Building Your Self-Confidence

Do you often find yourself doubting your ability to meet new people, make a good impression, or successfully accomplish tasks? Do you consider yourself to be not as well-off or confident as you once were, or would like to be? If so, you’re likely suffering from low self-esteem. You can work towards changing your mentality and building self-confidence to create a better life for yourself though.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is “the degree to which one feels confident, valuable, and worthy of respect.” To put it plainly, self-esteem is a person’s own estimation about their value, ranging from notions of physical beauty to intellect, and even a gauging of how successful they’ve been in life as a whole.

A person’s level of self-esteem can drastically impact their behavior and mental state. People with high self-esteem tend to feel positive about themselves. They believe they’ve made successful choices and a good amount of progress toward their personal goals and life ambitions. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem are more likely to view themselves negatively. They feel shameful or doubtful about their personal progress and ability to make desired changes in their life.

Low self-esteem can also have debilitating effects on mental health. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes low self-esteem as a symptom of other mental health conditions which often leads to secondary issues such as anxiety and depression.

Who Suffers from Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem is an incredibly common condition in people of all ages, cultures, occupations and economic groups. One does not necessarily have to be living in any particular condition of poor health or financial hardship to suffer from low self-esteem. Many people who would otherwise be considered successful and healthy have poor self-confidence.

Certain groups of people do seem to be more likely to suffer from low self-confidence. Studies show that high school-aged students are more prone to low self-esteem. Roughly 20 percent of teens experiencing depression before they reach adulthood. Approximately 44 percent of teen girls and 15 percent of teen boys are attempting to lose weight to feel better about themselves. More than 40 percent of boys engage in exercise in an attempt to build muscle to meet perceived notions of attractiveness.

The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey of people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the UK about their social media habits and self-described mental health. The study found that among social media platforms, Instagram was the most damaging to self-esteem. Of those surveyed, seven out of ten experienced cyber-bullying, with only thirty-seven percent having reported the harassment; 91 percent of those bullied said no action was taken by the social media network to reprimand bullies. Fortunately, the study also found that nearly seventy percent of young adults reported receiving support of some kind through social media during difficult or trying times.

The Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Once someone develops a negative impression of themselves, the attitude tends to invade every aspect of their mentality. How this attitude manifests itself differs from person to person but seems to follow general patterns of behavior. Low-self esteem can be hard to manage but determining what pattern your low-self esteem follows can make it easier to overcome. Low self-esteem is defined by three major patterns:

Imposter Syndrome: Someone masks their insecurities by touting or exaggerating accomplishments, fearing that failures will reveal their flawed self.

Rebellion Model:  Someone identifies those who project an air of indifference towards others’ opinions as an attempt to convince themselves they also don’t care. These people tend to act out and defy authority.

Victimhood Model: Someone who convinces themselves, they are helpless in the face of challenges and use pity to avoid making changes.

The consequences of low self-esteem can also be dangerous as studies have found that substance abuse is commonly associated with low self-confidence, and worldwide more deaths are caused by low self-esteem and depression-related suicides each year than homicide or war.

Building Better Self-Confidence

The most recommended aid for building better self-confidence is to seek the help of a therapist. These professionals are experts at helping you uncover and work through the underlying causes of your negative self-image. This is done in an environment that is both comforting and private. It’s not difficult to find therapy options in your area; most cities have several local therapists who can build a regular meeting schedule with you.

There are articles, websites and self-help options to guide you to improve your self-esteem. If you are looking for lower cost or options to do from home, a quick internet search for ‘building self-confidence’ will show you things to do yourself to build confidence.

Putting it All Together

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not alone, as there are millions of others facing the same difficulties.  There is a huge well of resources available to help you get the support you need.

You can overcome low self-esteem, and it often starts with making small changes day-to-day. The key is to realize your value and work toward appreciating the things that make you truly unique in life. If you need help, take advantage of the resources available to you. Start the process of working toward a more confident you today.

