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Improving Self Confidence

Self confidence, or lack of it, can really affect our lives. It can mean the difference between doing, and not doing, anything! How you feel about yourself will affect how other people feel about you: your family; your friends; your colleagues. So, improving your self-confidence can not only improve your life, but those of your children and friendship groups.

If your life has not turned out as you planned or expected or if you have experienced difficulties, then this can knock or decrease your self confidence. Self confidence is used to describe how secure a person is in their own decisions and actions, for some people, especially single parents, this can be difficult.

Things like the end of a relationship, living on a low income, becoming a single parent or experiencing domestic abuse can affect confidence. Some people have suffered from low confidence since they were children.

The good news is that confidence is like a muscle; with time, patience and practice it can be rebuilt or developed. Building your confidence will also be good a example for your children.

Am I lacking in self confidence? 

  • Do you often think that your actions or decisions will not work out?
  • Are you self-conscious when someone is watching you do something? 
  • Do you put things off or procrastinate about tasks because you can't make a decision?
  • Do you worry what others might think should you make a mistake? 
  • Do you have a habit of criticising yourself when you are doing a task? 
  • Do small mistakes upset you; do they seem bigger than they really are? 
  • Do you take the blame for things even when it isn't your fault?

Here are some simple definitions of what it means to be confident;

  • A belief in yourself and your abilities
  • An attitude of trusting your decisions or relying on yourself
  • Freedom from doubt
  • Trust in one self
  • Feeling certain
  • Faith in one's own abilities 


Tips for developing self confidence

  • Write a list of things that you like about yourself and things that you are good at (if you struggle to do this ask a good friend)
  • Use mental techniques such as using positive affirmations and visualisation of positive outcomes for yourself
  • Learn something new, do a short course in something you enjoy
  • Walk confidently, stand up straight, be calm and composed... and smile
  • Don’t try to please everyone – say NO sometimes
  • Focus on what you have achieved; for example being a good parent, remember that looking after a family alone is quite an achievement! 
  • Spend time with positive, confident people and notice how they behave
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – be yourself and be proud
  • When you do something new be prepared and plan so that it is easier
  • Take small steps to achieve big goals and take one day at a time
  • Speak well of yourself, and don’t put yourself down
  • Learn how to give compliments and receive them graciously, try doing this with your children! ...
  • And remember to use these tecniques regularly so they become a habit.


If building your self confidence is something you really want to work on there are some useful resources that can help; for example mobile phone apps such as Cognitive Diary which helps you to identify certain triggers and thought patterns that creates a negative state of mind.  Mindtools is a great website that has an abundance of career and thinking skill resources; see their Building Self Confidence article which provides a range of self development exercises.  There may also be local confidence building courses in your area too! 

You may also want to read our articles How to say 'No' and be Heard!Self Esteem and Basic Assertiveness Rights 


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