Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts them. – Lao Tzu
Confidence goes a long way in life. It leads to good things, better opportunities, higher income, and even better relationships. Confidence building exercises are often used as a way to help people build their self-confidence.
Confidence, in a way, indicates an act of showing trust. This begs the question, trust towards what? Or whom?
This question becomes particularly important in underlining the distinction between confidence and self-confidence. Confidence, as mentioned earlier, is trust. Trust in the family. Trust in a system. Trust in a role model. Trust in a deity.
While all of these are quite important in their own rights, but they remain solidly distinct from the most important form of confidence, which is confidence in oneself.
Self-confidence is distinct from mere confidence because, in this case, the subject and object of your own trust is you, and this can be scary.
The Importance of Self-Confidence
To really understand the importance of self-confidence in life, we must look at it from two perspectives. The first perspective is what we gain from having self-confidence, while the second perspective is what we have to lose from not having self-confidence.
○ What We Gain from Self-Confidence
Confident people have a high opinion of oneself. It means being sure of one’s personal worth and abilities. Once you believe and have confidence in yourself, you become self-content. This is the initial gain.
Then from self-content, you become self-sufficient. You raise your self-esteem; thus, you become your own person, and this is the ultimate gain.
Through your self-acceptance, you also gain acceptance from those around you. After all, how are people supposed to trust and accept you when you don’t even trust and accept yourself?
○ What we Lose from Lack of Self-Confidence
Just as there is a domino effect of self-confidence leading to positive attitude, there is also a sinister vicious cycle on the other side. With a lack of self-confidence, we deteriorate into a shell of ourselves and experience a lifetime of frustration and despair.
Self-renunciation follows self-loathing, which itself follows self-deprecation. Self-deprecation, of course, is a direct consequence of low self-esteem.
With self-renunciation, you not only start to wish you were someone else, but you also start to change yourself to fit a different profile. Then, when you realize just how futile your efforts are, frustration comes along.
To stop this cycle, working actively towards building self-confidence in various aspects of life is a must, which in turn leads to high self-esteem.
Below, we have outlined ten confidence-building exercises guaranteed to help rejuvenate your positive self-esteem, should you stick to them as recommended.
10 Confidence Building Exercises
It isn’t farfetched to think of building confidence as something similar to building an actual physical solid structure. To make a structure stand, we must have a plan and be completely conscious of every single step taken.
The same goes for building high self-confidence. Self-awareness is the first step to feeling confident, and knowing strengths and weaknesses is integral for success.
○ Understand Your Differences
Not every building is the same. Not every architectural style is the same. Not every terrain is the same. By being conscious of these differences, a good builder comes up with specific plans for specific structures.
The same goes for you in your quest for self-confidence. By being self-aware of your day to day activities, you begin to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
○ Remain True to Yourself
You should always remain true to yourself. Progress is the goal, and solid, tangible progress cannot be built on lies. Take moments out of your day to reflect. Ask yourself, what have I done right? What have I done wrong? What could I have done better?
Again, you’re looking deep into yourself and talking to self about yourself. There is no need for deception. Tell yourself the truth so that you can improve.
2. Avoid Comparisons
In the journey for genuine self-reflection, one mustn’t fall into the trap of comparing themselves to other people. This is one of the deadliest reasons that lead to a lack of self-esteem.
Going back to the architecture analogy, every project is different. Every building retains its uniqueness. Sure, it may draw upon another for inspiration. It may even follow the same blueprint left behind by another.
But architects who don’t make their own adjustments and recognize the uniqueness of their projects only set themselves up for failure. You are the architect of your own life. It is important to remember that you are a special, unique, and incredible project.
Once you make a conscious effort to mimic others or denigrate yourself thanks to the things you see in others that you don’t see in yourself, you automatically get negative thoughts and set yourself up for failure; Thus a lifetime of pain and frustration.
Again, like the architect, it is okay to draw upon the lives of others for inspiration. It is okay to have mentors and role models, and influential people you look up to. But never set out to restructure your whole life and the core of your being to suit another. Especially not for reasons that have to do with low self esteem.
