Wanting to build your confidence isn’t superficial. It matters a lot and you’re smart to want to. But if your only definition of a confident person is someone who is charismatic, successful, assertive, and happily pursuing work they love, you might feel intimidated by the prospect of building yours.
Confidence is a skill, and if you look beyond a narrow definition of confidence and find doable ways to build yours, you’re going to have more success at it.
Here are 5 things you can do to build your confidence.
1. Competence and skill
It feels good to be good at something and confident people usually have a skill or something that they’re good at.
Do this: become a better tennis player, pianist, YouTuber, cook, stock-trader, stylist, interior designer, or content creator. In the areas where you shine, you will attract others who value what you’re good at, and your pride in yourself will grow.
2. Healthy self-image
What we think about ourselves shows up in our conversations and in how we act in social situations. People who lack confidence are often self-deprecating, pessimistic, controlling, defensive, and rude.
Do this: Cut out the self-deprecating humor, it’s not funny, and fight the impulse to do any of that “covering behavior.” Work on your self-image instead. In an article in Psychology Today, Allison Abrams, LCSW-R shares 8 great tips to help you improve your self-image. One of her tips is to exercise and I highly recommend you start there if you don’t know where to start. There are plenty of studies that prove exercise’s positive effects on self-esteem, especially running.
Do this: Consider a mindfulness meditation practice to help you makeover negative self-talk. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown offers an antidote for the unrealistic messages that can harm our self-image while inspiring readers to live authentically. To be human is to have flaws, but to love yourself anyway—that’s priceless.
Would being at a healthy weight and looking toned help you feel better about yourself? If that’s a goal, commit to a healthy lifestyle. In other words, go all in. One of the best definitions of confidence I ever read went something like this: Confidence is the extent to which you can trust yourself to keep your word.
Do this: Consider hiring a personal trainer for a few months, i.e, get help and have a plan. A trainer will help you see results faster, learn fitness expertise, and keep you accountable so that you can get to the stage where you’re hooked on exercise. Approach all of your goals like that— with a commitment to a lifestyle change, not just a short-term fix, and do everything you can, to set yourself up for success.
Self-integrity is about being true to your values and what you stand for in life. As other “pleasers” have learned, you’re not going to be happy with yourself if you make choices that are at odds with who you really are.
Do this: Find the people who share your values. These people will really see and appreciate you for you. In the end, being seen is what you really want anyway.
5. Your own version of charisma
Charisma is often associated with extroversion, but introverts can be charismatic in their own way. The Greek definition of charisma is “favor freely given” or “gift of grace.” When you look at charisma from that angle, anyone can develop charisma.
Do this: Develop your listening skills to help you get comfortable giving others the spotlight. Allow yourself to find the humor in little things. Build people up instead of piling on the sarcasm. In conversations, show enthusiasm and be genuinely interested in what others have to say. Humility, as C.S. Lewis once said, is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. In other words, get out of your head. Meditation (yes, yes, I recommend it for a lot of things) can help you with that.
The type of confidence I’m looking at here is free from superficial external attachments. It’s about being the best version of yourself by having a skill, accepting yourself while improving what you can, living your values, and giving others the gift of grace.
Now, doesn’t that seem easier— more achievable? Remember, no one is born with charisma. It may come more naturally to some people, but it is a learned trait.
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.