How To Build Confidence And Self-Esteem: Check Top 10 Ways

Shashwat Khatri
Self-confident people seem naturally to be at ease with themselves and with what they do. They are confident about their abilities, value themselves and don’t let negativity bring them down, which often inspires people around them. But in a world that constantly expects us to excel and forces us to compare ourselves to others, it isn’t easy to know how to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, self-confidence and self-esteem are two different things. Self-confidence is placing trust in yourself and your abilities, something that allows you to function to the full extent of your potential. On the other hand, self-esteem is valuing yourself, not just us as a student or a teacher or any other role that you may find yourself in, but as a human being first and foremost.

Having confidence in one’s own abilities and valuing one’s self is often overlooked, especially by students who are in the throes of their studies and exams. But because these are inextricably linked to performance and the overall quality of one’s life, it is important that we learn how to improve self-confidence and self-esteem. In this article, we take a look at a few tips and measures that will help you learn how to build self-confidence and improve your sense of self-worth.
Why Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem Matter
Feeling confident is indicative of the faith that we have in who we are and what we are capable of. But self-esteem and confidence do not always remain high; they fluctuate over time, and may rise and fall, depending on factors both internal and external to you. No one is born with a perfectly calibrated and unwavering sense of confidence and self-esteem, and something or the other can knock our confidence off at different points in time. But if our trust in our abilities and our sense of self-worth remains low for a long time, it can become a problem.

Low self-esteem can affect just about every part of our life. It may become evident in our work, relationships, and even our physical and mental health. On the other hand, feeling confident and keeping oneself in good stead leads to a cascading positive effect, that doesn’t just improve our work performance but also improves our lives.

How To Build Confidence And Self-Esteem
Even though variations in circumstance or fortune can knock us down, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to fortify ourselves against them and learn how to improve self-confidence on the whole. Here are a few things that you can start incorporating in your lives today to know how to improve self-esteem and confidence in yourself.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
In our digital age, it is easy to fall prey to feelings of inadequacy by unfairly comparing yourself to the filtered online reality. But no two people are alike, so there are no grounds for comparison. Therefore, instead of beating yourself up for the mistakes that you make, see them as the necessary precursors to success that they are. And while you’re going through the motions, be nice to yourself. One good way of exercising this is to speak to yourself as you would to a close friend. This will help you learn how to build self-confidence and trust yourself.

Furthermore, don’t get taken in by what others want you to be. Your interests and your passions are unique to you and others shouldn’t be dictating what you do or which career path you take. If you see someone else excelling at what they do, it is natural to feel inspired. But know that that is their calling. You stick to yours. As Oscar Wilde aptly put: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” So do what you love and love yourself for what you do.

Work On Your Strengths (And Weaknesses)
You know there are things that you’re naturally good at, and things you can work upon. Doing a SWOT analysis can help you recognize these areas so that you work on them. Depending on whom you ask, you can choose to focus more on either your strengths or your weaknesses. Ideally, you should work on your weaknesses as long as it doesn’t take anything away from your strengths. As you build and polish these areas, you learn to improve your self-esteem and then the confidence flows naturally.

Learn To Accept Compliments
The way we accept compliments is a telltale sign of how we see ourselves. Modesty aside, many of us dismiss compliments offhandedly, even when our efforts truly deserve them. Accepting compliments graciously with a simple “Thank you” is more than just an appropriate response; accepting credit for one’s actions goes a long way to reinstate self-worth and trust in one’s abilities.

Build Useful Habits
We’re partly a conglomeration of our habits - those daily processes that are so ingrained that they are basically automated. So it stands to reason that it is better to have habits that are useful to you. Managing your time and planning for the day ahead is an example of a good, useful habit, just like brushing your teeth. Find out areas that need improvement, such as your health, sleep, studies, etc. and get in the habit of doing little things that lead to big changes over time. This could be choosing to eat healthier, sleeping and waking at certain hours, making notes in the classroom, etc. Over time, the accumulated goodness will lead to an overall improvement and effectively teach you how to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

Surround Yourself With People That Believe In You
Learning how to improve self-esteem can also involve getting rid of people that don’t believe in you or inspire nothing but negativity. If you’re struggling with developing confidence in yourself or getting ahead in life, surround yourself with those who are confident in you. Friends that support you will help you realize your self-worth and, thus, grow in confidence. Don’t be obliged to continue an unrewarding friendship to its bitter end. Let the deadwood of unsupportive friendships burn away so that you have time for others that actually help you grow and believe in yourself.

Exercise Your Body And Your Mind
One of the surefire ways that will teach you how to boost confidence in yourself is to exercise. Physical exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. Exercising regularly keeps you healthy in the long run and improves your own body image, which further leads to a boost in self-esteem. At the same time, it is important to feed and exercise your mind as well. Be it crossword puzzles, a game of chess, or learning a new language - find ways to challenge your mind and keep yourself sharp. These techniques are perfect to know how to boost confidence and self-esteem.

Identify And Challenge Negative Thought Patterns
No one’s immune to negativity, but it is important to identify negative thought patterns and challenge them whenever possible. If you find yourself thinking “I can never do this” or “I’m not good enough”, ask yourself what is it about the thing that seems impossible to you, and why do you think so. Are you setting unrealistic goals? Are you comparing yourself to others and being overcritical? Use the Socratic method of questioning and try to get to the root of the negative thoughts. As you identify and challenge negative thoughts, you will get to know how to build self-confidence and avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking.

Treat Yourself As You Would Treat Others
The golden rule of ethics tells us to “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. But, even though we’re expected to treat others close to us with love and care, we often tend not to treat ourselves the same way. This is perhaps because we know our own limitations and inadequacies more so than anyone else. So, one way to learn how to improve self-confidence and self-esteem is to reverse the golden rule and treat yourself as you would treat others, like a loved one. This will provide a deeper insight into how to improve self-esteem and keep you from overwhelming yourself with self-criticism and doubt.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
We love our comfort zones. They are the safe spaces where we go to recharge ourselves mentally and spiritually without any fear of unwarranted judgment. But if you aren’t challenging yourself enough, or at all, it is not uncommon to feel bored and dejected. As humans, we need challenges to test us so we can prove to ourselves, even subconsciously, where we stand. Be it auditioning for your school’s theatre production, participating in debates, or simply being active in class discussions - there are tons of things that you can do to challenge yourself. Take your pick and see how far you can go. The more you learn to put yourself on the spot, the better you will become at handling situations that keep you on your toes and learn how to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

It is a healthy state of mind that leads to improved confidence and self-worth, and there are a bunch of things that can help you attain that state. Be kind to yourself, challenge yourself, surround yourself with people that want the best for you, and weed out negativity. Don’t worry if things don’t have an immediate impact. Take it one step at a time and let the benefits compound. We hope this article helped you understand how to improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
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