One of the benefits that many claim about exercise is that it increases self confidence...
My belief is that exercise improves your self confidence for many reasons, but exercise alone does not increase your self confidence. There are many behaviors that you need to practice to increase your self confidence.
You can find many people who exercise and have improved their appearance and they are still not confident with themselves. You can see many bodybuilders who do steroids and are ripped and big, but still that is not enough for them. They still lack confidence.
The same you can see with the skinny girl who thinks is not skinny enough and she becomes anorexic. Another example is the fitness girls who think their body is not good enough with exercise and they choose to change their body with plastic surgeries.
Their problem is not their appearance. It is a psychologically self acceptance problem...
These issues many times are past traumas or simply the need to be admired and accepted by others. But I am not writing to discuss where many people’s insecurities come from. It would be a good idea to find out to learn about where the problem is to better approach it. So start there to see if your self confidence is lacking because of it. Then continue reading.
To increase your confidence you don’t need to sign up to a gym and start working out. But also that would not be a bad idea. The point of exercising and improving your appearance is to do the necessary work and learn from the journey.
It is like making money. You can become the best psychologist and help a lot of people transform their lives and make a lot of money from that. Or you can become a prostitute (nothing against them) , sleep with a lot of wealthy guys and make a lot of money from that as well. Which of those do you think will increase their self confidence? It is obvious, right? The money won’t increase the psychologist self esteem and confidence but the fact that she is making an impact in people’s lives. The prostitute had to give her dignity to make money and be rich and giving your dignity decreases your self confidence.
It is not the end results what increases your self confidence but the real ethical work you have done to get the results...
Starting to distort things and thinking that plastic surgeries and other superficial ways to improve self appearance will improve self confidence is like thinking that making a lot of money becoming a porn star will do that as well. Money itself won’t help with self confidence but that way money is made. The same happens with your body.
It is not the body that helps with your self confidence but the work you have done to improve it...
You can argue that you see many people who changed their body appearance with drugs and surgeries that seem more confident than before, but the truth is that they still lack confidence and that is the reason why they are looking for attention in their social media. It is like a prostitute, she can drive an exotics car, be in the most affluent places and have a billion dollar house, but her self confidence is not there for her. And with this I am not saying that driving a exotics car is not a good idea. There are many ethical business people who have all these expensive toys, houses and trips, but their self confidence doesn't come from the money. It comes from the ethical work they have done.
My point here is that if you want to increase your confidence you need to be looking for the work and behaviors you are practicing more than for the appearance itself.
So for you to really increase your self confidence here are some steps to follow:
1. Commitment- Have you noticed that every time you say you are going to do something and don’t do it, you feel terrible? This is because each time you let yourself down, you know inside that you have failed yourself just like you would feel if your dad lied to you and let you down on his promise. You know you are lying to yourself and you were not capable of keeping your promise to you.
So this is very simple. Once you have confronted fear, commit to change and keep your promise to yourself no matter how difficult it becomes. Other people are doing it and have done it before, so that means you can do it as well. I recommend that you start with small commitments to keep your promise and as you become comfortable with small commitments, get out of your comfort zone and make bigger commitments.
Don’t sign up to a gym in the beginning if you are not ready yet, start walking 30 minutes a day for 5 days. Set a goal and don’t stop until you achieve it. Change your breakfast and do it diligent. Once you are able to keep your small promises, commit to something bigger. If your goal is to sign up to a gym, set a date and commit to it.
2. Confront your fears- Everyone has fears and we are insecure, but the difference between those who appear to be afraid and those who don’t is that the first ones don’t confront their fears. Start doing something small that scares you. You can talk to the person who you have been wanting to talk to for months, you can accept a challenge, you can go to a country where you don’t speak the language, you can do public speaking or raise your opinion. This one will dramatically increase your self confidence.
3. Do what you said you will- This is very similar to commitment. But to me commitment is more a long term behavior. Here if you said to yourself or someone else that you are going to be on time in the meeting, be on time. If you said you are going to ask your boss for a raise, go and do it and confront your fears.
