a relaxation practice, meditation can help boost self-confidence in several ways. For one, it helps you to recognize and accept yourself. Meditation also teaches you to stop negative self-talk and disconnect from unhelpful mental chatter interfering with your self-confidence.
  • Sleep: Skimping on sleep can take a toll on your emotions, whereas good, quality sleep has been linked with positive personality traits, including optimism and self-esteem.

Recap

Caring for yourself is an important part of feeling confident. Make sure that you are getting what you need to feel good about yourself and your abilities.

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. It's a way of relating to yourself that allows you to become more emotionally flexible and better able to navigate challenging emotions, and enhances your connection to self and others. Researchers have linked the ability to relate to ourselves in a compassionate way to self-confidence.

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Personality found that self-compassion contributes to more consistent confidence. So the next time you're in a challenging situation, recognize that being imperfect or falling short at times is a part of living. Do your best to navigate these experiences with self-compassion.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Using self-talk that is optimistic can help you foster self-compassion, overcome self-doubt, and take on new challenges. On the other hand, negative self-talk can limit your abilities and lessen your confidence by convincing your subconscious that you "can't handle it" or that something is "too hard" and you "shouldn't even try."

The next time you begin to think that you have no business speaking up in a meeting or that you are too out of shape to work out, remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t always accurate.

Here are a few examples of how to challenge pessimistic self-talk and reframe your thoughts into a more positive way of thinking:

  • Instead of telling yourself "I can't handle this," or "This is impossible," try reminding yourself that "You can do it," or "all I have to do is try."
  • Instead of telling yourself "I can't do anything right" when you make a mistake, remind yourself "I can do better next time," or "at least I learned something."
  • Instead of saying you "hate" public speaking, use a milder word like "don't like," and remind yourself that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

Recap

Negative self-talk can make you feel less confident about yourself. Focus on using positive self-talk to help boost your confidence.

Face Your Fears

Stop putting things off (like asking someone on a date or applying for a promotion) until you feel more confident. The best way to build your confidence is by facing your fears head-on.

Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.

You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. And each time you move forward, you can gain more confidence in yourself, which in the end, will help prevent you from taking any risks that will result in any major negative consequences.

Recap

When you face your fears and try difficult things, you'll gain confidence in yourself.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies that can help you learn to truly believe in yourself, featuring IT Cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima.

Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / RSS

Benefits of Self-Confidence

Having self-confidence can bring many benefits at home, at work, and within your relationships. Here's a look at a few of the positive effects of self-confidence:

  • Better performance: Rather than waste time and energy worrying that you aren't good enough, you can devote your energy to your efforts. Ultimately, you'll perform better when you feel confident.
  • Healthy relationships: Having self-confidence not only impacts how you feel about yourself, but it helps you better understand and love others. It also gives you the strength to walk away if you're not getting what you deserve.
  • Openness to try new things: When you believe in yourself, you're more willing to try new things. Whether you apply for a promotion or sign up for a cooking class, putting yourself out there is a lot easier when you have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
  • Resilience: Believing in yourself can enhance your resilience, or ability to bounce back from any challenges or adversities you face in life.

Recap

Improving your self-confidence can have a range of positive effects on your life. In addition to helping you feel better about yourself and your abilities, it can make your relationships stronger and make you more resilient to stress.

A Word From Verywell

Everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help yourself feel more confident. In many cases, learning how to act confident can actually help you feel more confident.

Sometimes low self-confidence might be a sign of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. If your self-confidence issues interfere with your work, social life, or education, consider talking to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you better understand the problem, recommend treatments, and work with you to develop skills to build your confidence.

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10 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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