It is very easy for our self confidence to get battered over the years of life. No matter who you are or where you come from, we all deal with this to some extent.
Piling up years and years of experiences, it is easy to allow shortcomings (perceived or real), little negative comments, or sadly much larger negative events, to pile up to the point where we no longer feel very good about ourselves due to the ever growing mountain of “evidence” to the contrary.
Some call it simply “baggage” and, although it does exist, we can overcome it.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, these negative instances can create a powerful force causing us to believe these untruths about ourselves. That somehow we are not good enough or are not worthy to be valued.
These beliefs are false and today we are going to put them in their rightful place in the trash.
Let’s discuss how we can do that.
In order to have self-confidence, we have to value ourselves first and foremost.
And “value” in this sense is a verb, not a noun. “Value” is an action we take that shows whether or not something has value or is worthy of being valued. “Value” is an action we take when something is important and deserves to be cared for and respected.
To learn how to take the “value action” of valuing ourselves, which results in the building of self-confidence, let’s take a look at some examples of how we value other things in life.
Then we will find parallels in our own lives and apply similar appropriate actions to ourselves.
You’ll find it’s pretty simple.
Pick anything that you value in life. You’d be surprised how you treat many seemingly mundane, ordinary, inanimate objects with great value.
You always keep your clothes clean and folded nicely. Many people wait in long lines on Saturdays just to get their cars washed. You might edge and trim your lawn, which truly serves no functional purpose and is purely decorative.
Of how much more value are you?
Take a look around your own home and you’ll see examples everywhere.
In fact, let’s start there. Start in your kitchen. Take a look at your kitchen countertop.
How do you treat it? Do you clean it regularly? Or do you let food and dirt pile up on it? If it is a stone countertop, do you make sure to keep it clean to protect the finish of the stone?
More than likely you do. Countertops are expensive and can be unsightly to look at when they are not taken care of. You want to make sure you take care of them so your home looks nice and you don’t have to replace them due to damage.
You might even make a point of cleaning it at least once, if not several times a day, even if you’re tired, annoyed, or just don’t feel like it.
In other words, you value your countertops so you take appropriate actions that reflect that value, even if you don’t feel like it.
And if you don’t think they serve a great purpose, imagine not having them.
And again, of how much more value are you than a simple countertop?
The question now is, do you value yourself similarly?
If you do not, what message does that send to your conscious mind, subconscious mind, and even those around you?
How does that program your beliefs about yourself? Your feelings of self-worth? Your self-confidence?
It would be a shame if we valued our kitchen countertops more than we value ourselves.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at just four simple ways we all can take “value actions” that build and reinforce our own beliefs that we are worthy while building self-confidence.
1. Exercise to take care of our physical bodies and look our best
In order to function at your best, your body needs physical exercise to build and develop stronger muscles, stronger bones, as well as increase longevity.
By exercising your physical body, you are giving it the gifts of strength, usefulness and longevity. You are showering it with gifts, which is exactly what you might do for someone that is of the utmost value to you. You also tell your body (and yourself) that you are useful and capable!
What a simple way, available to all of us, to tell ourselves that we value ourselves!
Now consider the flip side.
What do we tell ourselves if we deny our bodies these gifts that it needs to function? Do we tell ourselves that we are not worthy of even the most basic of functions? That we are not useful? That we don’t matter?
If you do not take care of your body, exercise it, and give it what it needs to thrive and succeed, that is exactly what we tell ourselves.
Remember that the next time you exercise.
Or better yet, the next time you come up with a reason not to.
2. Wear clothes that fit
How you “adorn” your body also says a lot about how you value yourself. Do you ever just put on “whatever”, regardless of how it fits, because “who cares”?
Here’s the thing. If you don’t, how can you feel confident about yourself?
If your attitude is “who cares”, then you are doing the opposite of valuing yourself. Instead, you are quite literally telling yourself you are of no value, which results in no confidence.
