How do you feel about yourself? Self-esteem can be hard to come by. Although we’re all born with complete lack of self-awareness, stuff happens along the way as we grow up that makes us begin to question ourselves. We start to compare ourselves to others and wonder, am I as good as they are? Do I measure up? Self-confidence goes hand in hand with fitness and health to help us live out the best possible version of our lives that we can.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about building self-confidence, and ways you can practice to begin to feel better about yourself.
Stop Judging Others
I used to constantly judge other people in my head: from what they wore to how they talked to what they did. I realized one day that because I was judging others, I was also projecting that THEY were judging ME. Once I learned to let judgements of others go I began to think less and less about what the world thought of me. I also stopped engaging in drama and gossip, which had the exact same effect. Do others judge me? I’m sure they do, it’s human nature. But I don’t think about it, so to me, it doesn’t exist.
Take Care of Yourself
There is a quiet confidence in knowing that you are strong, healthy, and the best version of yourself. By exercising, eating healthy food, relieving stress, getting enough sleep, dressing yourself well, etc, you will show others that you are someone who is worthy, and this is how they will also treat you.
Don’t Internalize Judgements
People are going to talk about you, it’s inevitable. And the more successful you become, the more they will talk. A crucial skill in self-esteem is being able to see judgements for what they are–someone else’s perception through their own projection of you. There is no truth, only your truth. If someone told you or others that you were a mailbox, would that hurt you? Would you think, wow, am I a mailbox? How dare they think I am a mailbox! No, it would be ridiculous to you because you know this to not be true. Think of others’ judgements of you in this context.
Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones
This takes some practice, but negativity is like a sinking anchor to your self-confidence. Every time a negative thought comes into your mind, imagine it evaporating away. You can do this by taking your negative thought and replacing it with a positive one. So “I hate my body!” becomes “I’m so grateful to have a healthy body”. Related: surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself.
Think of Can’t as a Bad Word
How many times do you tell yourself you can’t? What would you be able to achieve if you really explored all the things you say you can’t do, and found ways to make them happen instead? This comes in especially handy for busting through your excuses not to eat right or exercise.
Avoid Identifying with a Single Trait
Do you find all of your self-worth in the fact that you have a doctorate, or because of your big muscles, or because you have a large amount of money, etc? What would happen if suddenly you lost that quality or it didn’t matter anymore? Know that you are worthy as is, the way you came into this world, at the basic core of who you are. Having and enjoying the other qualities is great, but don’t center your self-esteem around only them.
Why NOT me?
Recognize that those who achieve their goals and dreams are no different than you except instead of thinking, but why me? they thought, why NOT me? Sit with that question for awhile and examine any answers that come up. You are just as capable of success and achieving your dreams as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Give to Others
Maybe nothing else on this list is more important to self-esteem than giving to others and helping where there is need, indiscriminately. This is a guaranteed way to like what you see in the mirror.
The minute you stop comparing yourself to others, the minute you will feel instantly better about yourself. This is one of the reasons I took all my “fitspiration” images off my vision board. As the quote goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. You would have been perfectly happy with your car until you started noticing the car that everyone ELSE was driving. Suddenly your comfortable, reliable little car wasn’t shiny enough, new enough, fast enough. Same goes for your body, your accomplishments, your entire life. And therefore…..
Say Thank You
Gratitude is the gateway to self-confidence and happiness. When you stop the comparisons and start feeling grateful for the things in your life, your entire world will change. If you suffer with poor body image, try looking at yourself differently and saying thank you for the good your body brings you. Do this every single day until you begin to believe it!
Do you struggle with self-confidence? How do you deal with it?