There have been thousands of research papers published on self-confidence or self-esteem, and many of these papers connect self-confidence with success in life.
They found that high self-esteem is associated with better health, better social lives, protection against mental disorders and social problems, healthy coping, and mental well-being.
Martin Seligman reminds us that positive self-image by itself does not produce anything. A sustainable sense of belief in oneself arises from positive and productive behaviour.
So here are 7 behaviours you can develop to build your self-confidence and increase your self-esteem.
When people disrespect you or your boundaries, take polite steps to stop it. A person with self-respect doesn't allow others to walk all over them or treat them badly. You are better off distancing yourself from someone who is disrespectful.
When you recognise that someone isn't treating you with consideration and respect, you need to say clearly in your own way, "You just disrespected me by.... and that's not OK with me."
2. Self acceptance
The more you take time to increase your self-awareness and discover who you really are, the more you'll appreciate how unique and incredible you are.
Stop people pleasing and start developing your own character and standards. Be true to yourself.
You can begin by working out your values (my free download can help you get started, get it here), your personality and strengths.
It's really important that you have faith in your personal values and focus on what's important to you.
Just because other people think you should behave in a certain way, doesn’t mean they are right.
One of the best behaviours you can develop is the ability to handle criticism. We are sensitive creatures and our tendency to overthink and over-analyse situations and comments can increase this.
To maintain a sense of self-respect, it's vital we learn how to deal with criticism and the best way to do this is to not take it personally.
Often people feel awkward when trying to tell you when you did something wrong or hurt them, and it usually comes out as a blunt or aggressive statement.
Look at it from a detached perspective and consider what the person is really trying to say. It sometimes helps to repeat it in your head in the 3rd person. For example, [person's name] feels that [your name], [insert criticism here].
This has the potential to be such a simple behaviour, but so many people wear holding grudges as a badge of honour.
Forgive others and forgive yourself. Don’t live in the past. Move on from past mistakes and difficult situations.
Holding a grudge hurts you more than the other person and prevents you from living your life to the full. Move on from past mistakes and difficult situations.
This behaviour requires you to consciously decide that you will no longer take the 'victim' role.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your decisions, your actions and your life and only you can make change happen.
The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs. Joan Didion
Use positive affirmations correctly. Telling yourself you are going to be a great success is often too unbelievable and unrealistic for someone experiencing low self-esteem.
Making them more believable is your best bet for low self-esteem and adding in a 'doing' element and a character strength will make them even more powerful. For example, "I will persevere until I succeed."
Often when we feel low in confidence our inner critic pops its head up and lays into all the things we 'should' have done better or the character flaws we imagine we have.