How do I build my confidence?

In many contexts I feel like I lack self-esteem and self-confidence. Whenever anyone asks me for my notes, I always say yes even though I really don’t want to give it to them – I just don’t want to upset them. My friend wanted me to be in his soccer team even though I hate soccer, but I said yes because I didn’t want to let him down. Any tips on how I can build my confidence?

We draw on a range of sources to feel OK about ourselves, and you may have become too reliant on the reassurance and acceptance of those around you. This is very common. Perhaps there is a growing gap between what you want inside and what you want to stand for, as well as how you express yourself in your relationships with others. Asserting oneself can mean running the risk of rejection by the other person (parent or friend). While we do need some validation and reassurance from those close to us, the risk is that you end up always acting in accord with what they “seem” to want and they never see the real you. They may actually love and respect the real you, if you asserted yourself. Right now they may not be seeing much of the real you.

Another major source of support is internal, from feeling that you are acting and speaking in a manner which is in tune with your values. What has been your experience doing that, and how has it affected your feelings of self esteem and confidence? It sounds like you have a clear sense of what some of those values are and what actions or words they may lead to.

This is a major, vital and challenging struggle on the way to becoming your own person. You may need some help on this journey. That could be through attending counselling. It could also be through reading and using tools like a diary. This could help you to monitor and reflect on times when, either, you have been lead by your guess of what others want, or, you have responded to your own internal compass. If you would like to read more try the following links on assertiveness and self esteem and check out our workshops page for some tips on communication.

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