The day I realized that confidence is not innate, that it is built by action and habit, my self-esteem started to rise. Slowly but surely.
So here is a list of baby-steps you can take on an everyday basis in order to boost your confidence. Some of them might look absurd, but if you try to go too fast -by attempting to accomplish big things while lacking self-esteem- you’re more likely to fail and enter a low self-esteem spiral.
1. Change your mind once or twice next time you order food or coffee somewhere
« The customer is king », they said. Yet lots of people with low self-esteem struggle to stick to this old adage. If you’re in this case, deliberately changing your mind is an easy way to step out of your comfort zone. The hurried corporate queueing behind you at Starbucks might grumble, but actually, 99% of people won’t judge you. Most people don’t care.
2. Call a long lost friend and ask them out
Are you afraid of rejection? Well, face it. Worst case scenario, they won’t reply. Experiencing failure will make you realize that it is less terrible than you think. Try another old friend, until it works out! And don’t hide or reschedule on the big day!! Seeing a long lost, dear friend can only bring more joy into your life.
3. Smile at at least one stranger a day
Let’s put it the other way around: how would you feel if a complete stranger smiled at you in the street or in the tube, for no reason, before carrying on with their path? And even if they don’t smile back, you would have warmed their heart. Kindness never hurt anybody. Besides, according to research, smiling can trick your brain to happiness. It’s a win-win!
4. Remind yourself to speak 10 dB louder
Have you ever felt ashamed because you asked something in a group conversation, but nobody was listening to you? If you identify as a low self-esteem individual, I’m pretty sure it was because you didn’t speak loudly enough. So nobody heard you.
Low self-esteem really is a vicious cycle, so it is vital that you try and break it. Force yourself into speaking louder!! If needed, draw a symbol on your hand as a reminder. What may sound loud to you is actually normal functioning volume for a more confident person. So don’t be afraid to speak up!
5. Suddenly changing directions while walking down the street
Do it on purpose! Fear of looking lost is also symptomatic of people lacking confidence. Personally, I found repeating this one quite efficient. Next time you walk past a begger, come back on your steps and give them a penny. How could you be ashamed of yourself for doing this one? Besides… Do you even care when somebody changes directions in the street?
6. Compliment an acquaintance at your school or workplace
Not somebody you know well, not your gossip partner, just an acquaintance. But don’t be a Regina George: it needs to be genuine. You can compliment them about their style, a recent achievement… whatever you like!
7. Find a place where you feel safe and where you like going alone
If you manage to enjoy spending quality time alone, you’re more likely to end up eventually liking yourself. It’s easier to start in a place where you feel like you fit in, like part of a community. It could range from a co-working space to a small cinema, to a church or a communist cafe; as long as it has positive vibes. Wherever the true you expresses itself!
8. Do your own makeover
Revisit your style. Feel free to check out the article on how to unleash your inner rockstar (even if you’re on a budget).
9. Smell good
Let’s be clear about this one: I’m not asking you to overdo it with the fancy perfume. However, the simple fact of finding a shampoo or body lotion which smell you really enjoy can actually boost both your mood and confidence, (almost) effortlessly.
10. Be a one-(wo)man show
I am a very, very clumsy person. I used to feel so ashamed that I couldn’t function when spilling a drink or lacing my shoes while somebody was watching me. However, the day I started laughing at my clumsiness, and making jokes about it, the shame progressively faded away. So see yourself as a funny personnage. Better live life as a comedy, than a tragedy!
In a nutshell, the 3 key elements are:
— Embracing your fear of other people’s judgement: nobody actually cares. Only facing your fear can actually make you realize that.
— Trading your fearful attitude for a more assured one. Walk tall! It may look artificial at first sight: but confidence works like a placebo. You need to trick yourself into it.
— Consistency: trust the process!
Let me know if these techniques work for you DM (@the.epigrammer on Instagram), and feel free to add on to the list!