The best gift you can give yourself is confidence. It’s a game changer in work, love and life. Plus, it brings out your natural beauty in unbelievable ways. Like most things, confidence can ebb and flow with the seasons of life, but the good news is that it can always be practiced and improved.
Building confidence that shines may take time, but it’s a simple process because it hinges on the decisions you make every day. So how do you cultivate this magical mojo that radiates goodness in all directions? It all comes down to these 4 things.
Always trust your gut
How many times have you second-guessed yourself only to find that your instincts were correct? Probably more than a few. We’re all guilty of this! But actually, there’s science that explains the reason why “going with your gut” is sound advice. According to Harvard researchers, the entire digestive tract is lined by a neural network of 100 million neurons; that’s more than there are in the spinal cord.
Anytime you weigh a decision, your brain works with your gut to make the best decision for your circumstance. And that pit you feel in your stomach as you consider your options? That’s your intuition at work. Outcomes aside, trusting your intuition builds confidence over time.
Next time you’re faced with a decision – even a small one – stick with your initial inclination. Don’t subject yourself to the turmoil that comes with analysis paralysis. Practice listening to your gut and doing what feels right to you in the moment. The more often you do this, the more self-trust becomes second nature.
Do you, no matter what
Do you typically default to putting yourself second? If you usually go along with what others want to avoid friction, you might be missing out on some of your favorite things. Compromise is healthy but ignoring yourself isn’t. You have wants, needs and preferences, too. And they’re just as valid as everyone else's. How you spend your time is an essential part of building confidence. You have to live in a way that reflects your values. Protecting, planning and savoring your time makes all the difference.
You’ve heard it before, but fill your cup first. Honor what makes you happy by starting your decision-making process with a single question, “What do I really want?” Do you want to make more time for morning yoga? Reserve more freedom in your hectic schedule? When making decisions big and small, ask yourself if the outcome aligns with what you truly want for yourself.
You can’t make more time but you can control how you spend it and what your self-narrative sounds like. Take this as your sign to do you. With more pride in how you spend your days and a deepening sense of self, your inner voice will be singing your praises in no time. Bonus points if you write down the parts of your day that felt the most “you” in your daily journal.
Be your own advocate
Standing up for yourself isn’t easy, but it lays the groundwork for some of your most defining moments. We all have some degree of self-doubt. But when we face external adversity, sometimes that negative feedback actually reinforces our doubtful thoughts and perpetuates negative self-talk. By standing up for yourself, even when you feel some degree of uncertainty, you’re sending a powerful message to the world – and to yourself.
Tell the naysayers why they’re wrong to doubt you and shift the tone of your inner voice in the process. You wouldn’t let anyone put down or walk on a close friend, so why stand by while others do it to you? Treat yourself the same way you would a dear friend and watch your confidence flourish.
Sometimes self-care falls by the wayside when life gets busy. Besides the obvious challenges, like burnout, neglecting your self-care routine is actually a threat to overall confidence and one’s sense of self. Consider what you’re doing each day to recharge physically, emotionally and mentally. As counterintuitive as it can seem, scheduling time for self-care creates space for better overall health and wellness.
Whether you do your daily routine all at once or divide it into smaller “breaks,” prioritizing your own needs fuels your confidence in all areas of life. These simple, tactical rituals actually make you more resilient during particularly stressful moments, staving off overwhelm and reinforcing a sense of calm.
What exactly constitutes self-care? It’s everything you expect, like exercise, mindful eating, sleep hygiene and meditation, but it’s also so much more. It includes methods of self-expression and creativity, relaxation activities like journaling, cultivating healthy relationships, and restful mental stimulation while doing puzzles, listening to music, or reading. In a nutshell, you can do more with the energy you create from putting yourself first again.
The key ingredients for a confidence makeover are all a matter of reframing situations in daily life. Trusting your gut, reconsidering how you spend your time, standing up for yourself and prioritizing self-care have transformational effects on your overall sense of self. With all that natural beauty shining from the inside out, your smile might be 100 watts brighter.
And the best part of all is that confidence is infectious. To share this magic with others in your circle, help them set goals for themselves, support them as they identify their own strengths and triggers, be a sounding board focused on optimism, and encourage them to prioritize self-care, too.