When to Build Self-Confidence

Written by Karl Perera MA, DipLC.

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Did you know that millions suffer from self-esteem and self-confidence issues? So you’re not alone.

I’ve helped many clients and many visitors to this website improve their self-confidence and self-esteem over the years and so I know what it takes. In addition to that, I have also suffered from low self-esteem especially in my 20s and 30s and I managed to develop a much healthier outlook on life and now I don’t have any issues with self-confidence at all.

Building self-confidence doesn’t have to be a very complicated issue. There are many steps that you can take to start moving in the right direction. But how do you know when the time is right to seriously start working on your self-confidence?

The time to start building your self-confidence is when you are experiencing pain and low self-esteem. When you understand that you are actually holding yourself back by what you believe about yourself then it is time to start building self-confidence.

Most people seem to begin to build self-confidence when they are already at a crisis level and after desperation has set in. They often wait until they feel hopeless and crushed by what is happening in their lives. I hope you haven’t reached this stage but even if you have what I’m about to say is really going to help you know when and how are you need to get started building your self-esteem and your confidence. This is going to transform your life and make you much happier. And I know I have said that building self-confidence is not complicated but there are many steps that you should follow. I’m here as your guide to point you in the right direction so that you can follow a path that is suitable for you. Everybody’s situation is different, but, there are some common denominators which we need to address before we move forward.

In the paragraphs that follow I’m going to show you how to read the signs of low self-esteem and to know when is the right time to get started building your self-esteem and confidence. I’m also going to show you what is the first and most important thing you need to do to build your self-confidence. After that, I’m going to show you how important self-improvement is throughout life not just in periods where you are suffering from low self-confidence. Finally, I’m going to show you with the help of some research that I recently carried out the main reasons why people need to get started on self-improvement and how to identify which of these might apply to you. Once you’re done that you’ll know what steps we need to take

What are the Signs of Low Self Esteem?

There are many signs of low self esteem.

These include depression, lack of confidence in your ability to do something, social anxiety, and thinking negative things about yourself. We all have a lot of reasons to think negatively if we see the world in that way. In fact, I often think that it seems much easier to have a negative attitude than a positive one. However, it is important in terms of building self-confidence to also work on your general attitude. A positive attitude will help you move forward and improve yourself so that confidence is more natural to you.

This is why depression can result from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, negative thinking sets in and if it continues for a while, life gets worse and the future looks bleak.

When is the Time Right to Build Self Confidence?

A quick answer to the above question would be that there is no time like the present. If you’re lacking self-confidence done wait until it’s ruining your life, limiting you socially in terms of success in your studies, in your relationships or in any other area of your life such as work or in your personal life.

However realistically with our busy lives, these days chances are that you may neglect your own self-care and only be aware of a problem with a lack of self-confidence when you run into serious issues that cause pain in your daily or professional life.

What is the First Thing You Should Do to Build Your self-confidence?

The first thing that you need to do to build your self-confidence is taking time to reflect and think about what is the source or reason why you have a lack of confidence. If you can be sure about understanding what that is, You can do something about it.

Once you have identified what the source of your problem is and the reasons why you don’t feel confident then you need to decide to start working on yourself towards self-improvement and your personal goals.

Confidence is a matter of having the right mindset and having the inner strength to support yourself and to be able to set and achieve goals that move you forward in the direction that you want to go in your life. However, confidence also depends on your ability to ignore the negative comments from others and not to allow these comments to affect you. Perhaps you even need to remove toxic people from your life.

Whatever the cause of your self-esteem and self-confidence issues you need to take steps to overcome those problems. I will show you how in the rest of this article.

Self Improvement Will Lead You to More Self Confidence

Self-improvement is a path to improving yourself as a person and the first and most important step in building your self-confidence is to develop a self-care program that will help you in your personal development. If you need help from others, perhaps professional help, or guidance from a therapist to solve issues in addition to your own efforts to improve your confidence then this is fine and highly recommend it. If however, on the other hand, you feel able toUse self-help methods to improve your confidence there are lots of tools you can use such as self-hypnosis which has been shown to be very very successful with many many people lacking self-confidence. The fact that you are working on yourself and your goals will be enough in itself to build your self-confidence with every small step forward. However, whenever you take on any project to improve yourself there will always be setbacks no matter how small.

One of the most important things in self-confidence is to build on every success and reward yourself when you do achieve those small milestones on your journey. Don’t let others put you off and keep going until you start to feel more positive.

