Whenever you are paralyzed by your fear of taking on something challenging, try to come up with ways to overcome potential hurdles instead of concentrating on all that can go wrong. The average person has thousands of thoughts each day and much of this is negative. We are constantly talking to ourselves in our heads so it only makes sense to pay attention to the tone of our internal dialogues. With proper awareness, you can catch yourself when you have negative thoughts and dialogues and replace them with positive ones.
Most of us know one or more negative people in our lives. These are the negative Nancys who find fault in and complain about nearly everything. When we complain, we are in essence highlighting things that are wrong instead of focusing on what is right. Pay attention to your mindset and stop complaining about circumstances because it only amplifies negativity and does not help your self-confidence. Speaking positively and optimistically helps to change our mindsets and provide us with the confidence that things will get better.
Another way to help increase our self-belief is by accepting how things are. This does not mean that we should not make the effort to change negative situations. It merely means that we do not resist our current situation and make it worse than it already is. There are some things that we have the power to change and others which we cannot. Very often, it is not the situation that makes us upset but, rather, our thoughts about the situation. When my father passed away a few years ago, I was extremely upset and regretted that I did not spend more quality time with him.
There was nothing I could do about the situation so I had to accept it and not resist it. I also learned from it and decided to spend more quality time with my mother. Accept your current predicament for what it is without resisting it and make the effort to change what you can change. The kind of people we surround ourselves with affects how we think, feel and act. This affects our self-belief. Make it a point to spend most of your time with people who are positive, non-critical, and have an optimistic view on life.
These people will support and encourage you via their words and actions. They will lift you up as opposed to weigh you down. Just as we should surround ourselves with positive people who strengthen our self-confidence, we should avoid ones that do the opposite. Rid yourself of toxic friends, or at least limit the time you spend with them. Misery loves company so stay away from it. Another method to improve our self-confidence is to engage in activities that we enjoy and are good at. This has the effect of making us feel proficient at something and helping us become more confident in our abilities.
Most people are not good at something they try for the first time. They get better at it the more they do it. When we do things that we enjoy and are proficient at, it reminds us that we can apply that same mentality to other aspects of our lives and build our confidence. Whether it is surfing, art, playing a musical instrument, playing Scrabble, or computer programming, make it a point to indulge in activities that you love and do well. If you want to develop more self-confidence, find a mentor and ask for advice.
Most people do not take the time to find a mentor to teach them new skills and hone existing ones. If possible, find more than one mentor, each specializing in a field that you want to excel at. Tap into their expertise and get as much advice from them as possible. A good mentor will not only teach, they will also empower others by pointing out their strengths and boosting their self-confidence.
Closely related to the point above, identify people whom you admire and respect and learn all you can about them. If you want to be a good swimmer, it makes sense to study the habits of Michael Phelps. If your goal is to become a prolific writer of horror novels, understudy Stephen King. When I first conceived the idea to start this blog, I began reading the blogs of others who have successfully accomplished the same thing.
Learning from those whom we respect and admire builds confidence in our own abilities. After all, if they can do it despite all the obstacles they faced, so can we. Human nature is such that we tend to favor comfort over discomfort. We are constantly trying to make our lives more comfortable while we shun discomfort like the plague. But it is important to remember that being uncomfortable is often evidence that we are making progress. It is akin to exercising and being a little uncomfortable so that we can get more fit. When we embrace discomfort and remember that it is for a good cause, we develop more confidence in our ability to handle it.
What does not kill us really does make us stronger, and this applies to our self-belief, too. One of the best decisions I made in the last few years is to eradicate negative and frivolous TV and media from my life. The reason I did this was to limit negative influences that affected my psyche.
I then replaced it with positive TV, movies, books, and websites. The effect has been profound for me because I ridded myself of a lot of subliminal negativity that I was being brainwashed with. Most of the media that I now view either teaches me something valuable, inspires me, or both. Imagine if you were to replace gory murder shows with a show that highlights successful entrepreneurs. Not only will you reduce the amount of negativity that is in your life, you will also learn valuable skills and become more confident.
When we abuse drugs, alcohol, shopping, or anything else for that matter, it is often because we want to escape reality, even if it is for a short while. We seek to numb our pain and fear. What really happens is that the effects of intoxication or being high finally wear off and we feel terrible for doing it in the first place. We are grasping at straws in order to make ourselves feel better when we know full well that it is pointless.
We feel bad for having such destructive habits and addictions and that only drives us to indulge in our addiction even more in order to ease our shame. This explains why most people who abuse drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc, have low self-confidence, a reason they became addicted in the first place. If you have an addiction, seek professional help and try to eradicate the problem. It will work wonders for your self-esteem and confidence.
