When learning something new, we usually aren’t very good at it. Please know that this is normal. If you want to bolster your confidence with a particular skill, the best way to do that is to practice, practice, practice.
If you are someone who expects yourself to be an expert with new skills or knowledge right away, getting yourself to engage in practicing that skill can be difficult. Try redefining success as being engaged in growing as a person, rather than executing a skill perfectly.
It can be challenging for us to believe in our abilities, even when they are clear to other people. We can distract ourselves from living our own brilliance by comparing our talents to those of other people. We forget that we are our own unique mix of strengths and gifts, different from anyone else and very much needed just as we are.
You may have had an experience growing up, either at school or with your family, of really shining at something and getting in trouble for it. Some of us were discouraged from bringing too much attention to ourselves, as though it were bad manners to be gifted at something. Or you may have drawn fire from someone who was jealous or uncomfortable with your innate talents.
In this case, you may need to give yourself permission to go against the “rules” of your parents or teachers. Doing some work to further separate yourself from their influence may be helpful.
When we lack confidence generally or in a particular area of our life we tend to hold back. Confidence can evolve naturally from having a lot of experience practicing a skill, but if we are holding ourselves back from practicing then we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to develop confidence in that way.
In addition to practicing, here are a few more ways to boost your confidence:
- Remind yourself of past accomplishments and successes. You might want to write about them and keep it someplace you can reread it when you need a boost. One exercise I sometimes invite people to do in my classes is to think of a time when you were bold or courageous and it worked out, then write about it.
- When someone gives you positive feedback that’s meaningful to you, save it someplace you can refer back to. If they gave this compliment verbally, jot it down. If they wrote you an email or a card, you might want to post it in a place where you see it regularly.
- Our body posture actually influences the way we think. You can use this to your advantage by taking 2 minutes to strike a “power pose.” Think of your favorite superhero standing strong with head held high, shoulders back, hands on their hips. Or you can put your arms up in the air like an athlete who has just won a gold medal. Holding this pose for just 2 minutes will actually impact your mood and your thoughts.
- There’s an old saying: “fake it ’til you make it.” This can be helpful when it comes to building confidence. Adopt the body language, posture, gestures, expressions and tone of voice that go along with being genuinely confident and practice acting that way. You can play with this in relatively low stakes situations like when you’re at the grocery store. This way it’s easier to tap into before going into a situation that makes you nervous.
- An affirmation can be helpful with building confidence. An affirmation is basically creating a new thinking habit by deliberately repeating the new thought. Like any new habit, it takes repetition for the new habit to take hold. It helps if the statement you come up with is one that you can believe, at least a little bit. If the statement brings up resistance and disbelief for you then you’re just practicing resistance and disbelief around the thought.
- Notice people who are like you, with similar background, education, or age, who are successful. Instead of comparing yourself to them, see if you can take it as proof that you can do it, too.
Dreams that encourage confidence
Your Higher Self communicates to you each night through your dreams. Though these symbols can hold other meanings as well, dream symbols that convey your Higher Self wants you to be more confident are:
- men, especially a man who is very confident. This is not because men are more confident than woman; it’s because confidence draws on masculine energy, which we all have.
- the number 1–this reminds you that you are unique.
- the color white, especially when mixed or featured with other colors, can reflect faith, hope, or confidence.
- being especially confident in a dream OR having a notable lack of confidence, such as telling other dream characters you’re not capable.
If you’re curious to hear more about how confidence shows up in dreams, hop on over to our radio show archive to listen to this episode.
“We have to risk being full of ourselves in order to see what we’re full of.” ~ Michael Meade