Many people may enter into therapy to gain confidence in themselves. Confidence entails having faith in ourselves that we are worthy as people and can accomplish what we set out to do. It is not uncommon to hear, “I want to do this” followed by a “but what if.” Our own inner critic can often sound like a negative pest that buzzes around saying: “what if you are not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough.”
Here are some strategies to try that may help you increase your self-confidence:
- Create an “as-if” list: Ask yourself, if I woke up and suddenly felt more confident, what would I be doing differently? Then, make a list of what you would be doing behaviorally. Next, order this list from the least difficult to the most difficult to do. Then, start tackling your list of “as-if” behaviors! Oftentimes, people want to wait until they feel “ready” or “comfortable” before taking action. However, our feelings about ourselves often come after we start acting.
- Determine what your perception of confidence is: Within the United States, extroversion is often praised. People perceive extroversion as a sign of self-assuredness, and it is interpreted that a person automatically has self-confidence if they are the center of attention in a crowded room. Within society, being introverted is often associated with negative connotations, and it can be interpreted as having a low level of extroversion rather than being considered a separate entity entirely (Blevins et al., 2021). However, about half of the population is estimated to be introverted (Blevins et al., 2021), and there is nothing wrong with being introverted! Introverts have many strengths that are beneficial in traditionally more social settings. For instance, research has shown that introverts are more likely to succeed at paying attention to detail and may be less likely to engage in aggressive forms of communication within the workplace (Blevins et al., 2021). It is important to remind ourselves that we can get our energy from spending time with ourselves ( like introverts) rather than getting our energy from others (like extroverts) and can still be confident (Blevins et al., 2021)
- Change your self-talk: Motivational self-talk entails telling yourself cues to help you achieve a difficult task. For instance, saying cue words such as “powerful” or “strong” can assist a person in increasing sport performance (Hatzigeorgiadis & Galanis, 2017). Additionally, instructional self-talk entails saying cues that remind you of what you need to do to accomplish a task (i.e. an athlete may tell themselves to “bend” to remind themselves to bend their knees before jumping) (Hatzigeorgiadis & Galanis, 2017). Self-talk has been shown to decrease internal distractions (such as negative thoughts) so that a task can be successfully completed (Hatzigeorgiadis & Galanis, 2017). When you notice your confidence is negatively impact due to negative self-talk, it can be helpful to pick a few cue words that feel helpful for you. Then, you can remind yourself of these cue words during a stressful task (such as telling yourself “breathe” and “calm” during a presentation at work).
While these are just a few examples of strategies you can use to increase self-confidence, therapy can assist you in reducing the impact that your inner-critic has on your life!
Blevins, D. P., Stackhouse, M. R. D., & Dionne, S. D. (2021). Righting the balance: Understanding introverts (and extraverts) in the workplace. International Journal of Management Reviews, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12268
Hatzigeorgiadis, A., & Galanis, E. (2017). Self-talk effectiveness and attention. Current Opinion in Psychology, 16, 138–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.05.014