Not caring about how you dress is the clothing equivalent of throwing in the towel. Frankly, you may as well be wearing one. You just don’t care anymore. Not only does that transmit those feelings and emotions to your mind, both conscious and subconscious, those feelings likely originated there in the first place.
But we don’t want those negative, self-deflating feelings there so we are going to reverse engineer the feelings we do want and kick out the ones we do not.
Caring about how you dress does not need to turn you into a fashionista. It does not need to make you materialistic or break the bank at all.
Instead, simply have an eye on wearing clothes that fit properly and are in good condition.
That’s all and it’s enough to put you at the head of the pack.
You don’t have to be fancy or even bold. You don’t have to be so put together that you turn heads. Frankly, these days just putting together a decent outfit that fits is enough to make you stand out from the crowd.
What is important is that you dress like you care about yourself. Remember, the four tips on this list create a feedback loop in three steps:
Step 1: Take an action to care for yourself.
Step 2: Your conscious and subconscious mind receive the message that you are worthy of being cared for.
Step 3: Your conscious and subconscious minds return that feeling, telling you that you are a person of value, resulting in a manifestation of the greater self-confidence you emulated in step 1.
So dress in a way that says you care, then watch over time as the value you showed yourself starts to seep into your beliefs and boosts your confidence.
3. Be active in caring for your mental health and wellbeing (such as by reading articles like this one!)
How you spend your time says a lot about how you feel about yourself and whether or not you feel you deserve to be valued.
If you value yourself, you will give yourself all the tools to be successful in life: in mind, spirit, and body. That means actively working on your mental wellbeing, whether that entails the practice of thinking positive thoughts, an affirmation practice, reading tips and advice on how to improve your mental state or mindset, or simply observing others who have qualities worth emulating then putting those qualities into practice yourself.
Remember, loving yourself equates to caring for yourself. Caring for yourself improves yourself, provides a source for confidence, and drives you to the life you desire and deserve. That all includes taking an active role in exercising and boosting your mental health and mindset.
If you care about yourself, you will take care of your mental health and mindset. If you don’t, you won’t.
It’s that simple.
4. Focus on how you treat others more than on how others treat you
It is very difficult, and rightfully so, to feel good about ourselves if we are not aiming to do right by others.
Which is why caring about yourself must include caring about others.
In fact, once we do care about ourselves and build our own self-confidence, it becomes that much easier to care for others.
Once we have our own internal sense of confidence, we tend to stop looking at others as competition because our confidence is secure. We no longer feel the need to be raised above another person in order to feel good about ourselves.
Feeling good about ourselves is our normal state, thus freeing us to build up others.
Caring for ourselves provides another delightful feedback loop:
Step 1: We care for ourselves.
Step 2: We boost our confidence.
Step 3: Secure in our confidence, we are free to care for others
Step 4: Caring for others is a form of caring for ourselves, return to step 1.
Round and round we go!
By focusing first on how we treat others rather than on how others treat us, we tell ourselves that our source of confidence is within us, not supplied by others. This will provide stability and a foundation that is very hard to shake, rather than being tossed to and fro by the opinions of others (those that matter and those that do not, of which there are a lot).
Lastly, when focusing first on how we treat others, we are positively examining our own behavior. That means we cannot be surprised by criticism nor can we be hurt by criticism nearly as much as when we are in a state of hopefulness that we are not worthy of any criticism.
If we are in such a state where our confidence is either supplied or denied to us by outside sources, any criticism can destroy whatever unstable confidence we might have, and wrongly so at that.
By focusing first on our own actions we are able to spot our own criticisms first. And by being in this state of mind, we are better prepared to gratefully accept just criticism from others constructively and reject unjust criticism without feeling its sting.
Anything that improves us is ultimately received as a blessing (even if it is hard to take) rather than as an offense since it cannot shake our sense of confidence and self-worth.
The common theme here is caring for and valuing yourself first, which comes in many different forms. Some may seem selfish and some may seem selfless. But what they all do is supply us with a more solid foundation of self-confidence and belief that prepares us for taking even bigger steps on the journey ahead.