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Having a little self-doubt is healthy, but a persistent feeling of worthlessness and powerlessness might mean you’re struggling with low self-esteem. Having a good relationship with yourself and being confident in your abilities, qualities and judgments sets the tone for your life. Confidence equips you with the right mindset to push past obstacles, take risks and try new things, so it’s a large determinant of your success, health and wellbeing. Confidence is what compels you to ask for a raise, sign up for a cooking class or commit to your new workout program.

Although no one has an unlimited amount of self-confidence, anyone can build it. Confidence is a skill you can work on, develop and strengthen over time. Your insecurities and self-doubt don’t have to hold you back in your professional or personal life. These confidence-boosting tools, tips and strategies will help you overcome moments of uncertainty and challenge self-limiting beliefs so that you feel empowered to embrace who you’re becoming and be true to yourself.

Get outside of your comfort zone

It might be uncomfortable, overwhelming or anxiety-provoking to embrace your fears or try something new, but taking risks is the only way to overcome your fears. Every successful person took a risk despite being afraid, and they never gave up even though they failed over and over again.

We often avoid doing the thing that scares us because we don’t want to make a mistake or risk rejection. But, we have to remind ourselves that mistakes are the key to success, growth and confidence. Messing up doesn’t define us; our response to setbacks and our willingness to learn from our mistakes shape us.

Do something that scares you every day, whether it’s asking someone out on a date or signing up for a challenging dance class, and you’ll watch your confidence skyrocket. And if you mess up, be kind to yourself rather than beating yourself up. Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes because we’re all human.

Be your own cheerleader

Although it’s great to have a strong support system, relying on external validation from others won’t do much for your confidence levels. Plus, it’s unrealistic to have a whole team of supporters cheering you on whenever you accomplish something. To truly feel confident in your own skin, you need to believe in yourself first. Self-affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that you can tell yourself over and over again to change how you view yourself. They’re powerful tools that replace self-limiting thoughts and beliefs with more realistic ones. Repeating these statements will help you focus less on your failures and more on the positive.

The next time you catch yourself berating yourself for falling short of your high expectations, recall all of your accomplishments and strengths by writing them down, saying them out loud or making a mental note of them. Reflect on the times you received a high score on an exam, delivered an important presentation or hit a new personal record, and you’ll turn self-doubt into self-confidence in no time.

Take care of yourself

Self-confidence depends on good physical, emotional and social health, so practicing healthy habits can take your self-esteem to the next level. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and practicing good personal hygiene. The simple act of taking a shower, throwing on a clean shirt, preparing a healthy meal or pumping iron will make you feel good about yourself and ready to tackle the day.

Avoid peer comparisons

With social media, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. We’re constantly bombarded with images of toned fitness influencers heading to the gym, accomplished coworkers sharing their promotions and affluent friends posting their luxurious vacations, so it’s easy to use these people and their successes as a standard of comparison.

The next time you scroll through your Instagram feed, identify the thoughts and emotions that pop up, question where they’re coming from and reevaluate who you follow. To preserve your self-esteem, limit your time spent on social media, unfollow any accounts that trigger feelings of low self-worth and remind yourself that social media is a highlight reel that fails to show you the full picture. Remember that everyone is on a different path in life, and just because your best friend is starting her own company doesn’t make you less talented or less capable.

Lend a helping hand

If you’re struggling with feeling inadequate or incompetent, you’re most likely stuck in your thoughts. In order to take a step back from the turmoil inside your head, do something for someone else. Helping others puts your life into perspective and allows you to express gratitude for the blessings, strengths and experiences you have in your life. Plus, having the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s day will make you feel proud and capable. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen, text a friend who’s going through a tough time or teach your little sister how to play the guitar. Making someone’s life better will help you feel better about yourself.

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