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Being confident in yourself and who you are can have a huge impact on your life. It changes how you treat yourself, which impacts how others perceive you. This, in turn, can have an impact on the opportunities you have socially, academically, and in terms of your employment. Given the impact having confidence can have, it’s easy to wonder what you can do if you have a lack of confidence in yourself.

Decide Who You Want to Be

The first question you should be asking yourself is why you lack confidence in yourself. Is it because you don’t like the way you look? Do you lack faith in your ability to meet and overcome challenges as they are presented to you? Maybe your posture isn’t quite what it should be, or you have trouble speaking with confidence and clarity. If you want to address a lack of confidence in yourself, you need to decide who you want to be instead. Once you’ve identified what the specific challenge is and how you would like to be instead, you can begin to make progress towards that ideal.

Take Risks

Growth is challenging. It takes risks and hard work. Taking risks can lead to growth as a person that you likely wouldn’t experience otherwise. Risks require you to make yourself vulnerable and to step outside of your comfort zone. As you live the experiences taking risks offers, your comfort zone will expand, and your confidence in yourself is allowed to grow. You will likely find that your confidence improves regardless of whether you fail or succeed. Generally speaking, failure isn’t something to be feared. As you fail, you may find that the fallout is less damaging and easier to manage than you anticipated. You will start to learn that failure is an opportunity for learning and growth that can ultimately turn out to be more valuable than success would have been. Your confidence in your ability to work through failure and find success will increase as long as you remain persistent in your endeavors.

Improve Your Appearance

Self-confidence is often tied to appearance. The better you perceive your appearance to be, the easier it is to feel confident about yourself. A lot of that has to do with personal grooming, hygiene, and self-care habits. As boring as it may sound, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, drinking enough water, and getting enough quality sleep can help you look and feel healthy. It’s also important to note that you’ll experience changes in your appearance as you age. As you age, conditions like varicose veins become more common. You’ll notice gray hairs, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin that isn’t quite as taut as it used to be too. All of these can be treated with various cosmetic or surgical procedures if that’s the option you want to go with. Before undergoing treatments, examine the reasons for doing so and think about whether or not they will improve your confidence the way you hope they will.

Help Someone Else

Focusing too much on yourself can lead you into a mental downward spiral. Sometimes what you need isn’t to focus on yourself more (though that has its time and place), but to focus on yourself less. Helping others is a great way to remove the focus from yourself and do good. In your efforts to help others, you’ll find it becomes easier to build connections with other people and to make a real difference in their lives. As you succeed in helping other people, you can boost your confidence in your capabilities to achieve what you set out to do.

Challenge Your Inner Critic

Many of us are our own worst critics. Giving too much attention to that critical voice in your head can easily wear away at your confidence. You’ll start to think less and less of yourself and may become convinced you are incapable of achieving much of anything. If you find yourself constantly criticizing yourself, it’s time to start challenging those critiques, especially those that aren’t constructive. Your mindset is directly related to your confidence in yourself. It’s important to develop a realistic view of yourself, rather than one that focuses too much on the negative. Challenge negative thoughts about yourself as they occur. Turn them over and examine them. Are they truly accurate? What perspective do they lack that is causing them to be so negative? Most importantly, how can you use that to help yourself become a better person? Criticizing yourself has its time and place, but it only serves you if you can use it to improve yourself.

Listening to your inner critic can hurt your confidence. Learning to challenge what it’s telling you can help you develop a better perspective of yourself and help you become your biggest ally.

Lacking self-confidence can hurt your life, but there are things you can do to treat it. Work to identify what is causing the lack and then move forward in taking measures to address it. It’s important to keep in mind that while it may be due to external factors, your perception of yourself is all about what’s in your head. Give attention to the mental component of having confidence in yourself to bring about a permanent and lasting change of perspective.

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