About 2 weeks ago, while enjoying a quiet afternoon of reading in beautiful Stadtpark, I was wondering to myself – What is the most important quality one needs to not just survive but to thrive? Something that you must have to do well in almost any sphere of life? In a world of constant comparisons, what do you need to hold your own? The answer was clear: self-confidence.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”Lao Tzu
But why is it that some people appear naturally more confident than others? The answer is – because they work on it. Like most things in life, self-confidence isn’t available to us in infinite supply. It is built by constantly working on it.
The period between 25 to 29 is easily the most trying time most people face in their young adult lives. There is so much to sort out at once – career, finances, personal life, and the list goes on. Therefore, by the time you’re in your 30s, it is natural to find yourself short of something you’d perhaps taken for granted before: self-confidence. When I found myself in a similar situation, I decided to have a ‘self-intervention’ and began to do some research on how I could change things for myself.
The good news is, like almost skill or quality, self-confidence can be built and maintained by working on it diligently. Below, is a list of simple tips that I found to be quite effective at boosting self-confidence in your 30s:
1. Face Your Fears
What is holding you back from pursuing your dreams and ambitions? From being the person you want to be? More often than not, it is fear.Fear is a crippling emotion that can take over our whole lives if we don’t weed it out at the right time. And the best way to overcome fear is to face it head on! This is easier said than done for sure. But try doing one thing that scares you on a weekly basis and see your confidence levels improving.
2. Accept And Approve Of Yourself
No human is perfect. We all come with our set of strengths and flaws. That is what makes us unique. However, in our need for approval and acceptance from others, we often forget to give it to ourselves. By doing this, not only do we limit the scope for unbiased self-reflection and improvement but our confidence levels take a huge hit as well. True self-confidence can only be developed once we accept our flawed selves and recognise that all humans at best, are works in progress. Therefore, the more we love and approve of ourselves, the less we depend on others to.
3. Quit Comparing Yourself To Others
Life is not a race or a competition. There is no standard ‘right time’ for anything. Everyone’s walking a unique path – some people are successful at 20, some people at 50, and both are okay. Some may even have an entirely different definition of success. Therefore, comparing your achievements and milestones to that of others is not only futile but is also guaranteed to erode your confidence levels. Break this harmful habit and invest in bettering yourself instead. Remember, the grass is only greener where you water it.
4. Invest In Your Wardrobe
When you feel good on the outside, it affects you positively on the inside as well. A stylish, well-rounded wardrobe is a really good and fun way to boost self-confidence. You don’t, however, have to blindly follow the latest fashions or mimic celebrities. All you need to do is to develop your own sense of style. So by all means, invest in a wardrobe that is individualistic and essentially, you.
5. Monitor Social-Media Usage
Social media is a powerful tool if used for the right reasons. Unfortunately, most people look at the constant bombardment of others’ glossy highlight reels and feel bad about their own bloopers. Constantly being on social media can also impact productivity levels adversely. Naturally, confidence levels are bound to take a hit. To combat this, define what social media as a tool means to you and how you’d like to use it for your benefit. Replace the time used to mindlessly scroll through social media feeds to learn something new instead.
6. Distance Yourself From Negativity
Negativity is, unfortunately, a part of life and can come to us in myriad forms – a nosy relative, online trolls, jealous colleagues, fake friends, a toxic boss, a bad review and so on. While one can learn from constructive criticism, negativity for the sake of it can be a dangerous thing to expose yourself to. Remind yourself that you have every right to distance yourself from negativity in any form – be it a person or an experience. Draw healthy boundaries; it will do your self-confidence levels a world of good.
7. Use Affirmations And Visualisations
‘Believe and you’re half-way there.’ The mind can be a powerful tool if trained well. Affirmations and visualisations are simple yet powerful techniques to help your mind work in your favour thereby boosting confidence levels. Have you ever embarked on a task only for a little voice in a mind to tell you “Why bother with this? You’re going to fail, anyway.” That right there is negative self-talk that if left unchecked, can be detrimental for mental health and self-confidence. Replace these negative thoughts with positive affirmations and visualise yourself to be your highest, most confident self. At first, you may have trouble believing in the statements yourself, but with time and repeated effort, you will see how the negative self-talk is replaced with positivity and confidence. Tip – Develop a set of self-confidence affirmations (available aplenty on the internet). Repeat them twice a day everyday coupled with positive visualisations for best results.
8. Quit People-Pleasing
It is human to want to be liked. But despite your best efforts, you’re not going to be able to please everyone and that is okay. Let’s remind ourselves that we only truly have control over our behaviour and intentions. How people perceive you is mostly to do with how they see the world and not you. Unfortunately, too many people try to fit in desperately for fear of being left out. Avoid doing this at all costs, especially in your 30s. Self-confidence comes from being able to stand your own without a posse to accompany you at all times.
9. Get Comfortable With Failure
It is natural to feel confident when you succeed at something. But much like an ECG, life is full of ups and downs, success and failures. If we can only feel confident when we succeed, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. When we accept that failure is as much a part of life as success, we notice that even in trying situations, we are able to have confidence in ourselves. This quality can help us immensely in our 30s. Situations are temporary, self-confidence need not be.
10. Develop A Self-Care Routine
It is impossible to feel truly self-confident unless all our faculties – physical, mental and emotional are functioning smoothly. The 30s can be a trying decade in terms of bodily and emotional changes. Therefore, the biggest gift you can give your present and future self is to look after yourself well. I highly recommend developing a holistic self-care routine (a combination of meditation + yoga + gymming in my case) and devoting at least 30-40 mins to it on a daily basis. You will thank yourself for it!
This article was written by Nilisha Bhimani for The Post India. Read full article here.