Practicing a More Mindful Self

We’ve all heard quotes like “you must love yourself before you can love another,” and seen them on motivational posters and on our Facebook timelines. They’re practically everywhere. But have you ever wondered why they are so prevalent? Well, the answer is because they are true. Or, they have the potential to be true if you believe them. Being mindful can help to manifest positive thoughts. Thoughts turn into feelings, and our feelings affect almost everything in our lives.

Understanding How We Think about Ourselves

Srini Pillay, MD, defines self-acceptance as “an individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.” He describes how people tend to build self-esteem from the way they believe others perceive them. People who believe others think negatively about them are likely to develop low self-esteem. Someone with a negative self-image is likely to not engage with others frequently or effectively and spend less effort on maintaining themselves.

Meanwhile, a person who believes others perceive them positively is likely to develop high self-esteem. People with a positive self-image are likely to be more confident and push themselves to accomplish more. It’s plain to see, then, how one’s mindset can determine how they go about their lives.

Being Mindfully Positive

Being mindfully positive means actively working towards creating a better mindset for yourself. It is possible to change your outlook on yourself and your mental attitude by actively trying. Think of it like an exercise, but instead of working out a muscle you’re training your brain. Just like physical exercise, mental training can be difficult, tiring and take time. But it is entirely possible given significant effort and persistent determination.

And, much like a good gym routine, mental exercise requires a repetitive set of activities designed to achieve strength over time. And again, just like a good gym routine, knowing which exercise to practice makes all the difference. So, what are some of the exercises you should be focusing on if your goal is to obtain greater mental strength and improve your state of mind? Let’s look at some examples.

5 Tips for Practicing Being Mindful

There are a plethora of mental exercises you can undertake to achieve a more mindful, and more positive, mental state. Any of them can be effective if you believe they have that potential and practice them regularly. Ultimately the choice of which techniques you choose to utilize is up to you, and what you feel is most effective in your case.

A quick Google search of “practicing self-confidence” will turn up a number of results; feel free to peruse and find what best fits you. But if you’re looking for some advice, some effective techniques are listed below.

Live Your True Story features an article on the matter with some particularly beneficial things you can do on a daily basis to strengthen your mental state. Among those are:

  1. Present Yourself with Confidence

    this exercise challenges you to make a daily effort to present yourself the way you want others to see you. Little things like taking care of your hygiene, getting a new haircut, or dressing for the occasion can make all the difference in how others, and thus how you, perceive yourself. Take time to do the little things that make you feel better about yourself.

  2. Smile and Look People in the Eye 

    This exercise is meant to build your confidence over time, essentially by faking it at first until you’re not faking it anymore. If you force yourself to confidently interact with others, you will, over time, get more comfortable with such social skills and before you know it you won’t be faking it any longer.

  3. Practice Appreciation

    This one is motivational poster cliché. Instead of focusing on everything you dislike about your life, challenge yourself to focus on the positive aspects. This may not be easy at first, but you’d be surprised how quickly this can make a difference in your day-to-day attitude. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself focusing more on the positives and devoting more time and effort to them.

  4. Consume a Healthy and Balanced Diet 

    Remember the old adage, “you are what you eat?” Well, there is some real wisdom behind that. It’s well-established that one’s diet drastically impacts both physical and mental health. Adopting a better diet will not only improve your physical health but can also increase your self-estimation as you recognize your willpower.

  5. Perform Physical Exercises 

    The advantages of physical exercise shouldn’t be overlooked on your path to strengthening your mental state. Many people who have a negative perception of themselves do so because they feel they don’t meet standards of physical beauty. Physical exercise can help such people to achieve the body image they desire. But more importantly, physical exertion releases the chemical dopamine in our brains, the original ‘feel good’ drug. Partaking in physical exercise each day can, quite literally, make you feel happier, and will further your overall goals of being a ‘stronger’ person.

Do What Works Best for You

Some common methods for improving your mental state through mindfulness have been presented in this article. But it is important to understand that the same methods don’t always work for everyone. The best way to figure out what you can do to improve yourself is to first understand yourself, and decide which type of exercises will work best for you.

Whichever methods you choose to pursue, make sure to pursue them actively and with full confidence. These techniques have the potential to change the way you perceive yourself; if you believe in them and practice them regularly. Ultimately, changing the way you perceive yourself is up to you.