Explaining that a lack of confidence is really about holding onto negative self beliefs - how to become more confident.

Boost Your Confidence
 
Looking at the aspirational adverts on billboards and magazines depicting smiling, happy families or deliriously in love couples, you'd be forgiven for thinking everyone else is confident and content at all times. In fact, it's normal and healthy to feel a degree of self doubt. Pausing to question your feelings and emotions allows you space to think your actions through. If you never had any self doubt, you'd be an ego maniac, a distinctly unattractive personality type! But problems arise if you doubt yourself all the time and rarely have confidence in your abilities. Being paralysed by a lack of confidence prevents your true self from shining through and will hold you back in achieving your potential in life.
 
What is lack of confidence?
Although we talk about 'lacking confidence', in reality this is a symptom of holding on to negative self beliefs.
If you find yourself frequently thinking:
'I'm not good enough'
'I'm ugly'
'I'm afraid'
'Everyone else is better than me'
'I can't do it'
These are all key signs of having negative self beliefs. First, you have to accept that you feel these emotions; often it's difficult to admit even to yourself that you feel this way. Many people just cover up their insecurities with a boisterous personality instead of dealing with them and banishing them for good.
 
The next step is to take back your personal power. Buddhist scripture teaches that lack of confidence is just an illusion. It is something that you perceive and hold onto yourself. Nobody can make you feel inferior unless you allow it. We are all born with a huge capacity for spiritual growth but if you hold on to negative beliefs, then you are the one holding yourself back.
 
Lack of confidence can stem from a whole range of negative emotions: anger, guilt, fear or learned behaviour from parents. One of the worst manifestations of negative self belief is when bullies cover up or deflect attention from their own lack of confidence by trying to make other people feel inadequate. If somebody speaks unkindly to you, instead of feeling the sting of their words, refuse to accept them. Other people can only affect your self confidence if you believe their hurtful words. Buddhism teaches not to take on the burden of other people's anger. Instead, feel compassion for the people who are taunting you as they are the ones lacking confidence. But never put up with sustained bullying, inform a trusted friend, colleague or authorities and have the bullies silenced.
 
How to increase your confidence
Learn to trust. Confiding your hopes, dreams and fears to another person is liberating. Giving them a voice makes them stronger. A fresh perspective can boost your confidence and having somebody point out your strengths is sure to super-charge your self esteem. But be sure that the person you choose to confide in is worthy of your trust.
 
Stop comparing yourself to others. It's human nature to think others are better off and have an easier life than yourself. But it is a part of your nature that you should strive to change. Envying others for their perceived good fortune stops you from achieving your own good fortune. You have your own unique qualities and strengths. Discover what they are and use them.
 
Know you are worthy. Everyone is equally precious. It is a delusion of the material world to think that one person is more important than another. Money and possessions do not make your soul more important! Speak with confidence to anyone and if they do not treat you with respect, it is they who are lacking, not you.
 
Be realistic. Don't set yourself an unreachable goal. Take small steps towards your dream to build confidence so you can achieve a little at a time rather than feeling that you're always missing your big chance.
 
Meditate. Visualise the person you want to be and meditate on the qualities you need to achieve your goal. Practice emptying your mind of all fears and worries.
 
Try these...
Confidence quick fixes
 
Posture
If you're feeling a bit nervous, altering your physical stance can give yourself a boost. Imagine a thin silver thread running up your spine. Feel the thread pull upwards, straightening out your body. Stand tall with shoulders relaxed, legs straight but not rigid, head up so you can make easy eye contact with others.
 
Breathing
Become mindful of your breath. Slow down your breathing. Take a deep breath inwards through your nose to the count of three and slowly exhale through your mouth. Breathing deeply and slowly allows more oxygen to circulate around your body producing a calming effect.
 
Affirmation
Repeating a positive phrase in your head can help you focus on the task in hand and stop you worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong. Try:
'I feel calm, confident and ready to succeed.'

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