Who hasn't experienced this? Something happens that makes us feel totally insecure. Negative thoughts quickly spread and we suddenly feel anxious, shy or inferior. Gone is our self-confidence. Yet this is precisely what is so important for a happy and carefree life! So what can we do to feel more secure and self-confident?

What self-confidence actually means

In order to know how we can boost our self-confidence, we first need to understand what self-confidence actually is. Fortunately, it's not that complicated. It means exactly what it says: awareness of the self! It doesn't just mean that you are aware of your pure existence, but also of everything else that belongs to you. Your abilities and strengths, your skills and characteristics.

In other words, an awareness of the significance and value of your own person.

Our self-awareness is made up of many different levels of ourselves: Self-love, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-control and so on. And the different experiences we have in contact with other people in our lives also play a major role in our self-confidence. These two aspects, on the one hand our self-image and on the other hand the image we have of others, ultimately form our self-confidence.

Why am I not self-confident?

Just as our self-confidence is made up of our self-image and the image our fellow human beings have of us and can be strengthened by this, it can also be weakened by these two aspects.

Ideally, our environment should treat us with appreciation, respect and recognition. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. All too often we have to learn to deal with criticism, expectations that are far too high or even condemnation and hostility. If we then also doubt ourselves from within because we perhaps focus more on our weaknesses than our strengths or have internalized self-esteem-damaging beliefs such as "I'm a failure and can't do anything", then it becomes all the more difficult to deal with the feedback from those around us and our self-esteem increasingly diminishes.

We can only change the way our fellow human beings treat us to a limited extent. What we can definitely change, however, is our own behavior and our attitude towards ourselves! Low self-esteem is not something that cannot be changed!

When does self-confidence become harmful?

Before we get to how you can increase your self-confidence, it is important to understand that high self-confidence cannot always be positive. Especially not if it's not honest.

If you know how important you are, you no longer need to make yourself important.

The majority of people have self-doubt or even feelings of inferiority in certain areas of life. This is totally normal. But how you deal with these doubts can vary greatly. Ideally, if you have self-doubts, you should look at yourself, see where these doubts might come from and try to work on yourself and your self-image. This is the more sustainable and healthier alternative, but also the more difficult one.

The other, somewhat easier option is to simply pretend that these doubts don't exist and try to cover up your own insecurities with exaggerated and artificially inflated self-confidence. These are often people who appear very loud and conspicuous, as if they are bursting with self-confidence. In extreme cases, they also display narcissistic traits that lead to other people around them being belittled in order to see themselves as the best. This can have an intimidating effect and even have the short-term consequence that such people are very popular in their environment and receive recognition. This in turn makes it easier to ignore our own self-doubt.

However, as long as we don't work on our own attitude towards ourselves and the accompanying insecurity, this approach is only a superficial solution that cannot solve the actual problem of a lack of self-confidence and only pushes it away.

How self-confident am I really? The test

But back to you and your self-confidence! Do you know how self-confident you really are? You can test exactly that with the following questions:

  1. You've been invited to a party where you only know one person. Are you worried about whether you should perhaps not go?

  2. Do you often think about what others might think of you?

  3. You're at the hairdresser and you don't like your new haircut. Is it more likely that you will accept the haircut as it is than that you will ask your hairdresser to change it again?

  4. Do you find it difficult to ask for help sometimes?

  5. A friend asks you if you have time for dinner together. But you don't really feel like spending time with her. Do you go out with her anyway or do you make an excuse instead of just being honest?

  6. Do you find it difficult or nervous to speak in front of large groups or with authority figures?

  7. Are you easily embarrassed when someone compliments you?

  8. Do you tend to apologize and feel ashamed for many things?

  9. You are in a restaurant and your food arrives cold at your table. Do you keep quiet and eat it anyway without complaining about your order?

  10. Do you give in to differences of opinion even though you are convinced of your point of view?

  11. Do you usually try to please everyone?

If you answered YES to 1 - 3 of the above questions, the following part of this article may be helpful for you. Your self-confidence seems to need a little boost. A little insecurity from time to time is perfectly normal and okay, but it doesn't have to be!

If you answered YES to more than 4 questions, you may not be feeling so good about yourself right now. This is also okay and can happen from time to time. Perhaps a few of the tips and suggestions will help you to gain more self-confidence and feel more confident and comfortable in social situations again!