This might seem trivial, but it is not. Sitting and walking upright with our chest out actually has an effect on our moods and confidence level. This does not mean that if you simply sit up straight you will suddenly become the most confident person in the world. But it is another weapon in our confidence arsenal that we can use. There is not one person in this world who has not failed at something.
It is a natural part of life. Many of the most successful people in this world have failed numerous times. The difference is that they did not give up or allow themselves to stay down for too long. They licked their wounds, dusted themselves off, and learned from their failure. You see, our failures are some of the best learning opportunities that we will encounter. When we fail, we learn valuable lessons and become wiser. The only people who do not fail are those who do not try, and not trying is the ultimate failure. Look at your past failures as valuable lessons. Be grateful for them because they have taught you what does not work.
If you hold the belief that you are not good or worthy enough to accomplish something because of your past failures, review point number 3 and question this belief. All of us should view failure as a valuable lesson that makes us better. When we do this, our self-confidence does not need to suffer. In fact, we can actually use our failures to boost our self-confidence because we know that we have learned from our mistakes and are better off. There have been many studies done on the virtues of visualization and imagery and it has shown to be an effective way to help boost self-confidence.
In the same way that world-class athletes visualize their performance before competitions, we can visualize positive situations. Picture a time in your life when you were confident and recall how you felt. It is important to really feel it and absorb the experience. You can also visualize a time when you accomplished something difficult that you are proud of. Again, feel it with all your being.
You can even do this with future events. It is essential that you feel it as if you were there. Do not merely view it the way a camera records a movie. Be IN the movie and see yourself as the hero. Visualize the outcome you want to experience. Visualization works most effectively when you feel the reality of the moment as if you are actually there. It also works best if you visualize regularly and often when you are in a relaxed state. Similar to visualization and imagery, positive affirmations are short, positive statements that you repeat to yourself throughout the day.
They should be formed in the present tense to be most effective. Anytime you feel self-doubt encroaching, repeat the corresponding positive affirmation.
Replace the negative mind chatter with your empowering affirmations. Here are some examples:. It is important to remember that affirmations are most effective when said with feeling and conviction. It is also essential that the affirmations are repeated regularly and often. When combined with other techniques mentioned in this post, affirmations can be powerful. I repeat positive affirmations several times a day, when I wake up, before I meditate, and just before I go to sleep at night.
As we have discussed, most people are quicker to name their failures than their successes. In the same way, we also tend to focus on our weaknesses rather than our strengths. We often have to rely on the people closest to us to point out our strengths because we are blind to them. Make a list of your strengths ask your family and friends if you have to and paste it where you can review them every day.
I guarantee you that you have a lot more strengths than you acknowledge. You have value and talent that you often overlook. Our environment can have a substantial effect on our self-confidence.
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The people we associate with, our home, our schools, our workplace, the places we frequent, all play a part in building up or reducing our self-belief. For example, if you go to the gym, you will be surrounded by others who are motivated to be healthy, including some that are in worse shape than you are. The exercise machines, piped music, personal trainers, and bright lighting create a conducive atmosphere towards getting healthier.
All this encourages you to be better and encourages you to believe that you can do it. If you are trying to eat healthier, get rid of all the unhealthy food in your home and office and replace it with better alternatives. This helps to reduce temptation and encourage better habits which, in turn, increase your confidence.
Have you ever felt better after a haircut, a warm shower, and shave? All of us have experienced this. Proper grooming makes us feel better about ourselves and increases our self-pride and confidence. The way we dress also affects our self-confidence. While it does not mean that you suddenly become Mr. Confident the moment you put on your suit, dressing well makes a difference by boosting self-confidence. Others notice and treat us like we are successful, and that also makes us feel good. Because you look your best, you subconsciously feel better. Proper nutrition is another way to boost self-confidence that is often overlooked.
Our brains are nourished by what we put into our mouths. When we eat a well-balanced diet, our moods improve and we feel better. Too much sugar and caffeine can cause mood swings and erratic behavior. Insufficient essential fatty acids like omega-3, for example, have been linked to depression. When we watch what we eat and give our bodies the food it needs, we get healthier and improve our mental and psychological well-being.
Fear is a natural phenomenon that all of us experience. It is a necessary component in keeping us alive and safe.
However, when carried too far, fear becomes debilitating and demoralizing. It can cause us to lose confidence in our abilities. In order to manage our fear properly and not let it affect our ability to take calculated risks and venture outside of our comfort zone, it is important that we acknowledge it. For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MentalHelp. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment.
