Your self image is your most important asset that contributes to your level of confidence. How do you answer the following questions?
Do you lack the confidence to walk up to people to just say hello? Are you immensely terrified to stand in front of a big group of people? Or are you always super-aware of everything you do when there are others around you?
Do you think those were the answers you hoped you would get from asking yourself, or is there room for improvement?
I feel the most uncomfortable when I’m around a lot of people, and it is always a challenge to overcome such situations. This is mainly because I always have a feeling people look at me and I’m the center of attention, which I don’t like. It’s something I’m working on by telling myself that people just do their stuff and don’t look at me consciously, or maybe they are, but I shouldn’t care.
Has it something to do with my self image? I don’t know. But after applying the strategies I’ll discuss in this article, I felt a lot better.
Why You Should Improve Your Self Image
Most people aren’t aware of how they are talking to themselves; they might even be the only person in their lives who are putting them down.
It’s not about how you see yourself, or even how someone else sees you. I can’t put it in better words than Thomas Cooley:
“I’m not what I think I am. I’m not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.”
So, to improve the way you think someone else thinks about you, you have to start by developing your self image. The way you see yourself is the most important because if you see yourself as a loser, you’ll act like a loser.
From here on out, you will learn 11 ways on how to improve that self image of yours!
1. You Are Human. You’re Okay
The first thing I want you to know is that everyone feels insecure from time to time. No matter how confident the person may seem, everyone feels anxious or nervous when they have to talk in front of thousands of people. Maybe just a little but they feel it, believe me.
Now, your situation might not be as daunting as talking to thousands of people, but it can still be scary. What you don’t know is that people are way more forgiving towards you than you are to yourself. If you mess up, they’ll understand.
You should accept the fact that you’re a human being and not a robot. Which means you’re going to make mistakes – even robots mess up.
2. Get Rejected, 30-day Rejection Challenge
A lot of times, we are insecure because we fear to be rejected by others. Have you ever made a joke in a group and nobody laughed? (My mom experienced this a lot, sorry mom!) This is a perfect example where the fear of rejection gets you. But how do you overcome that fear of rejection?
My personal experience with rejection
I had to deal with this myself at one point in my life, and I thought about several ways to go about it. Finally, I chose to become a door-to-door salesperson for an energy company (which are hated the most in The Netherlands, where I did this).
On the first day, I didn’t knock on any door myself, I just walked with the experienced guys and tried to pitch as far as I could before I messed up and they took over. It felt horrible, but I knew why I did it, so I kept going.
On the second day, they said to me, “It’s time to do it on your own, shall I watch?” Hell no, don’t watch me fail, let me fail alone, please. 98 out of 100 doors get slapped in your face after they open up and see that you’re a salesperson. So I messed up multiple times, and then it came to me that it didn’t even matter. I wouldn’t see these people again, ever.
After I kept messing up and I would eventually go for good talks and empathize with the people instead of trying to sell. I had fun talking, but I didn’t sell a lot. Ultimately it was time for me to go because the company wasn’t happy with my numbers – which I totally understood – so I left more confident than I came.
This was not easy, but it was worth it. Now, I don’t feel uncomfortable quickly, and when I do I just say to myself, “It’s a good day to mess up!”
The 30-day rejection challenge
Another way to go about it is to do a 30-day rejection challenge where you try to get rejected every day for something for 30 consecutive days. I saw this idea of Jia Jiang in his TED Talk (although he did a 100-day challenge) and I think it’s an excellent way to go about it.
Try it for yourself!
3. What Do You Think Of Yourself?
What a lot of people don’t take into account is that we are our own most prominent critics. Nobody can be as hard on us as we are on ourselves. This can be useful sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but it can also be very destructive.
I experience a lot of this because I have a lot of things to do on a given day. And if I think I could’ve done more – which is always the case – I beat myself up for not doing more. The problem is, I do way more than 75% of the people in this world.
So what I want you to understand is this: every negative thing you tell yourself is just not correct. Do you say to yourself that you’re ugly all the time? Stop, you’re not, okay? You’re beautiful, and you’ve already won. The chance of becoming human is basically zero (1 in 10+2,685,000 zero’s). And you were the one who made it, isn’t it amazing?
How do we end this inner critic of ours and start being nice for ourselves?
Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself positive affirmations (even if you don’t believe them yet). Some examples can be:
- [Your name], I love you!
- [Your name], you are strong!
- [Your name], I believe in you!
- [Your name], you are beautiful!
- [Your name], you are confident!
- [Your name], others look up to you as their powerful and inspiring leader.
- [Your name], you always say what you think without hesitation.
You could also state these in the ‘I am’ form. Whatever you do, talk nicely to yourself for once. Believe me; it will feel amazing.
4. Fake It
“Fake it till you make it.”
Haven’t you heard that somewhere? Well, it can actually help with your confidence as well.
Research shows that if you maintain a good posture (chest up and back straight)– the kind of posture bodybuilders take to force their muscles – you will feel more confident. Try it out, push your chest out and hold your back straight, do you feel better now?
Another thing you can do is act positive, even if you don’t feel like it. You are what you do, so if you act positive, you will eventually feel positive feelings. This also means that you will feel more confident than before.
The last thing you can do to fake your confidence is smiling. If you force a smile, your brains register it and will automatically release serotonin and dopamine which makes you feel happier thus more confident. There’s a trick to this. I picked it up at a random course on the internet.
The only things you need is a pen and your head. Now put the pen horizontally in your mouth and bite it with your teeth. Put the pen as far back as you can. What happens is that the same muscles will be activated which would typically be activated when you smile, and your brain will automatically release the ‘happiness’ hormones.
