7 Tips for More ConfidenceYou are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are. ~Yogi Bhajan
At the age of 12, after a rigorous audition and interview process, I was accepted into a local art school. While I had taken art classes nearly all my life, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I had talent that could even come close to the artists that this particular school churned out year after year.
I thought that receiving the acceptance letter might be validation enough to convince me that I was capable of doing what I had set out to do — that I had enough natural talent, and now all I needed was specialized instruction.
Instruction, it turns out, wasn’t what I needed. Confidence was.
I walked into art class the first day and every day after that for the next four years never fully feeling as if I belonged. I was amazed at the pieces my classmates would create, enthralled by their creativity and obvious skill.
But I never took risks. In hindsight, everyone was far too busy with their own projects to pay attention to what I was doing, but I was convinced that if I attempted to reach my full potential, my classmates would see how unimpressive that actually was.
I had amazing opportunities just waiting to be seized, but my lack of confidence told me I didn’t deserve them, that I should pass them along to someone else.
At the age of sixteen I left the school in search of greener pastures, yet my lack of confidence continued to plague me for years to come.
Once I entered the workforce, where coddling is an exception not the rule, I realized that no matter how many opportunities or golden pathways were laid out for me, I wouldn’t be able to recognize any of them if I didn’t have confidence.
I needed to know in my core that I was worthy before anyone else would.
Since that time, I’ve discovered seven truths to gaining and maintaining confidence. Here they are:
1. Compliments Can Only Reinforce Confidence
You might think that if enough people recognize your greatness you’ll be able to build the confidence you need to keep going.
The truth is, if you don’t have a foundation of confidence to begin with, you won’t be open to hearing the good things that other people say.
Think of accolades as an added bonus — the frosting to your already delicious cake — so that you don’t depend on the words or actions of others to feel great.
That will undoubtedly, at some point or another, lead to disappointment.
2. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Mistakes will be made and stumbling blocks will be encountered. That’s just life. But if you take yourself too seriously, these blunders can easily shake your confidence more than they should.
Be kind to yourself and be willing to laugh when things don’t go so well. You can’t control outside circumstances, but you can control how much stock you place in your own greatness and ability to rebound.
3. You Can Always Find Someone “Better” Than You
If your confidence is based solely on a comparison between you and the people you are surrounded by, chances are you won’t feel very good about yourself.
The truth is, there is always someone that has more money, that’s sold more books, that’s had more successful relationships, etc. etc. etc.
But we often judge these superficial things under a microscope without knowing the full picture.
Your confidence has to be based solely on you — how far you’ve come, how great you are. Only then can it be solid and stable.
4. No One Judges You as Much as You
Our greatest excuse for squelching our confidence instead of allowing it to flourish is the judgments others pass on us.
We’re afraid that too much confidence will rub people the wrong way — that staking our claim will lead to a degradation in relationships.
In reality, no one is thinking about us nearly as much as we believe they are. In fact, most of the time when we perceive judgment from others, it’s really just us passing judgment on ourselves.
5. Don’t Rely on Outside Circumstances
Just because you are out of work and living in your parents basement doesn’t mean you can’t be confident.
In fact, it’s that confidence that will carry you on to the next phase in your life — it can open the door to a great job and independent lifestyle.
Confidence might come easily when outside circumstances look bright and shiny, but in order to get to that place, you have to have a foundation of knowing you are worthy of something great — that you have what it takes to create a better, more fulfilling life.
6. Confidence Doesn’t Have to be Loud or Obnoxious
In our society we have this underlying idea that confident people are brash and loud about their accomplishments; when in reality, the most confident people don’t require that kind of reinforcement from others.
True confidence is quiet and reserved — it’s not a show or an act of comparison, it’s a knowing that can offer motivation and strength in the face of adversity.
7. Reluctance Often Means a Lack of Confidence
Anytime I’ve been reluctant to move forward with something I already know is in my best interest, lack of confidence is generally always the culprit.
I don’t want to try, because trying opens the door to failure — failure that I’ve already invited in because I don’t have the confidence necessary to believe in my own abilities.
Unless something just isn’t right, these situations push me to reconnect with my confidence and inner knowing that I am capable of far more than even I am aware of.
What truths do you know about establishing and maintaining your confidence?