Developing your self-confidence gradually

Developing your self-confidence gradually


We have seen the reasons and consequences of a lack or loss of self-esteem and self-confidence. Let's now see how to develop self-esteem and self-confidence.

1. How to develop self-esteem?

Self-esteem is developed through constant awareness techniques, self-knowledge, kindness towards oneself and concrete actions to face one's fears.

1.1 Being kind to yourself

Self-acceptance is the key to eliminating those negative emotions that cause us fear and loss of confidence. The work of acceptance focuses on concrete elements: emotions, thoughts and behaviours adopted in situations that are a hindrance to self-esteem. There are nine steps to developing self-esteem (see diagram below), and it starts with self-love. Whether you achieve yourself, set goals for yourself, or want to grow, it should not affect your love for yourself. You are a unique being. You must love yourself, no matter what. Love yourself for what you are.

Tell yourself from now on: "...... (your name), I love you with your qualities and your defects, with your weaknesses and with your strengths,: I LOVE YOU! You will make great achievements and sometimes you will fail. You will have good behaviour and sometimes you will be a notorious fool. No matter what, I LOVE YOU! You need to understand that I love you without conditions.

The 9 keys to developing kindness towards yourself

Source: The Self-Confidence Toolbox. Annie Leibovitz


1.2 Knowing oneself and celebrating one's successes

The development of self-esteem requires self-knowledge and the celebration of one's successes.

1.2.1 Knowing yourself

Knowing yourself means being aware of your personal and professional skills but also your values, that is to say, what is important to you in your private life and at work. Values are beliefs that influence our attitudes and behaviours. They allow us to orient our choices and adapt our behaviour according to the social context. Taking stock of our values and identifying priorities allows us to be coherent and aligned with ourselves, i.e. to make decisions in accordance with ourselves, to dare to be ourselves, and to reinforce our self-esteem. Indeed, if our values are not respected we weaken them and each time our behaviours are consistent with our values, we strengthen our self-esteem.

1.2.2 Celebrate your successes and be proud of yourself

This is the 2nd step in the development of self-esteem. The diagram below will allow you to become aware of your level of self-esteem. Here are the steps of analysis:

1. Assess your self-esteem

2. Promote success and the feeling of being worthy and reliable

3. Take initiative

4. Adapt to your environment

5. Congratulate yourself on your successes and give yourself and give yourself signs of recognition.

6. Find the balance between self, action and others

7. Implement an action plan to increase your self-esteem

The 9 prioritised keys to self-esteem

Source: C. André (2004)


1.3 1.3 Practice self-acceptance :

1- Become aware of the times when you do not accept yourself

2- Practice saying "yes" in your head and accept that some events do not go as planned

3- Stay in the present moment to calm mental ruminations and talk to yourself in the present ("I am...", "I do...")

4- Accept the idea of the worst-case scenario in order to calm yourself and avoid running around in a loop on scenarios that will not come true 99% of the time. Ask yourself questions such as: What is the risk if...? What problem do we fear?

5- Accept and make peace with the past

1.4 Project yourself positively

Is it necessary to know the cause of the problem to find the solution? We are influenced by our doubts and sometimes create our own obstacles by interpreting reality.

Solution Oriented Intervention (SOI) is an approach created in the 1980s by Steve de Shazer and his team. The method is based on the observation that the solution is not linked to the problem and that we can therefore avoid analysing it. This approach focuses on the language, beliefs and solutions of the person. It allows us to reverse the process by repositioning the situation through a prism that reverses the perspective from which we see the situation. Indeed, the more we talk about problems, the more important they become, which causes frustration, stress and loss of self-confidence. **Conversely, the more we talk about solutions, the more they take place in reality.

Here are the presuppositions that will allow you to have a solution-oriented approach :

  • Each person has all the resources to solve problems
  • Change is permanent
  • It is not necessary to know the problem or the cause to solve it. Everyone defines his or her goals
  • Focus on what is achievable and can be changed, not on what is unattainable and cannot be changed

2. How to build self-confidence

2.1 Face your fears and negative thoughts

Choose a situation in which you feel "uncomfortable":

1. What type of fear is it (being rejected, ignored or humiliated)? _________

2. What do you want to change, to improve? _________

3. Describe precisely what you want to do, how you are going to do it, and your indicators of success_________

The key to any type of change is awareness: take stock of your day and commit to writing down your negative thoughts every day in order to reduce them.

2.2 Power poses

Amy Cuddy's study contrasts "low power poses", where the subject cowers in on himself, with "high power poses", where the subject takes space and asserts himself.

A clinical study has shown that people who adopt a "high power pose" saw :

  • their level of testosterone - a key hormone for self-confidence - increased by 20% after only two minutes
  • their level of cortisol - a stress-related hormone - decreased by 25%

Conversely, people who adopted a "low-power pose" saw their testosterone level drop by 10% and their cortisol level rise by 15%.

We were not born feeling more comfortable in certain postures. We learned to feel more comfortable holding our bodies in that way. Everything that has been learned can be unlearned.

Looking at the illustrations above, what are your usual ways of standing and sitting? How do you feel about doing the opposite?

Through this worksheet, we have seen the reasons and consequences of a lack or loss of confidence, as well as ways to develop it. It's up to you to experiment with this practice and go deeper into the resources below.