Try it, it will look stupid, but it’s fun!
5. Be True To Yourself
Do you have your own principles you live by? Like the Principles of Ray Dalio?
It’s important to have principles to stand by as a person. This way you’ll know exactly how to live and let yourself guide by your own beliefs.
I use this when I need to make an essential decision in my life. Based on what I think is the most important for me at the moment.
For example, health is the most important thing I have in life (value), I will never sacrifice it for something else (principle).
If you are a person of principles and always stand tall by them, people will respect them. If you’re just honest about it, everyone will know and get used to it.
It’s unique in this world to be yourself, to not give in to others persuasions or go along with a trend just because it’s a trend. If you are just you, no one will question what you do.
Before you can be you, you’ll have to get to know yourself. This post, ‘Life Vision: HOW TO Create A Vision For Your Life’ on my blog will help you on your way.
As you may know, exercise has many benefits. Some of them are listed below:
- Reduce your risk for illnesses such as cancer and diabetes type 2
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
This is already convincing enough to at least try it for yourself.
Other things to keep in mind is that when you look good(because you exercise), you’ll also feel good. And you won’t be as stressed as much if you don’t see progress immediately because you know you are a work in progress.
Now comes the important part, how could you apply this right now at the moment?
There are many ways, such as dancing, jumping up and down, doing jumping squats, do pushups or run like a madman. You can do whatever feels good at the moment to get the effect of exercising. Just exercise intensely before you need your confidence, and you’ll feel amazing– after you’ve watched your breath.
Try it and implement it in your daily routine.
Another thing that can help you calm down and feel more confident is to take a breath for a second.
Just take a breath and close your eyes. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Feel the calmness already? Do this for about a minute, then open your eyes again.
Now, if you feel already like you got this, go do whatever you were scared for. If not, scream, jump or dance, do whatever is weird to shake off that insecurity and become your greatest version for a sec.
8. Face It
“F.E.A.R. has two meanings – Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise, the choice is yours!”
By facing your biggest fears, you’ll come to find out that all the fear was made up inside your head. The thing you feared so much didn’t even exist. Maybe it’s going up to a girl/boy you like. And when you eventually do it, it turns out he/she wanted to talk with you too!
If you don’t face your fears now, you may regret it later or never know which opportunities would come from that situation. Sometimes you just gotta do it and say “Fuck it!”.
Tomorrow might not be there for you anymore. You could die tonight (don’t worry it’s probably not going to happen). But I’m serious; you don’t know how long you have left in this life so you might as well take your chances now instead of never knowing what would’ve happened.
9. Think About Accomplishments
Think about every accomplishment you ever had in your life. This can be as small as bike riding or being able to draw a stickman. If you look at all these ‘wins’ you’ve had, you will feel way more confident about yourself because you know you can do so much.
I realized this recently, so I made a file in Evernote to keep track of all the goals I already accomplished. Usually, I would just delete them and come up with new goals, but now I just copy them in the other file before moving on to my next goals.
If you haven’t made a file of your accomplishments yet, I would highly recommend you do!
10. Be Ready To Fail
Something that might seem a bit contradicting is to prepare for failure (because that’s usually the fear, the fear of failure).
The first question you should ask yourself is, “What’s the worst that could happen if I fail?”Usually, this is not as bad as dying – unless you go skydiving. But seriously, maybe you have to present the yearly numbers at the company you work for in front of all the employees. If you mess up, what’s going to happen?
Yes, some people might laugh about it. Some people might even try to help you. And at worst, you get fired, so what? You can get another job or start something for yourself. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not like they’re going to beat you to death – otherwise, you should run while you still can.
So, make it really clear for yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you fail in this situation you’re afraid of. After that, come up with a plan on how you would recover from that. In case you would get fired, you could already search for other jobs you might apply to (don’t do it yet). Then you’re prepared for worst-case scenario although it likely won’t happen.
“Failure doesn’t come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up.”
Imagine you have to speak in front of thousands of people. You want to say something, but you black out, you don’t know what to say anymore.
Now you can choose to do either two things:
- Run away.
- Express your love for the audience.
What do you think is the best choice?
If you run away, they won’t understand, and you will feel bad.
If you express your love to your audience by saying how much you love them and how grateful you are that they’re all here, you will get everyone excited. From there you maybe remember what you wanted to say or go into your audience and engage with them, making it a fun time for both parties. You could also tell honestly to them how you forgot your text because they’ll more likely show compassion now you expressed your love for them.
Love is so powerful that it can cut through anything. Love is like the light that brings an end to the darkness.
“Whatever you put into the Universe will come back.”
If you put love, compassion, and kindness into the Universe, you will get it back. Maybe you’re in a different situation where you’re not feeling confident. Show love to a fellow human being, believe me, you will feel better.
Another thing you can do to feel more confident is to call a loved one. This can be a friend, relative or someone you just met. If you talk to them about your insecurity or not even that but just chat, you’ll feel much better.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
Whatever you choose to do, I believe in you. You should believe in yourself too. You can do this.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not feeling confident yet, it’s normal. It’s going to take a long time before you’ll be more confident and have an improved self image. And even then you will not feel 100% confident.
I hope these tips can help you become your greatest version and feel more confident.
I’m Marnix, and I’m a blogger, freelance content writer/marketer, and online entrepreneur.
On this blog, I help people become the best versions of themselves by finding their true selves through self-development. Sharing my knowledge, I learn(ed) in my personal life journey.
As a freelance content writer/marketer I help business/blogs spread their message through content that gets seen so many more people can benefit from it. If you’re interested in working with me, go to www.marnixbuijs.com