1. Mind your language
It might seem a small thing, but if there’s something deep inside believing that confidence is a bad thing (arrogant, complacent, brash etc), find an alternative word that works for you instead. Personally, I like to use assurance, self esteem, self belief, self trust, even “quiet confidence” to put a different spin on things.
2. Play to your strengths
Take a breath and take an honest look at your strengths, your skills and your abilities. Plus all the things that make you, you – your wonderful personality traits, your quirks and kindnesses. Encourage yourself to acknowledge them and let them seep inside to those wobbly foundations, so that a bedrock of security begins to emerge. OK, small plug here but this can be tricky to do on your own if your confidence is low – it’s something I’m great at doing with my clients. Come talk to me.
3. Try an affirmation or 2
Right, I know you’re cringing. I have a bit of a love hate things with affirmations too. But, done right, they really can help and it’s possible to find a style that gels with you. I’ll be returning to this again. But here’s a few quick pointers:
4. Talk to the toddler within (or train your inner puppy!)
Make friends with your inner critic – it’s doing its best. Though it may seem cruel, actually it just wants to keep you safe. But it’s not doing a good job. So say thank you to it, explain you’re trying a different approach, and say you’re not going to listen this time (I like to imagine turning down the volume dial).
Try talking to yourself as you would a toddler or a puppy (the part of your brain that’s running this voice is very basic). Give super simple messages and repeat them – encourage, encourage, encourage – praise everything that’s gone well – let the errors go. And remember – no naughty steps or dog houses here!
5. Let the good seep in
Start moving your focus dial from the shortcomings and negatives to the good stuff. Did you know you’re evolutionarily pre-programmed to focus on danger/problems/mistakes – so you don’t eat those berries that made you sick again? Encourage yourself to capture wins, successes, achievements however significant (journalling can be great here). Celebrate each one, even if it’s just with a smile, playing your favourite song, a lovely cup of tea.
And the next time someone pays you a complement, says you’ve done a good job or that you’re great, say thank you and let it seep in. Quell that instant reaction of rejection, and soak it up. For me, it really helped to remind myself “this is a gift from someone, don’t just shove it back”.