I spent most of my teens and early twenties wondering how to be more confident and improve my self-esteem.
My sensitive heart tried its best to let the comments and actions roll off me, but my confidence and self-worth crumbled a little more every day.
This lack of confidence led me to stay in a job I hated instead of pursuing my dream of being a writer and starting my own business. It was also responsible for me accepting asshole behavior from emotionally unavailable men because I didn’t believe I deserved more.
There was this underlying, learned fear that I wasn’t good enough. And from my experience working with women, I know this affects the majority of us at some point in our lives.
Because the world doesn’t celebrate or encourage confident women. Confident, empowered women are more difficult to control. We don’t go quietly, and we refuse to follow the rules. We’re what can only be described as “trouble.”
But it’s that lack of confidence that keeps us in relationships that are toxic or abusive. In towns or cities that we’ve outgrown. It keeps us in a job that is mediocre at best.
Because who are we to think we can do better?
I’m here to tell you that you do deserve more, much more than you perhaps have ever dared to imagine.
Here’s the truth, though: working on your confidence won’t solve all your problems. It won’t mean you’ll be completely sure of yourself all of the time, and it won’t mean an absence of fear.
There are plenty of moments where I second-guess myself, experience imposter syndrome, or slip into a temporary state of smallness. The point is, it’s only ever temporary and fleeting these days.
Inner confidence will help you trust your intuition and believe in yourself more. It will make you see that no matter what life throws your way, you can handle it because you’re bigger than your problems. And it will leave you feeling empowered within.
You’ll start walking into rooms with your head held high. You’ll speak up clearly and calmly whenever you have something to say. You will make choices that align with your internal values and boundaries. Fear will no longer hold you back from living your biggest, boldest life. You won’t be afraid to say fuck yes to what sets your soul on fire, and hell no to anything that doesn’t feel right.
Here’s the other truth: there’s no overnight fix. This requires deep, consistent inner work. All things worth having do.
So, if you’re ready to learn how to be more confident in yourself, at work, in a relationship, or in your body, let’s dive in.
Where does our deep lack of self-confidence stem from?
We forget that none of us were born lacking confidence. This is something we learn over time, as we have experiences and trauma that shape and mold us.
Did someone ever call you stupid, ugly, or fat?
Maybe you had a bad experience where someone in your family or a teacher told you you would never be successful.
That also happened to me.
Or maybe you have a harsh inner-critic who constantly says, “you can’t do that; you’re not good enough.”
Yep, it’s a hat trick.
The younger we are, the more impressionable we are to comments and experiences like this. And some of us are naturally affected by this more than others.
We often don’t realize it at the time, but these can have a long-lasting impact on the rest of the choices we make in our lives.
Unless we know how to work through these experiences and emotions and replace them with new, positive beliefs, we remain stuck in a state of fear, lack, and smallness.
This leads to a lack of confidence in one or all areas of our lives: our work, our relationships, our parenting, our social lives, our appearance, our abilities, and our decision-making.
Why is it important to learn how to be more confident?
Have you ever had to give an important presentation at work in front of colleagues and managers?
How about meeting someone for a first date who you connected with on a dating app?
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone you know (or don’t know) is crossing your boundaries, and you need to speak up?
What about accidentally crossing paths with a beautiful stranger who is clearly interested in you, and wanting to smile, make eye contact, and flirt with them?
Or wanting to make a big career change or start that business you’ve always had in the back of your mind.
These are just some of the moments where confidence really matters.
Learning how to build confidence will improve all areas of your life, but there are certain times where it’s essential. For example, any time you’re in a leadership role or part of a team, which for most of us happens daily in our work.
Here are just some of the positive effects increased self-confidence can have on you and your life:
- Open to trying new things and having new experiences
- Improved performance in whatever you focus on
- Better resilience – you believe you can overcome any challenge
- Enhanced relationships – through setting stronger boundaries and enabling you to better understand and communicate with others.
Although it may seem like it, confidence isn’t about being perfect or knowing everything. In fact, confident people own their flaws, admit to mistakes, and accept advice from others.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it till you make it” at some point. And although this may be a short-term solution to building confidence, it won’t have the lasting impact you want.
Because we can only fake things on the outside.
For example, we can smile more, make eye contact, improve our posture, speak louder and more clearly, make sure our body language is open but assertive, etc.
These are all great and definitely a part of displaying confidence.
But real confidence comes from the inside.
It’s how you feel about yourself internally that truly matters.
When you feel confident and comfortable within yourself, you will naturally project that confidence into the world.
Too many of us have this equation backward (I used to too).
We think once we get X, we’ll feel confident.
But it doesn’t work this way.
Once you are confident, you’ll naturally attract whatever it is you want.
Remember that everyone struggles with confidence
You’ve probably encountered some people in your life who seem to exude confidence with every step they take.