4. Study- If you want to be successful in your task and overcome fear easily, the way to do it is to gain information about what you are doing to do new things and make fewer mistakes than going blinded to the new task. For example, if you are going to ask for a raise, learn how to do it, learn to show how valuable you are to the company instead of just going and saying, “Hey, I want a raise.” The more you study, the more confidence you are going to feel in your new behavior.
5. Learn to be rejected- This is another one that will boost your self confidence to the roof. When you understand that many people will not agree with you or simply are not part of your life or they don’t like what you are offering, rejection is just something normal like brushing your teeth in the morning. Many people are afraid of being rejected, but being rejected from other people and, understanding your motive and values, it helps you understand that you are unique and not everyone will accept you. Accepting yourself. That is a sign that you are mature and becoming confident.
6. Fail many times-Taking a risk is not guaranteed to succeed the first time you try. But if you have the guts (if you challenge yourself and do something you are afraid of) to try, you know that the percentage of you to succeed is bigger than if you don’t try. So no matter what new behavior or action you start, know that you are going to fail. Maybe the fact that you are failing won’t increase your self confidence, but knowing that failing is needed for you to succeed won’t hurt your self esteem.
7. Challenge yourself- Each time you take on a bigger and more challenging task, your self confidence increases because you know you are capable of adapting to the new bigger task and that gives you the courage to take on more challenging tasks. For example, in your weight lifting, if you are squatting body weight and then you challenge yourself to squat the 45 pound bar, now you are taking a bigger challenge. That would give you the courage to add up 20 pounds to the bar when you know your body is ready. Another example is if you did a three mile hike, challenge yourself to do the five mile hike.
The same applies to anything you can think of. Maybe you are afraid of public speaking. Start by talking to your friend about the topic you want to present. Then talk to five friends or your family when you are at the dinner table. Then maybe gather ten friends and talk to them about your topic. When you notice, you will be ready to talk to twenty or one hundred people.
8. Don’t lie/ Tell the truth- People who tell the truth are more confident than people who lie. You can see that in their eyes and the way they behave. Start noticing yourself when you lie and see how you feel. Also feel yourself when it is hard to tell the truth, but you say it anyway. I know many times we don’t want to hurt others feelings or we want to be accepted by others, but you hurt others more when you lie and you lie to yourself to please other people. So don’t put your integrity on the line and gain some confidence by telling the truth.
9. Become better everyday- There is something in you that tells you if you are slacking and not doing your best. No one else knows how good or bad you are doing except yourself. Your inner self is always pushing you to become better, so don’t ignore that voice and listen to it and start improving yourself everyday by exercising, learning, controlling your emotions, helping others, creating and teaching. There are many areas in your life where you can become better.
10. Cry when you need to- life is painful and we are here to surfer. It doesn't matter if you like it or not. This is life. The more you learn to cope with hardship, the less suffering you experience. For example, working physically in construction takes a level of physical and mental pain. If you learn how to cope with such a task, you get used to the job that other easy jobs that are difficult for others become laughable. If you experience a loss of a loved one and learn how to cope with it, any other emotional loss becomes easy to cope with. Things are going to happen that will hurt you. Become stronger than life’s challenges.
With this in mind, you are still a human being. Learn when and how to cry. Understanding that you are human and you are vulnerable, gives you the self confidence to continue moving forward.
11. Be happy for others' successes- Many times we become jealous of other people’s success and there are many reasons. One of those reasons could be because we think that we are inferior. Everyone is on their own journey and has different experiences. As well they might sacrificed more than we have. Learning to be happy for those who have achieved their goals even though they are ahead of us, gives us the confidence to learn from them and continue our personal progress.
12. Stand up for your values- Your values are what you value the most in life. For example, I value my freedom and my unique way of expecting myself. In this past “pandemic” I chose not to wear a mask. While many people were against me because of their value security and social behavior, I stand for what I value. This led me to be rejected by many, to be criticized, to lose business and to lose friends. My self confidence increased more when I defended my values and my beliefs instead of just giving up to peer pressure.
13. Be true to yourself - You will never be confident trying to copy someone and be like the others. True confidence comes from you expressing who you really are. Work on becoming a better version of yourself everyday.
So practice all these behaviors everyday to increase your self confidence...
This is not an easy and quick solution but very effective for real results. There is no pill, surgery, magic trick or easy way to increase your self confidence. Do the work and rip the reward.