Increase my self-confidence - 6 tips

Regardless of the results of the test or how you feel about yourself and your self-esteem, most people benefit from a little push towards more self-confidence! Of course, your self-confidence can vary in different areas of your life. I would therefore like to give you a few tips and food for thought that can be applied across the board and can help you gain more self-confidence where you need it.

Perhaps not every exercise will suit you. Just try out what feels good for you and helps you personally.

Be a superhero

First, I would like to introduce you to my favorite exercise for more self-confidence. The exercise is simple, can be done by absolutely anyone and has a quick effect! The superhero exercise!

To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your chest forward, raise your eyes and put both hands on your hips. Or - like a true superheroine - you can also raise one fist into the air. Try to stay in this position for a few minutes and your mood will quickly change.

Our posture has an extreme influence on how we feel. For example, people in a negative or depressed mood have been shown to walk with a more stooped posture than those in a positive mood. And this effect also works the other way around. I do this exercise before exams, for example, when I'm particularly nervous, to give myself a boost and make me feel "I can do anything". Try it out for yourself!

What do you think?

An even more effective point, but one that is not so easy to change, is your own thoughts and expectations that arise when you find yourself in challenging situations.

Negative thoughts and beliefs such as "I can't do this" or "I can't do this", "I'm a failure" or "I'm useless" often arise. If you are familiar with such thoughts, the first important step is to become aware of them. Try paying attention to your own thoughts in difficult situations and writing them down. If you know what you are dealing with, it is easier to attack!

The next step is to break through these negative beliefs. Take a close look at your beliefs and try to change them into positive ones. For example, turn "I can't do it" into "I've never tried before, so what could possibly go wrong!". You may find this difficult at first, but with each new sentence you will come up with more positive alternatives.

By rephrasing something positive, we crank up the so-called self-fulfilling prophecy in our favor. According to this theory, what we think and are really convinced of also comes true. So if you can absorb more and more positive thoughts, more and more positive things will happen to you and your self-confidence can grow!

The right environment

As I mentioned above, our environment also has a big influence on how confident we feel and how good our self-confidence is. Sometimes the cause of low self-confidence is also partly due to the fact that we surround ourselves with negative and toxic people who talk badly about many things and simply make us feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's the girlfriend who is always nagging or seems to be constantly jealous and doesn't begrudge you anything. Maybe it's your boss or colleague who can't find fault with you and only ever criticizes you instead of praising you. Do you know people like this in your environment?

Think about who you surround yourself with every day and how good these people really are for you. And as difficult as it may be, sometimes the best step is to take a step back! Try, as far as you can, to surround yourself more and more with positive people who support you and treat you with respect. Especially among friends, this can be incredibly difficult. But don't forget, you are the most important person here! And anything that is not good for you should have no place in your life.

Be proud of yourself

And while we're on the subject: If we take criticism from others too much to heart, it often means that we focus mainly on our weaknesses and mistakes. Put an end to that! A simple and effective exercise for this is to grab a pen and paper and write down 10 things you like about yourself! Or 10 strengths that you discover about yourself. Or 10 things that you have already achieved in your life. I know, 10 things might sound like a lot right now. But that's not it at all. You are great just the way you are! And really, everyone has been able to celebrate successes in their life, whether big or small. You may need to remind yourself of this from time to time. Writing these things down and reminding yourself of them can be a good way to help you feel proud of yourself.

And if you can't think of anything at all: get out of your comfort zone and face your fears. Most of the situations we worry about are not as bad as we initially expect. You will find that the more you dare to try things out, the more positive experiences and successes you will have!

Oops - did something go wrong?

Mistakes are human. And above all, they are important. Only by making mistakes can we learn to grow in the face of tasks and challenges. Mistakes make change possible! And with change, we can constantly work on ourselves and become the person we want to be. So when the next mistake happens - and let's be honest, it will happen - just take a deep breath, count to 10 and concentrate on the new opportunity that has just arisen. Don't be afraid of mistakes, but try to see them as something positive. As a new door that is opening for you!

Your path to more self-confidence

Our self-confidence is influenced by many things. Both by the people around us and how they treat us, as well as by our own thoughts, feelings and behavior. And that is precisely the crux of the matter: it is your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior that are largely decisive here. And that's why only you can change things. Give yourself a jolt and do something good for yourself. A more self-confident life is often also a happier life! And to get there, you already have everything you need - yourself!

The only thing I have to say is: You can do it and you are worth it!
October 26, 2023