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What’s wrong with being confident?: 3 simple strategies to help you believe in yourself

by Elena Simonsen

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” -Dalai Lama

Confidence is a quality that many people lack but desire to have. Oftentimes, individuals enter therapy looking for ways to boost their confidence. Boosting confidence can help improve mental health and can be cultivated on a daily basis by adopting simple daily practices.

What is Confidence? What does Confidence Look Like?

To be confident is to truly believe in yourself, your power, and your abilities. Someone that is confident is aware of and acknowledges their strengths and weaknesses and withholds judgments. A confident person walks through life with an air of certainty, self-assurance and humility.

Genuine confidence can be seen not in someone’s words but in their actions. Generally, confident individuals have acquired certain qualities that look and sound like:

Speaking calmly

● Not being as easily upset by others’ critiques simply because they know their own worth.

● Accepting help when needed

● Being kind to others and using their strengths to help others

● Being able to make unwavering decisions

Many individuals struggle to believe in themselves and their abilities. You yourself may be wishing for more self- confidence. While confidence takes time and practice to cultivate, it is possible - and may be easier to achieve than you think!

Confidence vs. Arrogance

Individuals often view confidence as a sign of over-inflated self-esteem. This is a common confusion between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is an exaggerated sense of belief in yourself, your power, and your abilities. Confidence is a humble acknowledgement of these qualities within yourself.

Individuals who appear arrogant may not be open to others’ perspectives. They may interrupt or speak over others. They may appear very concerned about how others view them as well as how they view themselves.

Individuals who exhibit arrogance are usually attempting to mask their insecurities. Unlike confident people, individuals exhibiting arrogance do not truly believe in themselves and are not aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

How do you portray confidence rather than arrogance? It’s simple - be your true self! Own who you are and don’t lie to yourself or others about your strengths and limits.

You might be wondering what exactly being true to yourself looks like. So, here are 3 simple steps you can take to cultivate and exude your inner confidence:

1. Take a confident stance

An open, inviting posture allows others to feel welcome and at ease. To make your posture more open during a conversation, you can:

  • Keep your arms uncrossed

  • Lean towards the person you’re speaking with, showing them that you are interested in what they are saying

  • Keep eye contact with the person with whom you are speaking

  • Relax your forehead, shoulders, and jaw, places you may be holding tension in your body

  • Sit up straight; avoid hunching over

2. Build a daily positive affirmation practice

Like I mentioned before, acknowledging strengths and limitations is part of feeling confident. By writing and/or saying positive affirmations about yourself each day, you can become more aware of both your strengths and your limitations, and then approach them with kindness. For example, if you struggle with sitting in uncertainty, your affirmation may sound like, “It’s okay to be unsure about what will happen today.”

3. Set SMART Goals

Confidence is not only about acknowledging strengths and limitations, it’s also about doing the work needed to build upon those strengths and limitations. By setting goals for yourself, whether on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, you can improve upon your own strengths and limits. Attaining goals, no matter how big or small, strengthens your belief in yourself and your abilities. When setting goals with the intention of increasing your confidence, you want to make sure these goals follow the SMART Guideline:

Specific- Make sure your goals are clear and concise. Know who is involved in the goal, exactly what you want to accomplish and why, as well as when and where the goal will be achieved

Measurable- How will you know that your goal has been met?

Achievable- Make sure you have the skills needed to accomplish your goal, and have a plan for how you will reach it

Realistic- Your goal should be worth your time and should match your needs

Time-Limited- Know when you plan to reach your goal by

For example, perhaps your goal is to learn a new language. To make this goal fit the SMART guidelines you could say that your goal is to be fluent in French by the end of this year so that you can communicate with your grandparents when they come to visit. You plan to do this by enrolling in a 6-month intensive online French course. Your goal is now specific (learning French), measurable (fluency in French), achievable (by taking a course), realistic (the goal has a purpose), and time-limited (will be completed by the end of the year).

I hope you find these tips to be helpful in your journey to strengthen your confidence and will allow you to better reach your full potential!

Sincerely Yours,


Be Your Best Self + Thrive Counseling uses a holistic, non-judgmental approach to help you build an alliance with your mind, body and spirit that work together for your benefit. Elena is a therapist who is experienced in working with confidence and self-esteem. You can find out more about her here. Book your free consultation here to discuss how we can help!

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