We all need self confidence in order to succeed in life. Without self confidence we will be unable to face life's challenges with equanimity. With it we will be able to face them with courage.
The dilemma we are faced with, however, is how to gain self confidence when we lack it in the first place? The key to genuine self confidence is to experience success. This is not as difficult to do as you might think. Many people set themselves up to be discouraged by making it hard to succeed. You can make it easy to succeed by breaking down your larger goals into smaller ones that you can more easily achieve. Make sure that you enjoy each small achievement and your self confidence will increase.
Self image is another important concept of self confidence. If you have a poor self image, your self talk will probably be negative. If you are constantly criticizing yourself and you feel like you are never good enough, you are making it very difficult (if not impossible) to succeed. A low self image is often the by-product of the messages we received as children but it can also be the consequence of the devastating blows we can receive as adults such as divorce, job loss or business failure. We have to learn from our mistakes, however we don't want to get stuck in a cycle of self blame as it can be a slippery slope to despair and depression. As motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins says: "The past does not equal the future." Look forward, not backwards and begin to work towards a brighter future.
People also affect our self confidence both positively or negatively. The simple decision to spend time with friends and family members who are positive and supportive and to avoid spending much time with those who are negative will lead to increased self confidence.
The way we respond to feedback is another important factor which will influence our level of self confidence. While it is certainly true that we need to see ourselves as inherently worthy, we need to avoid over-confidence or arrogance. We are all unique individuals who have something special to offer the world. This understanding will help us to develop the sort of positive beliefs, values and thinking that will strengthen our self confidence so that we can move forward successfully in life. However, all criticism is the result of negativity. Some criticism is very valuable. Be willing to listen to criticism, pay attention to information you can use to improve as a person and throw away the rest. Your ability to respond maturely to feedback will help you become the best person you can be. Likewise, your ability to discern unwarranted criticism and disregard it will keep your self confidence intact.
The way you speak to yourself is also very important. Positive self talk will give you the confidence and belief in yourself to step up to the challenges and opportunities of life and undertake them with courage and excellence. Negative internal dialogue, on the other hand, will keep you from even trying. Be willing to monitor your thoughts and actively choose to think positively about yourself and your abilities.
Your self image is intimately tied to your destiny. Most people let their minds run amuck, unaware that their thoughts and feelings about themselves are actually writing the story of their lives. We have to guard against thoughts of failure and inadequacy. If we aim high and believe that we are capable of achieving our goals we will have set ourselves on the pathway to success. The power of a positive vision cannot be underestimated on this journey. Where do you want to be in five or ten years from now? Write down your vision and turn it into goals.
It is easy to get into the bad habit of thinking negatively. To overcome this habit you will need to make a concerted effort to focus on your positive traits. Keep a note of your strengths. What sort of compliments do people tend to give you? What would you like to improve about yourself? Take charge of these areas and make a plan. Taking action will automatically shore up your self confidence. If you make a habit of thinking and acting confidently (no matter how you feel) and limit your contact with people who criticize you or belittle your dreams, you will become a far more self confident and successful person.
By applying these strategies and taking responsibility for your life, you will find that you will become a naturally self confident person. Furthermore, it will be a genuine and deep self confidence that can stand firm under the storms of life.