You can’t quite say what it is that makes them appear this way, but you can feel it radiating from them.
And you wonder, why can’t I be more confident like her?
But I want you to know that pretty much every human being struggles with self-confidence at some point. You are most certainly not alone.
Even the person you believe to be the most confident out of everyone you know will have moments or situations where they don’t feel confident. Confidence is rarely universal.
So it’s time to stop comparing yourself to other people. Accept who you are and where you are today, in this moment.
The only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Compete with yourself to be better each day and to grow a little more.
Here are 15 tips to help you learn how to be more confident within.
1. Who you are is constantly evolving
Just because you didn’t feel confident a year ago, last month, or even yesterday, doesn’t mean you’re not a confident person.
We often limit ourselves in life to one story. We sign up to the belief that who we are right now is who we will always be.
This is bullshit.
Every single one of us has the power to constantly change and evolve every minute of every day. And that’s what we’re here to do.
We’re on a journey to our highest self.
We each have different starting points, and our growth rate may be faster or slower depending on the thoughts we have and the action we take.
But we are all meant to grow and to change.
No matter what your current story is, you can change it anytime you want to.
Let go of whatever story you’ve been telling yourself, and embrace a new one today where you are a confident, courageous woman.
2. How to be more confident: Practice self-love
If you want to learn how to be more confident in yourself and how to be more confident in your body, you have to start with self-love.
This might seem pointless if you want to, say, learn how to be more confident at work, but mastering self-love is key for building real confidence that comes from within.
And it’s this kind of confidence that is unshakeable no matter what life decides to throw your way.
Unfortunately, most of us are not taught how to love ourselves. We look for love and acceptance from others and derive our self-worth and value from this love.
This is a dangerous place to be because you’re putting your life and happiness in someone else’s hands.
Practicing self-love and developing a deep, loving relationship with self is the first step in how to build self-esteem and inner confidence.
Start small. Commit to one act of self-love every day.
That might be repeating an empowering affirmation, meeting your body in the mirror, preparing a nourishing meal, organizing a part of your life you’ve been putting off for too long, or pampering yourself for 10 minutes.
3. That also means loving your body
Loving yourself means loving yourself inside and out. Embracing all parts of yourself, including your gifts, flaws, and quirks.
It’s challenging to feel confident if you’re abusing your body in some way, like eating poorly, not exercising enough, or self-sabotaging.
Something as simple as eating nourishing, balanced meals will fill you with energy and make you feel healthier, stronger, and happier.
Exercise has been proven to boost your overall mood, body image, and confidence too. Try and move your body for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day.
And make sure you’re setting yourself up for a good sleep each night. Good quality sleep has been linked to increased feelings of optimism and self-esteem.
Everyone is in a better mood and mindset when they’ve had a great sleep! Check out this article if you need help creating a relaxing evening ritual for yourself and setting yourself up for the best possible sleep.
4. Refuse to play the comparison game
As I briefly mentioned already, comparing yourself to other people is a sure-fire way to feel crappy and zap your confidence even more.
More often than not, the lack of confidence you feel stems from where you are now and where you think you should be.
But if you’re thinking about it rationally, that doesn’t make sense. Where you are now is exactly where you’re meant to be.
Sure, you might want to grow your confidence, and that’s a great thing. But enjoy the journey of getting there.
Don’t get caught up in the comparison game looking at where other people are on their own journeys—they are not you, and that’s wonderful.
Social media is one of the biggest culprits for making us feel shitty about ourselves. We scroll through people’s highlight reels and wonder why our lives are so mundane and blah in comparison.
So, do yourself a favor and stop engaging in things that make you feel bad.
That means limiting your time on social media. Quit comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself how far you’ve come while recognizing you’re not done climbing the mountain.
5. How to be more confident: Manage your inner critic
We all have an inner critic, and yours might show up more frequently than you’d like (I know mine does).
But did you know that your inner critic isn’t all bad?
For women, our inner critic belongs in the premenstrual phase of our cycle (the week or so before we bleed).
The reason why so many of us experience severe PMS is that we’re not honoring our sacred cycle (more on that later), and we’re not listening to or working with our inner critic.
She has a role, but only during this part of our cycle. If she shows up any other time, thank her and tell her politely but firmly to leave and that you’ll catch up with her later.
Replace negative thoughts and beliefs with positive ones anytime you notice yourself headed on a downward spiral. The words we think and say to ourselves matter so much more than we realize.
If you struggle controlling your thoughts this way, give meditation a try. This can help you practice self-acceptance and help you disconnect from mental chatter that is affecting your confidence.
During your premenstrual phase, face your inner critic. Ask her what she came to tell you. There will always be a pearl of wisdom beneath the surface-level chatter. Look for it. Be patient. Listen. Tune in.
