To be confident is a lot easier said than done. For those who have strong inner critics and are intimately familiar with self-doubt, it can feel impossible at times. The negative voice inside your head might be difficult to shake, making confidence a challenging quality to attain.
The journey to building up your self-confidence won’t be quick or easy. Fortunately, you can still exude confidence without necessarily embracing it. The concept of “fake it ‘til you make it” suggests that showing up as someone who is self-confident might be an effective approach to developing actual confidence. By simply appearing confident, we can trick our minds into perceiving ourselves as a confident person.
In this article, I’ll explore the importance of showing self-confidence even when you don’t actually feel confident, and the various ways you can exude confidence in your everyday life.
- What is self-confidence?
- Why it’s important to show self-confidence
- Can appearing confident help you gain more confidence?
- How to show self-confidence
- Wrapping up
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence can be defined as the feeling of certainty that you are capable of handling something. It means you believe in your abilities and skills to overcome any circumstance. It also means being able to recognize your own strengths and talents.
This confidence in one’s self and abilities is the foundation of so many great things in life, including happiness. When you are confident in yourself, you move through life with greater ease and self-awareness.
As a result, self-confidence, or a lack thereof, can dramatically impact the quality of your life.
Why it’s important to show self-confidence
You are likely no stranger to the benefits of confidence. You’ve probably experienced it for yourself. Perhaps, confidence gave you the ability to successfully ask someone out on a date or give an impressive presentation at work. When you radiate confidence, life seems to conspire in your favor.
If you haven’t experienced it for yourself yet, you probably witnessed the impact of confidence in other people. People with confidence carry themselves differently than those who lack it. This likely stems from their certainty in their sense of self and their capabilities. As a result, confident people tend to be happier and more emotionally intelligent.
Self-confidence is essential to achieving what you want in life. Studies show a positive correlation between self-confidence and achievement. When you are certain of your ability to achieve something, you are more likely to achieve it.
Even if you lack self-confidence, it’s important to appear confident anyways. Showing up in your daily life as someone who is confident might help you gradually become the confident person you are trying to personate.
Can appearing confident help you gain more confidence?
Confidence tends to be elusive for a lot of us. It’s impossible to feel confident a hundred percent of the time. Everyone has days when their inner-critic or self-doubt gets the better of them. If you’re having one of those days or the feeling of confidence continues to escape you, you can always fake confidence until you actually feel it.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy and her colleagues conducted an interesting study on the impact of ‘power posing’ on the brain. Their research demonstrates that a confident posture even when participants lack actual confidence can have a positive impact on their success. Those who did the high-power pose projected more confidence and performed better during a job interview than those who did the low-power pose. This suggests that we can boost our own confidence by simply appearing more confident.
How to show self-confidence
For anyone struggling with self-confidence, the good news is that there are ways to show confidence even if you haven’t fully embraced it yet. Here are 5 tips to help you exude confidence in your everyday life.
1. Be mindful of your body language
When it comes to appearing confident, your body language says everything. From the way you stand to the way you move your hands, your body’s posture and movements can reveal your confidence in yourself.
Think of the most confident person you know, and observe the way they carry themselves. Now, imagine someone deeply insecure. The physical presence of those two people are diametrically opposed to each other. Chances are, you can tell from their postures and movements alone who exudes confidence and who needs to work on developing it.
Hence, the secret to showing self-confidence is in your body language. To look more confident, try to incorporate the following postures and movements into your body language:
- Roll your shoulders back, keep your head high, and stand up straight.
- Maintain eye contact during a conversation or presentation.
- When meeting someone for the first time, shake their hand firmly.
- Avoid fidgeting.
- Fight the urge to cross your arms or place your hands in your pocket.
- Offer positive social cues such as a friendly facial expression or a few nods to reassure someone who is speaking to you that you’re listening.
- If you are trying to make a point, use hand movements to reinforce your words.
- Subtly mirror the body language of other people and match their energy to develop a better connection with them.
2. Edit your speaking style
The way you speak conveys your confidence just as much as your body language. While some people like Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela appear to be naturally gifted orators, it doesn’t mean a confident speaking style is beyond reach for the rest of us.
There are numerous ways to demonstrate your self-confidence through your speaking style. Here are a few tips to help you speak more confidently:
- Speak slowly. People who don’t rush their words tend to have a calm, cool, and collected aura about them.
- Enunciate your words clearly. Treat your words like they deserve to be heard.
- Pause to collect your thoughts. It’s always a good idea to gather your thoughts before speaking. This gives them more sincerity.
- Get comfortable with moments of silence. Not every moment of silence is awkward. There is no need to always fill these moments with noise.
- Try your best to avoid words like “just” or “um” that water down your intention.
When attempting to make these changes to your speaking style, it’s important to be patient with yourself. It took you most of your life to develop your current speaking style, so it’s going to take quite some time to alter it.
3. Own your accomplishments
Are you the kind of person who deflects compliments? Perhaps, you answer every compliment you receive with another compliment directed towards the other person. While there’s nothing wrong with being humble or appreciating other people, you have to own your accomplishments.
Having a low opinion of yourself is not 'modesty.' It's self-destruction. Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not 'egotism.' It's a necessary precondition to happiness and success.Bobbe Sommer
There is nothing vain or arrogant about accepting a compliment with a simple thank you. Even if you don’t feel like you are worthy of it, simply thank the person for recognizing something good about you. I’m willing to bet that you actually deserve it.
One of the best ways to exude confidence is to claim your success and recognize your best qualities. That way, when someone acknowledges your achievements, you can demonstrate gratitude rather than minimize your hard work and efforts.
4. Put more effort into your appearance
It probably goes without saying, but there are far more important things in this life than your physical appearance. Your worth and value as a human being is by no means defined by how you look.
However, if your appearance is something that you care about, putting more effort into it is a sure way to appear more confident. When we know we look good, we tend to feel good as well. This good feeling allows us to show up with more confidence in our lives.
You probably move through the world differently in a well-tailored suit or a gorgeous dress than you would in a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. As a result, taking the time to choose an outfit that makes you feel confident or working out to achieve your fitness goals can help you radiate confidence.
5. Smile often
Nothing screams confidence quite like a smile on your face. A smile has the ability to put people at ease and convey confidence. Smiling gives you the appearance of someone who is happy and friendly.
People who genuinely smile often tend to ooze confidence. We naturally gravitate towards these people because we associate them with positivity. On the other hand, we avoid people who never smile because it’s often safe to assume they’re not in a good mood.
To emanate confidence in your daily interactions, be generous with your smile. The best part about smiling is that it encourages others to do the same. Smile every time you feel like it or when you feel like someone could use it. Chances are, you’ll get a couple of beautiful smiles in return.
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It’s important to appear confident even when you don’t necessarily feel like it. Feigning confidence until you gain real confidence may sound a bit like cheating, but it’s actually a good strategy to help you develop confidence faster. When it comes to confidence, don’t be afraid to fake it until you make it. It doesn’t matter how you get there. All that matters is that you make it.
Do you find it hard to show self-confidence? Or do you want to share a tip of yours that will help others with their self-confidence? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!