It is also essential to avoid comparisons because it stunts your personal growth while ignoring the shortcomings of others. People like to project their best sides to the world while burying the ugliness deep down.
Believe you can, and you’re halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt
As understood from the impactful book ‘Mornings On Horseback’, Theodore Roosevelt did achieve some great things in his incredible life.
He became one of the greatest American presidents in history and was regarded by all as a strong, well-built man who took no slack from anybody. He went into forests as a president and hunted big game. He struck fear into everyone who came across him.
What most people don’t know, however, is that before the bravado and power pose, Theodore Roosevelt grew up as a sickly, asthmatic child with a sheltered childhood and poor self-esteem. He wasn’t that much of a manly man initially. So, what changed?
He discovered the power of visualization and grew in self-esteem. He understood the power of forming vivid memories using positive thinking and positive affirmations of whatever he’s trying to do before he went ahead to do them.
The principle of visualization is simple. We have more power in our subconscious than many of us realize. Yes, merely visualizing that you can do a thing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done it, but you’re already halfway there. Because if you can’t picture it before you do it, you’re already at a disadvantage.
4. Step Out of Comfort Zone
Stepping out of our comfort zones is challenging because most people expect it to be the last resort. Most people want to do it after years of preparation and planning. Most people want to do it when they’re certain nothing can go wrong.
But guess what, this isn’t what it means to get out of our comfort zone. It is not “getting out of the comfort zone” if what’s on the outside is already a comfort zone. This is why taking actual steps comes 4th on this list and not last.
I do not believe in taking the right decision; I take a decision and make it right – Mohammed Ali
Outside comfort zone can be different for different people. For some it can be physical exercises or learning new skills or being in social situations or for some it can be communicating with other. The thing is to take it one step at a time.
Start with simple exercises, practice communication skills with family members or the right people you are comfortable with and slowly come out of the low self-confidence you have during such situations. It is essential to set realistic small goals and slowly work up the ladder.
5. Little Rewards
It is essential to understand that taking actions towards overcoming lack of confidence does not necessarily imply going on some grand quest for a few minutes to prove people wrong.
For instance, in the quest to overcome social anxiety, it is more advisable to start by learning to feel comfortable in a group of 2 or 3 than deep diving into a party or big concert.
It is vital that you acknowledge these little positive things and reward yourself for them in best way possible. This reinforces your self-affirming thoughts.
Right from the first step of being aware of self-image and thoughts, you should begin to praise yourself for positive changes forward. For every time you refuse to compare self to others, feel free to give yourself a treat.
For every positive visualization, tell yourself you are incredible and deserve a reward. No progress is too little in a journey for self-discovery, which is exactly what the quest for self-confidence is.
6. Faking it Till It Becomes a Reality
The theory of “faking it till you make it” has been around for a long time. The logic behind it is also obvious to discern. It all comes down to basic human instinct, the relationship between our conscious and subconscious.
Once you’re able to convince yourself that you can do something, you become more likely to do it. Even if you’ve never done it before or seen tangible examples that you can.
Another reason why faking it until it becomes a reality works is that people tend to react to our body language. They react based on what we project on the surface, no matter how artificial it is deep down.
So, in the end, if you’re able to convince yourself about something, so much that you manage to manifest it on the surface, very soon physically, people start to believe you.
Once enough people believe you, it starts to become a reality, and you will begin to feel confident.
This particular phenomenon is significant when it comes to self-care and building self-confidence. As mentioned earlier, there will come a time when you must step out of your comfort zone. And the next time such moment arrives, it is helpful to fake confidence till it becomes a reality.
Once you start to believe in yourself, other people see it and feel it too. Before you know it, you find yourself being genuinely confident.
7. Positive Negatives
By positive negatives, we simply mean the art of saying “NO”. One of the vilest symptoms of lack of self-confidence is the inability to say no to people. Even when people put you in inconvenient situations with their requests, commands, and orders, some of us still find it hard to say no.
Of course, it isn’t so easy to say no. That’s why many people fall victim to it in the first place. But in your quest for self-confidence, mastering the art of saying no is crucial.
