7 habits that will boost your self-confidence
1. Work on your self-esteem
The absolute core of self-confidence is high self-esteem. Self-esteem is the reputation you have with yourself, NOT other people. Compliments from your peers do not build your self-esteem and confidence does not hinge upon good external performances. True self-esteem is concerned with always doing the right thing, regardless of whether or not it is the popular choice.
2. Be a good conversationalist
Try to be the one to strike up a conversation, or at least actively engage in one. Now your life may not always be adventurous and interesting enough to have great stories at your disposal, but make sure you can still comfortably speak about something new or different. Mum cooked something special? Planning a trip? Starting a part-time job? Find something to say to keep the conversation going. Show genuine interest in what others have to say too. Ask questions and engage others. This too is a trait that exudes strong self-confidence.
3. Stop worrying about what others think
Like, right now! This goes back to self-esteem. You must not compare yourself with others or dwell on how they perceive you. Do my friends think I'm successful? Am I best looking in the room? Do I instantly click with people? Do I sound stupid? Such thoughts instil low self-esteem, and hence, low self-confidence. Focus on what you want to communicate instead. Put your purpose first.
4. Practice good posture, and gestures too
Whether you're sitting, lying down, standing or walking, make sure you have a straight, forward-facing posture. Slouching, or having a bent spine, is an alarming sign of low self-confidence and low interest, particularly when you are communicating with someone.
Moreover, facial expressions and other body gestures can send out non-verbal signals as to whether you are confident. Do you bite your lips or nails often? Do you blink too much while talking? Do you avoid direct eye contact? If yes, you may be suffering from a lack of self-confidence and must immediately ditch these habits. Instead, smile often—it immediately conveys confidence and makes you seem approachable. Maintain direct eye contact and employ meaningful hand gestures during conversations.
5. Discard negative thoughts
Stress and anxiety are often inevitable, but if you keep telling yourself "I can't do it" or "I'm not good enough" or "I'm too fat/ugly", it'll prove fatal for your self-esteem. Scribble out negative emotions in a sheet of paper and throw it away. Better, speak to your trusted ones whenever you feel upset. Replace negative self-talk with something positive like "I'll give it my best" or "My worth lies in my capabilities not my looks." The key is to motivate yourself just the way you would motivate your loved ones.
6. Nothing beats self-love
Know your imperfections and work on polishing those areas, instead of living with them. Let's say you screwed up big time. If you are a confident person, you'll know it's not the end of the world. Acknowledge your mistakes and try to pinpoint why you failed. Vow to work harder and perform better next time.
One of the many practices of successful people is that they reflect on their life goals and priorities every now and then. Find some time in the weekend to sit back and think about if you're happy with how you've been doing, if you need to change something about yourself or reshuffle your priorities. Self-evaluation is critical to growth and sustained confidence.
The writer is a junior at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka