Would you consider yourself a self-confident person?
It’s possible to be confident in some areas of your life, but lacking in self-confidence in others. Or you could have a general feeling of low confidence that impacts every part of your life. If either of these scenarios describe you, there are some very important reasons to make boosting your self-confidence a top priority in your life.
First let’s understand what self-confidence is exactly. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, confidence is “a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.” It’s faith in one’s capacity to operate in the world successfully and to overcome setbacks and challenges quickly.
Self-confidence manifests in a variety of behaviors, actions, and beliefs. If you’ve encountered a self-confident person, you immediately sense their inner composure and outer poise. Some of the traits of self-confidence include . . .
- healthy competitiveness
- reasonable risk-taking
Understanding what self-confidence is and how it’s expressed by confident people can shine a light of awareness on how you lack confidence in your own life. It might even inspire you to become more confident yourself. But the true impetus for any positive life change comes from understanding why — why is self-confidence so critical to your happiness and well-being and how you can boost sustained confidence for yourself.
Most people have a general understanding that self-confidence is something good to possess, but not many understand how life-altering confidence really is. Let’s take a look at five areas of life that are dramatically impacted by self-confidence.
5 Areas of Life Impacted by Self-Confidence
1. Your income
Self-confidence has a profound impact on your finances. In a University of Florida study, Dr. Timothy Judge reveals those with strong self-confidence make anywhere from $7000 to $28,000 more annually than those with low confidence, depending on whether you are from the blue collar or professional classes. Across the board, regardless of class, self-confident people make more money.
Clearly self-confidence is a lucrative quality, one that pays in a big way. The more self-confident you are, the more money you will likely make.
2. Career advancement
People with self-confident enjoy more career success and advancement than those who lack confidence. Confident people often create more challenging, far-reaching goals and take decisive action on them. They take calculated risks and make things happen. As a result, they enjoy more career-building opportunities and foster respect from bosses and other decision-makers.
When they encounter difficulties or challenges, confident people tend to overcome them quickly without allowing these situations to undermine their self-esteem or motivation.
3. Personal relationships
Researchers have learned self-esteem and self-confidence not only affect your self-perception, but also impact the expectations of your spouse or partner and the overall quality of the relationship (Murray, Holmes, MacDonald and Ellsworth, 1998). Those with low confidence and self-esteem deeply desire acceptance and positive support from their partners.
However, their lack of confidence and self-assurance infect the relationship, undermining the joy and intimacy they so need. Confident people with strong self-esteem enjoy healthier, happier relationships and tend to be motivated to work through relationship conflict without feeling demoralized or “lesser than.” By boosting your self-confidence, you’re inevitably going to enjoy stronger relationships in your personal and professional life.
4. Health and well-being
Self-confidence improves your mental and physical health by fostering positivity, energy, and motivation. Those with confidence and self-esteem suffer less from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, social phobias, and panic attacks. These mental issues often create physical ailments like weight gain, trouble sleeping, unexplained pains, and a lowered immune system.
Those with strong confidence tend to take better care of themselves, exercise more, and cope better with stress.
5. Achievement in all endeavors
Self-confident people have faith they can accomplish just about anything. Confident people embrace new challenges and take well-considered but ambitious risks. A willingness to take risks in the face of doubt is a skill confident people practice in order to test their mettle and stretch themselves. Not all risks prove fruitful, but it is only through risk-taking that one can achieve greater levels of success. Confident people understand and embrace this fact.
Those with confidence have self-assurance and self-reliance affording the inner resources to take decisive actions even when they experience doubt. Self-confidence allows athletes to have greater commitment to practice and increasing skill. It enriches people with the urge to succeed in any scenario — whether in business, politics, school, or social interactions.
As a by-product, it affords a sense of self-respect improving your overall character. The accomplishments achieved through self-confidence further reinforce and enhance confidence.
So clearly self-confidence is a trait worth pursuing and practicing. But for those with low self-confidence, this can seem a daunting task. Where do you begin to improve your confidence? What do you have to draw on when you are lacking in self-assurance and filled with doubt and fear?
Well here is some good news — self-confidence can be learned.
Even when you don’t feel confident, you can practice the skills of confidence and emulate confident people until your feelings catch up to your actions. Here are a few steps to help you get started.
How to Build Self-Confidence
1. First, pick one area of low self-confidence that’s been holding you back
Try to determine the area where low confidence has most negatively impacted you. Maybe it’s speaking out in group settings, or feelings of insecurity about your appearance, or a recent failure that’s made you doubt your abilities.
2. Choose your action
Think about one small, manageable — but slightly challenging — action you can take and repeat over the next few weeks to practice self-confidence even when you don’t feel it.
Perhaps you commit to speaking out with one idea in every group situation. Or you decide one day a week to dress your best, fix yourself up to look polished and walk through a mall as though you feel totally beautiful. Or you challenge yourself to take one action a day toward turning your recent failure around.
3. Set up accountability
Set up accountability by telling someone you trust about your planned self-confidence practice. Ask them to be your accountability partner, and report to them daily whether or not you fulfill your commitment to yourself.
4. Use affirmations & visualizations
Reinforce your confidence practice with positive affirmations and visualization. See yourself in your mind’s eye as a confident person. Write out two or three affirmations, such as “I can speak easily and effortlessly in group settings and share my ideas with confidence.” Repeat your affirmations out loud in front of the mirror several times a day.
5. Use a journal
Keep a journal to document your feelings during your self-confidence experiment. With consistent practice, you should notice your feelings of confidence improving as you “rewire” your brain to accept these new thoughts and behaviors.
As your confident behaviors around this one action become more automatic, and as you feel more confident in this area, begin to tackle new areas of low confidence following the same steps. It’s a process similar to eating an elephant — one bite at a time!
With every small improvement in your self-confidence, you will also experience an upgrade in your finances, career, relationships, and general life achievement. You’ll have more faith in your abilities, feel empowered to take on more challenges, and be a happier and more positive person.
Featured photo by MajaMiranda
Originally posted 1/14 and updated 11/14.