6. Stop apologizing when you have nothing to be sorry for
The next tip I have on how to be more confident is to quit apologizing all the damn time.
Observe your language over the next 24 hours, and write down every time an unnecessary “sorry” slips out of your mouth.
Being able to apologize when we make a mistake or hurt someone is a wonderful trait to have. But for some reason, as women, we over-apologize.
We say sorry when someone bumps into us on the street.
We say sorry when someone is in our way at work, and we’re trying to get past.
Sorry, in the middle of an argument, when the other person is the one in the wrong.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
It’s as though we’re apologizing for existing, for daring to take up space in this world.
Our words matter. Apologizing for no reason makes us feel like we’re fucking up when we’re not.
I like to think of the phrase “I’m sorry” the same way I think of “I love you.” Too many people overuse both of these phrases, and they quickly lose all their meaning and value.
Only say sorry when you truly have something to apologize for.
7. Let yourself receive
Another common trait I’ve noticed through my work with women is our nature to over-give to others and block ourselves from receiving.
This shows up in all areas of our lives.
We dismiss compliments. We accept selfish behavior in bed. And we don’t create space to fill our own cup. Everyone else comes first, and we end up at the bottom of our priorities.
The thing about this is, when we’re not fully nourished, we can’t show up as the best version of ourselves in our world. And that means we can’t give our best to anyone else or any task we engage in.
How can you possibly feel confident when you’re not getting what you need?
So, if you want to learn how to be more confident, especially in a relationship, start opening yourself up to receiving.
Say no to things that don’t align with what you want and don’t feel spacious.
Carve out you-time in your schedule every day. That can be as little or as long as you like.
When someone gives you a compliment, don’t deflect it by instantly paying them a compliment in return. Let yourself fully receive.
Ask for what you want in bed, and don’t settle for someone who’s only concerned about getting theirs.
These are all little things you can start doing today to get better at receiving and gain confidence.
8. Remind yourself of your gifts and strengths
Although it might seem like some people have these incredible lives and are multi-talented and successful at everything, this just isn’t true.
Nobody is perfect, and nobody is great at everything.
We all have our own strengths and gifts that we’ve been given to help us on our soul journey here in this lifetime.
Focusing on what you’re good at (and doing more of those things) instead of what you’re not so good at is a brilliant way to learn how to be more confident today.
So, what are your gifts?
Think about them. Write them down. Remind yourself that you have skills and talents that not everyone has.
Maybe you’re not super confident speaking to people face-to-face, but perhaps you’re an incredible listener.
Maybe you struggle with academic tasks, but you’re incredibly creative.
If you need some help figuring out your innate strengths, you might want to take the Gallup strengths test. I took this test three years ago, and it really opened my eyes to some of my natural talents.
Spend less time trying to improve your weaknesses or trying to be more like someone else, and devote more energy to acknowledging, building on, and using your strengths.
After all, this is what you came here to do. The world needs your gifts. Maybe you haven’t yet figured out how to best use them, but trust that you have what you need.
9. How to be more confident: Write a celebration list
Even if you’re the least confident person alive today (which I’m sure is not the case), you probably have a ton of achievements and successes to be proud of.
When was the last time you stopped to think about your past wins?
When we do something good or achieve a goal (no matter how small it is), we feel confident in ourselves and our abilities.
Reliving these moments is a great way to tap into that confidence and remind yourself that you’ve already overcome many challenges and difficult situations. And if you’ve already done it, you can do it again, bigger and better than before.
So, write a celebration list today. Write down all the things you’re proud of in your life so far—the little things, the big things, and everything in between.
Read it back to yourself every time you need a confidence boost.
Repeat this exercise as often as you like. There was a time I was doing this every day and making sure I wrote down at least three things I wanted to celebrate.
10. Think about what makes you feel most confident
Another brilliant way to learn how to be more confident is to reflect on past experiences and moments where you’ve felt your most confident self.
Think about what helped you feel so empowered.
Where were you? What were you wearing? Who were you with? What else was going on in your life at the time?
When you uncover what makes you feel most confident, you can easily tap into that feeling whenever you want to.
Figuring out how to increase your confidence is much easier when you understand how your mind works.
11. Get to know your menstrual cycle intimately
This is one of our greatest powers as women.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not honor our sacred cycle and encourages us to ignore and repress it.
This leaves us feeling off-kilter, out of our natural rhythm, and disconnected from our power.
So, if you’re wondering how to be more confident within, try getting to know your menstrual cycle intimately.
Learn more about the four phases of the cycle. Track it using pen and paper or a period tracking app. Work with the natural energy available to you—speed up when your energy is high, and slow down when it starts to deplete.
Every day I learn more about my cycle and what a beautiful gift it is—worlds away from what I learned as a girl growing up.
