Confidence is one of the most important strengths a person can have. Confidence is not only felt inside, but also a characteristic that other people notice. Some people are naturally more confident than others, but it can be an acquired trait. Confidence may also fluctuate based on certain situations. Many characteristics come to mind when we think of the term “confidence” such as a strong walk, a tall and sold stature, and poise. On the flip side, the term “insecure” may bring to mind images of crossed arms over the chest, a slightly hunched over stature, and nervous tendencies. This body language associated with confidence and insecurity, and even other personality traits, often speaks louder than words. In other words, the way people carry themselves can portray aspects of their personality to others that verbal language may not be able to do.
In the eloquent words of Naeem Callaway, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”
Follow these four steps to become a more confident you:
Step One: Adjust your body language
Try to make yourself tall! Straighten your spine and roll your shoulders back. Even if you are feeling uncomfortable or nervous in a situation, try not to hide behind crossed arms or a hunched back. Research has shown that the act of making yourself bigger and opening yourself up, directly correlates to a feeling of empowerment and self-confidence. Not only will you feel differently about yourself, other people will likely view you as an independent and confident individual as well.
Step Two: Adjust your facial expressions
Wearing a smile, along with making direct eye contact, can say a lot about a person. Direct eye contact during conversations indicates that you are present, paying attention, and showing interest in what the other person is saying. Not only will you make a positive impression, a simple smile also releases endorphins. Endorphins positively boost your mood, regardless of how you were feeling previously. A positive mindset allows a confident individual to think clearly and achieve great things.
Step Three: Focus on your strengths
One of the biggest issues facing many students today is the constant comparison and competition. Not one person on this planet is the same as another, so why not accept the traits that you do have, and pride your self on the skills that make you unique. Channel those skills into a goal, and push yourself to accomplish that goal. Gaining a sense of self-efficacy gives a person the ability to visualize success, which in turn encourages persistence in the future.
Step Four: Find your voice
When someone asks you a question that requires an opinionated response, be decisive. Verbalize what you like, what you don’t like, and what you actually believe. Be opinionated. Avoid the terms “kind of”, “I’m not sure”, and “I think”. There is a way to clearly state your response in an honest and decisive, yet not abrasive way. The act of standing by your opinion and holding true to your feelings, boosts your self-confidence and causes less self- doubt. A decisive person is someone who makes a choice and sticks to it. Sticking to your guns will only strengthen your drive further.
All of these steps take effort, awareness and practice in everyday life. Taking the time to slightly adjust your body language and focus on direct communication with others will only enhance how you feel about yourself, and in return, how others view you! So start your days off on a positive note, with a smile on your face, and kick doubt out the door!
Photo Credit: Sammy Gitlin