With all of life’s pressures, it’s easy to fall into the “I’m not good enough” trap. To the rescue: Top experts share the proven ways to boost your confidence — and celebrate all you’re capable of. Read on to find out how to silence you inner doubts and boost your self-belief.
“Fence in” the past.
The source of some of our most deep-seated insecurities? Often someone in our past made us doubt ourselves, says confidence expert Karol Ward. “If that’s the case, picture yourself in a space with them, separated by a fence,” she suggests. “This helps you see, ‘Oh, that’s not me saying these things about myself — it’s X person,’ and that distance allows you to separate yourself from old insecurities.”
Change one word.
A shift in thinking can quash self-doubt, says psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke, PhD. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m not going to get this job because I’m too old,’ for example, tell yourself, ‘I’m having the thought that my age is an issue.’ Then ask yourself if this is really true: Are there folks your age working? Challenging distorted beliefs sparks optimism.”
Focus on abundance.
Low self-confidence often goes hand in hand with a mentality of scarcity, says psychologist Barbara Markway, PhD. “In other words, we think we don’t have enough beauty, brains or moxie to be where we want to be. But most of us are surrounded by abundance,” she says. Replace a “scarcity thought” like, “I don’t earn as much as my friends” with “abundance thoughts”: “I have a job that lets me visit family every year.” When we’re grateful for the positives, our insecurities shrink in comparison.
Assert your right to thrive.
The most common insecurity that Ward sees is a feeling of incompetence, which often leads to unwillingness to advocate for ourselves. Her solution? “Take a small action, then immediately acknowledge it. So if insecurities about your body are keeping you from, say, taking an aqua aerobics class, first explore the lessons offered, then pat yourself on the back. The next day, see which class fits into your schedule, and on the third day, watch a class. Such tiny steps lead us to be more and more assertive.”
Try this affirmation.
Sweeping statements like, “I’m a winner” are too exaggerated for our brains to believe — instead, use “coping statements,” which acknowledge your insecurity while reassuring you that you can handle it. Says Markway, “Just focus on a statement that puts your fear in perspective, such as, ‘If I stutter during my speech, no one will care, and I’ll take a few deep breaths and start over.’ Then remind yourself that you can cope.”
Allow for vulnerability.
“We often fear that if others really saw us, they would reject us,” says Markway. “But the opposite is true: Vulnerability is how we connect. When people see that you’re worried or scared, they say, ‘I am too!’ If you perceive a ‘flaw,’ share it with someone you trust. Living with authenticity takes a weight off your shoulders and brings you closer to those around you.”