Now, I plan my life in harmony with my cycle, I make decisions and start new projects when the time is right, and I rest when I feel called to.
A large part of this work is tapping into and using your intuition—your womb wisdom—to guide you. And each time you do this, you will feel a little more confident and empowered within.
12. Surround yourself with your people
For the most part, you are in control of your confidence levels.
However, the people you spend time with can deeply impact your self-esteem, self-confidence, and general mood.
If you’re always with people who criticize and judge you, it’s hard to stop your confidence from being knocked. Plus, why would you want to spend time with people like that?
You deserve to be with people who love and respect you. People who are kind and compassionate and lift you up.
Just because you’ve been friends with someone or in a relationship for years, it doesn’t mean you owe that person anything. If they’re not treating you how you deserve to be treated and killing your confidence, it’s time to let them go.
This may be tough to begin with because we crave what’s familiar and comfortable to us. But this is vital if you’re serious about building your confidence and growing as a person.
13. Be comfortable with your flaws and failures
I know I said to focus on your strengths and gifts, but that doesn’t mean you should pretend like you don’t have flaws or weaknesses.
We all have them. No exceptions.
I am quick to step into a judgment mindset, I desire to control everything, and I can sometimes lack patience.
These are things I’m still working on.
But the only way to be truly confident is to know your flaws and failures and be comfortable with them.
Failure is a part of life. If we don’t ever fail, it’s because we haven’t tried anything, and we fail by default.
Confidence is not the absence of failing or sucking at something. It’s continuing despite the knowledge that you may well fail or experience rejection.
How to be more confident can be found in picking yourself up and trying again no matter what happens.
The easier thing to do would be to give up or quit. But push past that resistance, dig deep, and find the courage and resilience to keep going.
Each time you do this, your confidence will grow. And it starts with accepting your flaws and failures.
14. How to be more confident: Get out of your comfort zone
Whatever you’ve done so far has got you to where you are today.
But you want to grow, right?
You desire more confidence, perhaps amongst other things.
If you keep doing what you know, what feels safe and comfortable, you’re not going to get new results. You’ll remain where you are right now.
But if you want to grow and feel more confident, you have to do what feels uncomfortable.
That means facing your fears, pushing past your self-imposed limits, and challenging your current beliefs.
Over the years, I have continually learned to embrace my discomfort zone as a way to grow.
I quit a secure job as a fashion designer to become a freelance writer—even though I had no formal training or qualifications.
That was five years ago, and I haven’t had to go back to my day job since, so I’m doing something right!
I made myself give online dating a try, even though it scared me.
The first ever date I went on with a man I met online ended up becoming my long-term partner, who I have now been with for almost five years!
I wrote and published a book before I felt ready to.
I planned and hosted my first women’s retreat 5000 miles around the world, even though I had no idea anyone would show up when I first put it on sale.
The point is, through doing things that feel way out of your comfort zone, you will grow in confidence and self-belief.
But you have to do those things that scare you first. The confidence will follow.
Choose to grow every day.
If you’re not growing, you’re only dying.
15. Set yourself small goals
One of the reasons so many of us get discouraged or give up at the first hurdle when trying to achieve a goal is because we’re too ambitious.
Don’t get me wrong, I want you to shoot for the moon, the stars, and other galaxies. Don’t shrink your ambitions for anyone.
But smaller goals are much easier to achieve, and every time you accomplish a goal, you will feel really good, and your confidence will soar.
So, break your big goals down into smaller, manageable chunks.
For example, if you want to start a business, maybe the first step is researching your idea or the market.
If you want to start eating a healthier diet, the first step might be seeing a nutritionist or consulting your doctor.
The more small goals you successfully complete, the more confident you’ll feel. And the more confident you feel, the bigger the goal you’ll feel ready to tackle.
It’s a positive, virtuous cycle.
And those are my top tips to be more confident.
Remember, learning how to be more confident is a journey
As I mentioned at the start of this article, learning how to be more confident doesn’t happen overnight. I wish it worked like that, but it doesn’t.
You have to consistently show up each day and do the inner work that many of us avoid.
This is the only way to build real inner confidence that lasts.
Try and see this as a journey rather than a single thing you need to check off your to-do list. It’s an ongoing process of learning and growth.
We’re never quite done, and that’s the beauty of life.
On the days when you’re struggling, remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Chances are, you won’t notice a dramatic change in the moments when your confidence grows. This will be something that happens and builds gradually over time.
Before you know it, you’ll be exactly where you dreamed of being. A confident, empowered, courageous woman who knows who she is and what she wants and the fire and magic she holds within her heart.
What’s holding you back today from building your confidence?
I’d love to know what your biggest obstacle is and help you learn how to boost your confidence, so drop me a comment below!