At the root of many issues with self-confidence there is fear of pain and other negative emotions, so don’t be afraid to address these and to challenge yourself when you feel fear of pain then this is a sign that you need to take action. You need to find the courage to overcome these negative emotions and each time you do your confidence will build. It is quite possible to build up self-confidence by avoiding your challenges. It is necessary to face what do you fear or did she pain and become better than the pain or fear.

Research: What Motivated You to Start Your Self-Improvement Journey?

The purpose of this research was to determine the major causes of low self-confidence. Is it experiencing rejection or negative comments from others, or something else? Perhaps the lack of self-confidence comes from appearance or how we believe others see us. So, in this research, I asked the question what caused you to set upon the journey of self-improvement, what was the cause or the trigger, and the results were very interesting!

How I did the research

I gathered data from three sources, the Self-Awareness Self-Improvement (SaSi) Self-Discovery Discussion Group on Facebook (Source), and from two discussions on Quora (What kickstarted your journey to better yourself? and What motivated You to Star Working on Yourself?). After collecting the data, the answers were categorised into different issues that triggered the journey of self-development.

What kickstarted your personal growth journey?

NoCauseVotesPercent
1Low Self Confidence1022
2Inspiration920
3Change Life Direction818
4Pain and rejection613
5Illness613
6Love24
7Money24
8Fear24
Reasons why each respondent started their journey of self improvement. Source: Quora Answers and Facebook Groups 2021.

Conclusions from this research. What does this mean for building self-confidence?

I found some results from this research very interesting especially the fact that at least in this small sample, (45 respondents), the major reason why someone embarked on a journey of self-improvement was an issue with self-confidence. So, in that sense, it validates the importance of this topic. Almost one in five (22%) stated that their lack of confidence was the trigger for change.

Of course, there are various reasons given for lack of confidence including abuse or victimization from others and negative comments or poor self image. I noticed that much of this confidence was either to do with relationships with family and friends or because of diet and appearance. The fact that most of those who mentioned being overweight were women was no real surprise to me, as it is commonly agreed that there is so much pressure on women to look slim and be fit. However, several men also complained that they were teased because of their appearance (obesity and looking weak and thin were mentioned).

I had expected that the need to be successful and the need to be loved would be more important than appears to be the case in this study. Although the number of participants is small, the very low percentages for money, success and love (4%) is significant.

How does this research help us? I believe it helps us to understand two things.

The first is that a lack of self-confidence is an important, perhaps the biggest, trigger to change ourselves. The second is that neither fear nor success seem to be a driving factor that creates the need to improve ourselves. Rather, painful events such as being rejected, abused or ridiculed cause us to desire a better life which we understand will only be possible through self-improvement and building self-confidence.

This research may also help us to understand the next question we will consider.

Are We Born with Confidence or Do We Learn it?

From my experience and from my own life I believe that as children we do have quite a lot of self-confidence mainly because we don’t know our limitations and we don’t know what is possible and what is not possible. The child’s world’s fantastic and the simplest things are miracles. In this situation as a child, everything seems possible for us and so our natural level of self-confidence is high.

However, with passing time a child begins to learn about difficulties and challenges that he or she faces every day. They also begin to compare themselves with other children. In addition to this, comments from parents and loved ones begin to have an effect on what the child leaves about themselves and how they see themselves this is the period when our self-esteem steam begins to develop deep in childhood.

So in a sense, we are born with a basic level of confidence but we have to learn how to be confident as we face new challenges we have to learn how to overcome fear and solve problems. We have to learn how not to compare ourselves without us in a negative way and we have to learn to think positively rather than negatively. The fact that our self-confidence as adults and young teenagers depends on our experience of events and relationships with others, and the fact that (as I believe) self-confidence is learned is a good thing because as adults we can learn to become more confident in every area of our lives.

One thing I would like to point out is that there is a huge difference between unwarranted and careless confidence which can lead to many risks and dangers in life and appropriate levels of confidence which will help us become more successful and more social and happier in our lives.

References

  • Quora Answers. (2020). What Kicked Your Journey to Better Yourself? https://www.quora.com/What-kickstarted-your-journey-to-better-yourself?
  • Quora Answers. (2021). What Motivated You to Start Working on Yourself? https://www.quora.com/What-motivated-you-to-start-working-on-yourself
  • Facebook. (2021). Self-Awareness Self-Improvement (SaSi) Self-Discovery Discussion Group.

Website Author and Your Guide

Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.