Confidence is a major issue for people our age. We’re constantly concerned about what other people think of us, and we worry needlessly all of the time. It’s a well-cultivated myth that some people don’t feel afraid, they are just as freaked out about things as the rest of us, but they might be dealing with it in a different way in putting on a brave face and therefore appearing confident. Here are some tips that will hopefully take the strain off.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s so easy to look at an achievement and initially be very content with it, only to later compare it to the things that others have succeeded in doing and mentally belittle your own accomplishment. Yes, other people your age might have climbed Mount Everest for charity or be fluent in six languages, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not achieving enough. It just means that each person has different ambitions as well as a different pace for doing things.
2. Don’t blame yourself for your mistakes
‘There are no mistakes in life, only lessons’. This quote, taken from author Robin Sharma, completely embodies the attitude we ought to take toward those little hiccups in our life plan, which we mull over for hours on end and blame ourselves for afterwards. Try to take a situation where you feel that you made a mistake, maybe when you tried something risky in an essay which didn’t pay off, or a relationship that ended badly, and note down all the negative repercussions of that “mistake”. Then, think about all the positive things that resulted from it; maybe it’s now clearer in your head what an essay should contain, or perhaps your desire for independence has been reinforced. If you do this for every “mistake” you make, you’ll realise that there really isn’t any such thing as a mistake after all.
3. Wing it!
When people think you’re confident, and treat you as such, it can actually help a lot. Whether it’s dressing yourself up for a presentation so you feel good in yourself or repeating motivational mantras to yourself, creating an aura of positive feeling in a situation can really boost your spirits and therefore your ability to deal with an uncomfortable or stressful experience. ‘My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything – even if you have no clue what you’re doing’ Jessica Alba.
4. Confide in people close to you
It’s often said that a worry shared is a worry halved, which is so true when it comes to things that you’re not confident about. Telling people when you’re feeling insecure is not a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope, it’s a way to establish an environment of encouragement and understanding. If someone knows when you’re not fully comfortable with a situation, they’ll hopefully be able to reassure you that everything will turn out fine, and give you advice on how to deal with it.
5. Don’t worry about things that may or may not happen
Susan Jeffers in Feel the Fear…And Do it Anyway states that 90% of the things that we worry about never actually happen. The things we stress about when trying to get to sleep or when our mind absently wanders cause us so much pain and insecurity, when nine times out of ten they never occur. So stop yourself from mulling over those deadlines that aren’t until next month, and you’ll feel so much happier. Keep in mind this quotation from Thomas Jefferson: ‘How much pain they have cost us, the evils which never happened’.
6. Take pride in your achievements
On such a regular basis we forget about our successes, and it can severely hinder our confidence in trying out new things. I strongly recommend writing down everything you’re proud of doing, maybe since beginning university, and you’ll be surprised with the amount of situations you’ve overcome, such as living with completely new people, learning to cook, and doing your own washing. Then, if you’re feeling down at any point, look over the list and congratulate yourself on your impressive past.
7. The only way to overcome fear is to go out and do it
Repeatedly stopping yourself from trying something new is actually doing more damage to your confidence than if you were to go ahead and do it. Embracing the fear and going through with whatever it is will give you more self-belief that you can accomplish anything, and make you more willing to push yourself even further. The fear will never abide unless you conquer it.