I used to be the picture of insecurity. I was consumed with my appearance and others’ opinions. When giving a speech in English class my heart would pound and my voice would waver so much I could barely talk. If someone sitting behind me laughed, I knew it had to be about me. I even went through a few months when I would involuntarily blush a nasty beet-red color in the middle of class for no apparent reason, then rush to the bathroom to let it subside. My mind was a place of self-doubt and over-analyzing everything.
Now, I’m happy to say I’ve mastered my insecurities and I love myself in all situations!
Just kidding. Obviously.
But by God’s grace, I have gained some confidence. It hurts to look back on where I was. I want to tell my 16-year-old self that it gets better.
I don’t know where you’re at on the ‘confidence meter.’ You may have struggles and reasons for worry that far surpass my experiences. I asked my Facebook and Instagram friends what they struggle with when it comes to confidence, and all your answers were so honest. It’s humbled me to see just a sample of the things you work through. So, no, I’m not the expert. But I do think we can all use a little encouragement in this area. Here are six ideas for building confidence that have proven helpful in my life:
1. Challenge your thoughts. Confidence is largely a game of the mind, because each small thought comprises our self-image. We cannot permit every whim and concern to make a home in our heads! If we do, we’ll be tossed about in a load of uncertainty. Instead, we have the power to challenge unhealthy thoughts with logic and truth.
2. Speak kindly about others. How we talk about other people influences how we think about ourselves. I’ve experienced this. When I make fun of people and nitpick their weaknesses or quirks, I become more critical about myself, too. Gossip and mean words create a culture of harshness. Luckily, the opposite is also true! When I compliment others and say good things behind their backs, I’m more likely to see the good in myself as well.
3. Do something scary. When I think about the hard things I’ve done, I can see how they’ve grown my confidence: moving to college, helping a research team, doing YouthWorks, etc. Each step, big or small, has shown me that I’m capable of more than I thought I was. It’s helped me look to the future with more bravery and a belief that God is always with me. Every time you dismiss fear and do something hard, your confidence grows.
4. Accept the core of your personality. This applies to introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between. I’ve found that you cannot change this. I fought against my introversion for many years, seeing my quietness and gentleness as something to overcome. I thought I needed to change before I could feel free and happy. The problem wasn’t my personality, though. It was my unhealthy mind. I’ve since learned to embrace my core, while not letting it cage me in. (Here is a related blog post!) Learn to accept and build on your personality, and you won’t be endlessly fighting against it!
5. Believe what God says about you. You will never healthfully overcome insecurity without believing what the Creator says about you. God’s opinion matters most, because he intimately knows every part of you: the beautiful, the sinful, and the painful. He paid the greatest sacrifice to know and be with you. The Bible is full of examples of God’s love for us, and how carefully and beautifully he made us. Our confidence comes not from outward appearances, but from the amazing spiritual realities we see in the Bible. Another key thing is that we do not journey through life alone. When there is a hard decision, painful season, or confusing time, God is always there to help and guide us.
6. Give yourself time and grace. This whole thing is a long road. There will be days where you feel like you’ve ‘made it,’ only to be followed by days when you want to curl into a ball. I know it because it’s been true in my life! But take a deep breath. It’s okay that you have struggles, and it is so, so important that you give yourself time and grace to grow.
So, friend, I hope these tips have helped you in some way. I am overjoyed and humbled that you take the time to read these posts!
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!