We are all human and have flaws. Even if your physical appearance, unique personality, or social skills aren't what you wish they were, that doesn't have to stop you from being confident. You are beautiful inside and out so you should love yourself unconditionally. Here's how to believe in yourself.
1- Make a list of special talents you have, or things you do that are good; morally or otherwise. Focusing on your attributes helps distract you from those parts of yourself that you think are flawed. It doesn't have to be a specific skill or activity either; it can be an approach or an attitude that you champion through life. Do you always stay calm, cool and collected, even in hurried situations? Are you very patient with people? Do you always see the humorous side of things? Are you always there for your friends?
2- Find your passion. Whether it's baton twirling, dancing, classic cars, musician, or basket weaving, you will feel confident pursuing that endeavor by recognizing what you enjoy doing the most. More importantly, you'll be enjoying your progress.
3- Choose a role model, whether someone close to you, or someone famous. Think of the qualities that the role model displays, whether physical, emotional, moral, and/or spiritual. Work towards acquiring those.
4- Don't think about yourself too much. Try not to focus negatively on how you come across or how others may perceive you. Instead, focus more on making other people happy, and that will build your confidence as other people start enjoying your company.
5- Accept compliments gracefully. Don't roll your eyes and say, "Yeah, right," or shrug it off. Take it to heart and respond positively ("Thank you" and a smile works well).
6- Know that you have important things to say and do. When you feel strongly about something, speak loudly and clearly and make eye contact with people. Be yourself.
7- Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Don't abuse your body, don't overload it, and don't deny it any of the things it needs. At the same time, don't obsess. Buying all the moisturizers, creams and conditioners will not bring you closer to who you want to be. Those things are only band-aids and make up. Confidence comes from within. Take the time to reflect on your life and do some emotional maintenance. In order to be confident, you must value yourself and understand that your well-being is important.
8- Work out. Getting enough exercise can boost your confidence amazingly. Not only will it give you more energy throughout the day, but being in good physical shape will make you feel more "worthy" you could say, to talk to others be yourself.
9- Stick up for yourself. If people put you down (and not in a good-natured, joking way), then let them know that their opinion of you is not held by everyone, most of all yourself. This may, at first, be hard to do. But once you stick up for yourself a few times, your confidence builds and you get more adept at it.
10- Celebrate your individuality. If you know you've got something special or different, then embrace it; don't hide it! That's diversity! You may wish that you were taller, or shorter, skinnier, stronger, whatever the case may be. But you need to realize that, if you were like everyone else, then you wouldn't be who you are. "What am I?" you ask; the answer's easy: You're a unique individual who is capable of growing and learning.
11- Take action. It is surprising how powerful the simple step of taking an action can be. And the action you take need not be something extravagant or grand. It could be something as simple as tackling a task that you have been procrastinating, such as writing a letter or tidying up that corner of the garage that has been out of control for the last several months. It could also be something as interesting as taking a class in art, interior design, cooking, anything that interests you that you haven't done yet. Whether large or small, action brings with it exhilaration, enthusiasm, and the confidence that other things can be done as well.
12- You'll need to work on your posture. Don't slouch or slump your shoulders, nothing says "I lack confidence" more than a person who appears like they're trying to hide from the world. Make sure that your back is straight, your shoulders are square, and your chest is puffed out slightly (but stay loose, otherwise you'll appear stiff and uptight). Keep your chin up and your eyes forward rather than looking at the ground.
13- Make a conscious effort to smile often. A smile makes you appear warm, honest, friendly, and confident. You can also just relax your facial muscles entirely, which will make you appear calm and relaxed. Observe yourself in a mirror to make sure that you don't have a tense or nervous facial expression, because if you do others will believe you to be sad, angry, or uncomfortable.
14- When engaging in conversation with others, make eye contact. Gaze into the other person's eyes as you talk to make yourself seem interested, calm, and confident. Avoiding eye contact makes you appear shy and submissive, while directly staring for too long may make you appear angry or scared. So the best advice is to gaze into a person's eyes as you converse with them while occasionally shifting your gaze or looking around.
15- Shaking hands can increase your confidence . When it comes to gesturing with your hands, keeping your hands far apart and your palms open makes you appear open and honest. Pointing with your fingers and bringing your hands closer together can draw emphasis to what you are saying. Don't overuse hand gestures or you'll look nervous and unstable. Avoid wringing your hands or touching your sleeves, as these things can make you appear nervous, tense, or even dishonest. If you're a man, have a firm handshake when shaking another man's hand. If you're shaking a woman's hand, don't grasp her hand any harder than she grasps yours.
16- Put a little strut or swagger into your walk. Move like you have a purpose, and keep your knees slightly bent to avoid appearing stiff and rigid.
17- Act confident, even if you don't truly feel it. After a while, it will come naturally, and you will feel confident in yourself! Also, learn to not care what other's think of you. If you let what people say to you bring you down, you will never be happy. Only care about how you feel about yourself, and don't always take what people say at face value, because they may be jealous of you and are intending to put you down. Don't let them stop your progress, but stand up for yourself while acting calmly!
Photo:Creative Commons Flickr