So how exactly does one say no? You simply do. For example, most of the time, our inability to say no comes from overthinking and putting the well-being of others ahead of ourselves. This is good sometimes, but not always.
Especially in your quest to overcome low self-esteem, you should always put your mental well-being first.
It gets easier along the way. This is why the first instance of you saying no is essential. Again, the prudent method is to start with the little things. Once you learn to say no to the little things and stand by your decision, it becomes easier to say no to more important things that serve as sources of personal inconvenience.
Even after taking steps to overcome your inhibitions, you have to continue reflecting on your actions. Where are you still limited? What are your strengths? What did you do right that could still be better? Consistent meditation is a significant way of figuring all of this out.
Meditation is a practice which helps people to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or feeling regretful about the past. It is important to understand that meditation does not mean to close the eyes and sit for 20 minutes a day.
Meditation can be practiced throughout the day by watching your thoughts and being aware of what happens in your mind.
You don’t have to be locked in a room to meditate. You don’t even have to shut down your friends and everything around you. You only have to tune out the less important ones and focus squarely on the truly important things.
Focus on the present and always be mindful of what you are doing. The human mind is constantly wandering, so it’s important to stay in the moment. Meditation is a great way to keep your sanity in check and maintain a focus on your tasks.
It is much easier to be self-confident once you see things around you more clearly. Instead of looking, you see. Instead of just being available, you are truly present.
Once you can see the things around you clearly, you also see everyone else.
9. The Stanislavski System – Affective Memory
The Stanislavski system is an acting method that emphasizes prior experience in affecting current reality. It was developed by the Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski. And even though it is an acting technique, it can also help you build self-confidence regularly.
The basic principle of the Stanislavski system lies in recalling a particular moment in time where you experienced something related to what you’re about to undertake.
For instance, if you’re in the act of undergoing a daunting new challenge, you should focus on a moment in the past where you did something brave or confident, no matter how minimal.
Let this memory drive you. Take a deep breath, focus on it, and use it to influence what’s currently happening around you.
Sometimes the key to this technique is not even the memory themselves but the emotions they generate. This is what should be your target.
Once you’re able to feel even slightly like you felt at a point in time of a similar scenario, you let that feeling drive you and help guide you towards your current goal.
10. The Meisner Technique
The Meisner Technique, is one of the best among various confidence building activities, which was developed by the American theatre guru Sanford Meisner.
Through his technique, Meisner emphasized focusing on one’s surroundings instead of what’s happening inside one’s head.
This isn’t unlike the point of meditation and being present. Meisner believes some stage actors fail because they are usually more distracted by the version of reality their brain continues to impose, rather than the type of reality the stage demands.
This technique is also instrumental in mastering the art of faking it till it becomes a reality. Your head continually tells you to worry. It tells you that you can’t do it. It convinces you of your fear and low self-esteem.
Meisner recommends paying attention to surrounding details to stop your head from getting in the way. Pay attention to colors, textures, smell, shape. Ignore the ideas of self-doubt in your head by appreciating the details around you.
Being distracted by what your senses pick up around you is an essential facet of the Meisner Technique. As long as you relate to things around you, never letting yourself get idle or drift, you will not feel nervous. You silence your inner critic. Then you’re able to generate momentum, which you then take to the task at hand in need of your self-confidence.
An Overview: Self Confidence the Key to Successful Life?
Many people we see today who are confident and self-assured actually started out with pretty low self-esteem. When starting, they did a number of confidence building exercises to build up this self-esteem and improve their confidence levels.
Through carefully structured steps such as visualization, self-awareness, and simply living in the moment, we can help ourselves become more confident.
While perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, it can also have detrimental effects on your mental health. Be kind to yourself when mistakes happen, know your limitations, and be honest with yourself about what you are capable of. Reward yourself for every small progress on a regular basis!
It’s easy to forget how special we all are in this bustling world. But there is a big world out there, and everyone has an important role to play. With healthy dose of self-confidence, we can all come to appreciate what makes us unique.