The journey towards greater self-love and a deep sense of self-confidence can be turbulent, to say the least. Over the past two years, many of us have experienced major life changes that may have knocked us off course or fundamentally shifted our sense of self. Now more than ever we could use some help to boost confidence and self-love.
This is where engaging in regular mental health practices like journaling, therapy and meditation comes in. Building self-confidence is a lifelong work in progress, so it’s important to be patient with yourself in the process.
How to Boost Confidence and Increase Your Self-Love
We sat down with Dr. Mariyam Ahmed, a Toronto psychologist, for her recommendations on how to boost your confidence and increase your self-love.
Q: How can people boost their confidence when they may not like certain qualities about themselves?
A: If you notice certain aspects that you don’t like about yourself, it’s important to not generalize and have a global negative view of yourself. Instead, it’s helpful to acknowledge and recognize that we all have certain aspects about ourselves that we want to change or improve upon.
An example would be that if we notice that we find giving presentations to a group of people difficult, an unhelpful thought might be “I can never do anything right.” An example of a more helpful thought would be “I need to improve my presentation skills.”
Q: What are the first steps someone should take towards loving themselves more?
A: The first step towards self-love involves practicing self-acceptance. To start to exhibit self-love we have to be aware of the value we place on ourselves, thoughts we have about ourselves and our capabilities and the type of judgments (positive vs. negative) that we are placing on ourselves.
To practice self-love, it is important that we identify any critical views we hold of ourselves, and whether we have any harsh thoughts or negative opinions of ourselves. The goal is to demonstrate self-compassion, not judge ourselves critically and work towards acceptance of our attributes, both the positive as well as those aspects of ourselves that we feel may need improvement.
Q: What are some tangible actions people can make to boost confidence and self-love?
- Reflect on your strengths. Identify some activities that you like to participate in and feel you’re good at (e.g., music, sport, work-related activities) and engage in those activities more often.
- Celebrate your achievements and successes.
- Set goals. If you feel there are some areas you need to improve upon, make goals and identify small steps that you can take towards achieving them.
- Reframe your negative thoughts towards more realistic and positive perceptions.
- Engage in self-care activities such as healthy eating, exercise, living an active lifestyle and meditation.
- Have a support group. Identify friends and family that you can turn to when you’re experiencing self-doubt and in need of support.
- List activities that you find relaxing to use as a stress reliever like going for a walk, listening to music, talking to a friend, taking a bath, or meditating.
- Set boundaries with people that may be bringing a critical or negative influence into your life.
- Practice positive self-talk by using coping statements such as “I am a good person,” “I am capable” or “I am worthwhile.”
- Try engaging in new activities in an area which you may not have participated before like art, music, cooking, gaming etc.