Wouldn't it be great if there were some magic pill you could take that would instantly boost your self-confidence? You could just pop it in your mouth right before an interview, a big date, an important meeting, a critical test, an athletic event, or any other time when you really wish you were more confident.
Well, there may not be a magic pill that can increase your confidence, but there is something you can do that works just as well: Replace the habit of negative thinking with more positive, productive thinking.
Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right." In other words, if you tell yourself you can't do something because you're not smart enough, or talented enough, or athletic enough, or attractive enough, or experienced enough, or whatever other negative things you tell yourself, you will have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. You will have failed because you'd already concluded you would fail before you even started.
If you don't feel very confident, spend a day or two paying attention to your thoughts.
What is it you tell yourself all day long? When you are around other people, what is going through your mind? Are your thoughts positive or fear-based? Do you find you are critiquing yourself during conversations with thoughts like, "Why did I say that?" "Why is he looking at me like that?" or "Why do I keep repeating myself?"
If that sounds like the nature of your thoughts, you may have fallen into the habit of criticizing yourself, which makes you feel self-conscious and insecure. If those are the kind of thoughts running through your head all day; it's no wonder you lack self-confidence!
Also pay attention to your thoughts when you're alone. Are your thoughts more positive, less positive, or about the same as when you're around others? If your thoughts are more positive, you may be more confident than you think and may just put too much emphasis on what others think. If that's the case, even something as simple as practicing visualization, where you see yourself being as relaxed and confident around others as you are while you're by yourself, could be all you need to do.
On the other hand, if your thoughts when you're alone are just as negative, or even more negative, than when you're around other people, you may need to work a little harder on the underlying beliefs that are leading to your lack of self-confidence and negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and your life.
Here are some tips to help you decrease your negative thoughts and increase your confidence:
Don't be harsh with yourself; just use Ronald Reagan's famous line on yourself. During political debates when his opponents would try to criticize him, he'd respond in a fatherly tone with, "Well, there you go again.." Say that to yourself when you start in on the negative thinking. Stop the negative thinking and replace it with more positive and productive thoughts.
The most important thing to remember is that your thoughts have a very real impact on your level of self-confidence. There are many things in this world you can't control, but you always have control over your own thoughts. Use them wisely to begin creating a more confident, happy, and satisfied "you" today.