Neither MentalHelp. With that in mind, would you like to learn about some of the best options for treatment in the country? When you are in a good mood and when you have a positive attitude about yourself, ask yourself the following questions about each negative thought you have noticed: Is this message really true?
Would a person say this to another person? If not, why am I saying it to myself? What do I get out of thinking this thought? If it makes me feel badly about myself, why not stop thinking it? You can work on changing your negative thoughts to positive ones by: Replacing the negative thought with the positive one every time you realize you are thinking the negative thought. Negative Thought Positive Thought I am not worth anything. I am a valuable person. I have never accomplished anything. I have accomplished many things. I always make mistakes. I do many things well. I am a jerk. I am a great person.
I don't deserve a good life. I deserve to be happy and healthy. I am stupid. This led to new elements being introduced to the concept of self-esteem, including the reasons why people tend to feel less worthy and why people become discouraged or unable to meet challenges by themselves. In the political scientist Francis Fukuyama associated self-esteem with what Plato called thymos - the " spiritedness " part of the Platonic soul.
As of [update] the core self-evaluations approach included self-esteem as one of four dimensions that comprise one's fundamental appraisal of oneself - along with locus of control , neuroticism , and self-efficacy. The importance of self-esteem gained endorsement from some government and non-government groups starting around the s, such that one can speak of a self-esteem movement. A leading figure of the movement, psychologist Nathaniel Branden , stated: "[I] cannot think of a single psychological problem — from anxiety and depression, to fear of intimacy or of success, to spouse battery or child molestation — that is not traced back to the problem of low self-esteem".
Self-esteem was believed [ by whom?
Vasconcellos argued that this task force could combat many of the state's problems - from crime and teen pregnancy to school underachievement and pollution. The task force set up committees in many California counties and formed a committee of scholars to review the available literature on self-esteem. This committee found very small associations between low self-esteem and its assumed consequences, ultimately showing that low self-esteem is not the root of all societal problems and not as important as the committee had originally thought.
However, the authors of the paper that summarized the review of the literature still believe that self-esteem is an independent variable that affects major social problems. Many early theories suggested that self-esteem is a basic human need or motivation. American psychologist Abraham Maslow included self-esteem in his hierarchy of human needs.
He described two different forms of "esteem": the need for respect from others in the form of recognition, success, and admiration, and the need for self-respect in the form of self-love, self-confidence, skill, or aptitude. According to Maslow, without the fulfillment of the self-esteem need, individuals will be driven to seek it and unable to grow and obtain self-actualization. Maslow also states that the healthiest expression of self-esteem "is the one which manifests in respect we deserve for others, more than renown, fame and flattery". Modern theories of self-esteem explore the reasons humans are motivated to maintain a high regard for themselves.
Sociometer theory maintains that self-esteem evolved to check one's level of status and acceptance in ones' social group. According to Terror Management Theory , self-esteem serves a protective function and reduces anxiety about life and death. Self-esteem is important because it shows us how we view the way we are and the sense of our personal value. Thus, it affects the way we are and act in the world and the way we are related to everybody else.
Carl Rogers , an advocate of humanistic psychology , theorized the origin of many people's problems to be that they despise themselves and consider themselves worthless and incapable of being loved. This is why Rogers believed in the importance of giving unconditional acceptance to a client and when this was done it could improve the client's self-esteem.
One of the most widely used instruments, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale RSES is a item self-esteem scale score that requires participants to indicate their level of agreement with a series of statements about themselves. An alternative measure, The Coopersmith Inventory uses a question battery over a variety of topics and asks subjects whether they rate someone as similar or dissimilar to themselves. If those answers reveal some inner shame, it considers them to be prone to social deviance.
Implicit measures of self-esteem began to be used in the s. When used to assess implicit self-esteem, psychologists feature self-relevant stimuli to the participant and then measure how quickly a person identifies positive or negative stimuli. Experiences in a person's life are a major source of how self-esteem develops.
These feelings translate into later effects on self-esteem as the child grows older. Although studies thus far have reported only a correlation of warm, supportive parenting styles mainly authoritative and permissive with children having high self-esteem, these parenting styles could easily be thought of as having some causal effect in self-esteem development. Experiences that contribute to low self-esteem include being harshly criticized, being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, being ignored, ridiculed or teased or being expected to be "perfect" all the time.
During school-aged years, academic achievement is a significant contributor to self-esteem development. As children go through school, they begin to understand and recognize differences between themselves and their classmates. Using social comparisons, children assess whether they did better or worse than classmates in different activities. These comparisons play an important role in shaping the child's self-esteem and influence the positive or negative feelings they have about themselves. Adolescents make appraisals of themselves based on their relationships with close friends.
