It may seem like feeling confident comes from outside sources, but in reality, confidence is completely reliant on what you believe about yourself.
Sure, receiving praise from others can make you feel good at the moment, but without the true confidence that comes from within, those compliments won’t amount to anything.
When you believe in yourself, the opinions of others don’t have the same influence.
The more confident you are, the more immune you are to both good and bad opinions — praise and criticism. It takes some work to get to this place, but it’s possible.
One of the easiest ways to become more confident is to praise yourself more often.
This doesn’t mean you walk around pridefully boasting about every little achievement and talent. Rather, it means acknowledging that you are capable, skilled, and brave among many other positive qualities.
How to Praise Yourself
Here’s the thing — you’re going to look pretty silly if you literally give yourself a pat on the back every time you do anything well.
Even a little whisper of “Good job” might seem peculiar to those around you. It’s important to learn how to praise yourself without coming off as prideful and arrogant.
To do this, you have to learn how to become aware of your internal dialogue and then change it. Our minds are constantly flooded with thoughts, judgments, and analyses. To transform these thoughts, you’ve got to be aware of them.
This can be easily achieved through mindfulness exercises. Take some time each day to recognize what you’re telling yourself. When you make a mistake, do you criticize yourself? Do you call yourself names or put yourself down? Take some time to recognize this dialogue.
Changing Your Internal Dialogue
Whenever you find yourself flooded with thoughts of criticism, shame, guilt, and insult, turn those thoughts around.
So, you made a mistake or didn’t live up to someone’s (maybe your own) standards. Did you try your best? Did you meet challenges head-on with bravery? What did you do well?
To praise yourself, you need to reframe your perspective. Instead of zeroing in on the negative, broaden your viewpoint and find the positive.
Maybe you learned something. Perhaps you discovered a new way to do something. Maybe you faced a challenge you never had before. Whatever it is, there’s a positive in there somewhere. Find it.
Once you find it, you can focus on that and begin to praise yourself. In your mind, tell yourself what you did well. Congratulate yourself. Pretend you’re talking to a child that you want to encourage. Write it down or say it out loud in private if it makes it more powerful for you.
Though you’ll want to be more specific, here are some general examples of things you might say:
I found the solution to a challenging problem.
I am clever.
I learned how to manage my time.
I am adaptable.
I discovered a new way to deal with this issue.
I am creative.
I completed this task.
I have a lot of stamina.
I did my very best and I gave it my all.
I am sincere.
I was tired and didn’t want to do this, but I did it anyway.
I am strong.
I tried hard, despite my fears.
I am brave.
Why You Should Praise Yourself More Often (Two Big Reasons)
1. You are your biggest influencer
Sure, your peers, your family, and even the media may have some influence over you, but in the end, YOU are your biggest influencer.
The brain is extremely malleable. Every thought you have creates a strong neural connection in your brain and that connection is strengthened each time you have that thought. The stronger the neural connection, the stronger it shapes your beliefs.
Those beliefs, in turn, influence your emotions, and your emotions then influence your actions. No other person but you have as strong of an impact on that feedback loop.
By changing your thoughts, you physically alter your brain. So by praising yourself more often, you create positive connections that can completely alter your life in incredible and fantastic ways.
2. You will achieve more of your goals
You are equally capable of discouraging and encouraging yourself.
Expanding on what we just talked about, if you hound yourself with criticism, you will begin to believe that you aren’t capable or even worthy of great things. When you believe that, you’ll feel ashamed, guilty, and insecure. If you feel that way, you won’t have the motivation to achieve your goals.
Turn that around.
If you shower yourself with praise, you’ll start to believe that you aren’t just capable of great things, but that you deserve them and can make them happen. If you believe that, you’ll probably feel pretty confident, calm, and determined. Of course, by feeling that way, you’ll be far more likely to achieve your goals.