Social acceptance brings about confidence and produces high self-esteem, whereas rejection from peers and loneliness brings about self-doubts and produces low self-esteem. Adolescence shows an increase in self-esteem that continues to increase in young adulthood and middle age. High levels of mastery, low risk taking, and better health are ways to predict higher self-esteem. In terms of personality, emotionally stable, extroverted, and conscientious individuals experience higher self-esteem. However, during old age, they experience a more rapid decline in self-esteem.
Shame can be a contributor to those with problems of low self-esteem. A poor performance leads to higher responses of psychological states that indicate a threat to the social self namely a decrease in social self-esteem and an increase in shame. There are three levels of self-evaluation development in relation to the real self, ideal self, and the dreaded self. The real, ideal, and dreaded selves develop in children in a sequential pattern on cognitive levels.
This development brings with it increasingly complicated and encompassing moral demands. Level 3 is where individuals' self-esteem can suffer because they do not feel as though they are living up to certain expectations. This feeling will moderately effect one's self-esteem with an even larger effect seen when individuals believe they are becoming their Dreaded Self . People with a healthy level of self-esteem: . A person can have a high self-esteem and hold it confidently where they do not need reassurance from others to maintain their positive self view, whereas others with defensive high self-esteem may still report positive self-evaluations on the Rosenberg Scale, as all high self-esteem individuals do; however, their positive self-views are fragile and vulnerable to criticism.
Defensive high self-esteem individuals internalize subconscious self-doubts and insecurities, causing them to react very negatively to any criticism they may receive. There is a need for constant positive feedback from others for these individuals to maintain their feelings of self-worth.
The necessity of repeated praise can be associated with boastful, arrogant behavior or sometimes even aggressive and hostile feelings toward anyone who questions the individual's self-worth, an example of threatened egotism. Implicit self-esteem refers to a person's disposition to evaluate themselves positively or negatively in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner.
It contrasts with explicit self-esteem , which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation. Both explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem are subtypes of self-esteem proper. Narcissism is a disposition people may have that represents an excessive love for one's self. It is characterized by an inflated view of self-worth. Individuals who score high on Narcissism measures, Robert Raskin's 40 Item True or False Test , would likely select true to such statements as "If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.
Threatened egotism is characterized as a response to criticism that threatens the ego of narcissists; they often react in a hostile and aggressive manner. Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, mental health issues, socioeconomic status, significant emotional experiences, peer pressure or bullying. A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following characteristics: . Individuals with low self-esteem tend to be critical of themselves.
Some depend on the approval and praise of others when evaluating self-worth. Others may measure their likability in terms of successes: others will accept themselves if they succeed but will not if they fail. This classification proposed by Martin Ross  distinguishes three states of self-esteem compared to the "feats" triumphs , honors , virtues and the "anti-feats" defeats , embarrassment , shame , etc. The individual does not regard themselves as valuable or lovable. They may be overwhelmed by defeat, or shame, or see themselves as such, and they name their "anti-feat".
For example, if they consider that being over a certain age is an anti-feat, they define themselves with the name of their anti-feat, and say, "I am old". They express actions and feelings such as pity, insulting themselves, and they may become paralyzed by their sadness. The individual has a generally positive self-image. However, their self-esteem is also vulnerable to the perceived risk of an imminent anti-feat such as defeat, embarrassment, shame, discredit , consequently they are often nervous and regularly use defense mechanisms.
Although such individuals may outwardly exhibit great self-confidence, the underlying reality may be just the opposite: the apparent self-confidence is indicative of their heightened fear of anti-feats and the fragility of their self-esteem. They may employ defense mechanisms, including attempting to lose at games and other competitions in order to protect their self-image by publicly dissociating themselves from a 'need to win', and asserting an independence from social acceptance which they may deeply desire.
In this deep fear of being unaccepted by an individual's peers, they make poor life choices by making risky choices. People with strong self-esteem have a positive self-image and enough strength so that anti-feats do not subdue their self-esteem. They have less fear of failure.
These individuals appear humble, cheerful, and this shows a certain strength not to boast about feats and not to be afraid of anti-feats. They can acknowledge their own mistakes precisely because their self-image is strong, and this acknowledgment will not impair or affect their self-image. A distinction is made between contingent or conditional  and non-contingent or unconditional  self-esteem.
Contingent self-esteem is derived from external sources, such as a what others say, b one's success or failure, c one's competence,  or d relationship-contingent self-esteem. Therefore, contingent self-esteem is marked by instability, unreliability, and vulnerability. Persons lacking a non-contingent self-esteem are "predisposed to an incessant pursuit of self-value. No one receives constant approval and disapproval often evokes depression.