Let’s be honest, everyone desires to have self-confidence. Whether it’s for the sake of nailing a job interview, asking out their crush, or to simply not be so shy in public, self-confidence is one of those personality traits that is almost like a life hack. The world is different for people who have the confidence to get what they want out of it.
Self-confidence however is not always easy to come by though. Our society does a poor job of imparting self-confident behavior onto us. We live in an age that creates weak and toxic mindsets and behavior patterns, and we can see the results everywhere.
People often attribute lack of self-confidence to introversion or having a weak spirit, but it’s more so a question of being grounded in your understanding of the world and how you relate to it. This comes from a combination of factors, most notably, physical and mental discipline.
Lack of self-confidence is chiefly a discipline issue at its core – it is in essence a lack of control over the reactions of the mind and how it interprets sensory input.
Why is this important? Because understanding how your own mind works is crucial for rock hard discipline. The mind can better adapt to issues it can comprehend. It can’t do much about problems that it can’t define. Now you know.
So what are you going to do about it?
Facing Yourself: Gaining Self-Confidence Naturally
The key to developing self-confidence is working on yourself. That sounds kind of obvious, but most truths are. Your confidence comes from within, from your ability to interpret the world and properly face it down.
That means there’s some work to do. On your Self.
You might find that some of these techniques challenge you to come out of your comfort zone, but that’s half the point. We’ve become accustomed to hiding in these bubbles we make for ourselves, where nothing can get in or out. But then we’re confused when we don’t know how to face the world.
See how that works?
In order to deal with the world and approach everything around you with confidence, it stands to reason that you must first let your guard down and let the “world” in.
That being said, let’s jump into the techniques.
Strong Body = Strong Mind
Working out regularly isn’t simply an issue of health and self-image. Proper metabolism and body chemistry is a crucial aspect of having a healthy mind. When physical health is ignored, the mind suffers.
We’ve built a society that encourages laziness, lethargy, apathy, and general unfit, unnatural behavior. Whatever your personal views are on exercise and physical fitness are, you must understand that no creature on Earth with our kind of physiology was ever meant to sit around on a coach for hours eating processed garbage for hours every day.
We’re supposed to be using our bodies for strenuous physical activity every day: this is what our natural behavior is supposed to be.
When our metabolism slows and our muscles under-develop, we put on weight, our health suffers, we unconsciously realize we’re not at our best. And as much as you think you know about yourself, your subconscious knows a hell of a lot more. You can’t fool it.
In other words, even if you tell yourself that your lazy, unhealthy lifestyle is “okay,” your body disagrees with you fundamentally on a cellular level. Your subconscious will “sabotage” your actions because it is self-conscious about its own state of being.
The answer to combat this is to simply get in shape. I would say, do what you can within your means, but that’s not really going to get it done. Many of you reading this might already be spending several hours a week running on a treadmill in the gym or going to Pilates class every Tuesday night. You are going to want to push yourself past your comfort zone.
Your goal with physical fitness shouldn’t be a certain weight level or muscle size. The goal should center around metabolism. Once you find yourself able to burn more calories off, eat more, eat healthier, with increased energy and endurance, you’ll know you are on the right track.
Lifting is one of the best ways to kick this change off. Not surprisingly, lifting real weight is one of the exercises people do the least, because it is by definition more difficult than other forms of exercise, like aerobics. You need to challenge your body. By doing so, you will learn about it and trust in it.
Therein lies your self-confidence.
Cultivate Your Self Image
This is one of those things you’re not liable to hear very often in holistic circles, but appearance plays a huge role in self-confidence. Not merely appearance however, but general mindfulness of Self. It’s not just about the clothes you wear or how you wear your hair, it’s deeper than that.
Your “self image” is a totality of who you are. A lot goes into how you “appear” to others: what you wear, the style you present, your cleanliness, your grooming, how you smell, how you smile, how you walk. It would be a mistake to assume that just because we like to say it’s “wrong” to judge appearances, this flies somewhat in the face of biology.
Humans, like most animals, are hard-wired to notice certain traits. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this: it’s a survival mechanism. Shifty, shy, uneasy, unbalanced behavior in most animals signals weakness, disease, and animosity. These are also the traits of scared prey.
So while passing judgment on someone’s character based on rote appearance is indeed wrong from a moral / energy standpoint, biology is biology. If you are wondering why you don’t have self-confidence, it’s because you’re not exuding self-confidence, your exuding weakness, and this sends biological signals to others that there may be something wrong with you. This is simply the hard reality.
Self-confidence doesn’t just manifest out of thin air. It begins when you take pride in yourself. Not boastful ego pride based on contrived factors (religion, wealth, etc.) but pride grounded in knowledge of Self. You know who you are, you know what you want out of life.
Don’t skimp on your appearance, grooming, health, or anything else related to “self image.” These are not arbitrary physical social constructs that you can wish away just because you think people shouldn’t care about such things. Millions of others have wished mightily for the same thing and it likely got them nowhere.
It’s not about others, though. Self image is about Self. Take pride in yourself. Work out, eat decent, bathe regularly, perform yoga to tone your body, groom yourself, wear clean clothes, don’t hold back when you smile. Just let yourself be free of the prison you are making to keep you from enjoying the life you want to live.
Analyze The People Around You
Oftentimes I hear people complain about themselves and how terrible they are, and almost without fail, it’s a sign that they are surrounded by assholes.
Of course, such people usually lack self-confidence, because they have been mentally and emotionally battered their whole life, and were never able to develop proper perceptions of themselves or healthy ways of dealing with stress, life issues, etc.
It’s extremely important to know when it’s time to cut down on negative people in your life. They can and do drain you and influence your perception of Self.
Holistic care isn’t simply about meditating under waterfalls and performing yoga all day. Real holistic care takes into account your entire realm of influence, connection, and perceptions of your Self and the world around you. An extremely strong mind doesn’t care about negative people all that much, because they can deflect their tactics and rise above whatever they throw.
But that is only an ideal scenario. Negative people, energy vampires, life suckers, black holes, succubi, malignant narcissists, whatever you want to call them, are a real thing. Their ability to break someone down and keep them in chains is well known to those who do energy work or are in the psychology field.
It can be hard to cut out people from your life, especially if you are close, but sometimes it’s necessary. This is a big part of self-care that many overlook just because they think it’s impossible to sever ties with abusers and narcissists. It can be done, however.
The first step is to take a stand, consciously, against them and their actions. That alone will give you the confidence you need to work on yourself, cultivate your body and mind a bit, and then approach them.
Remember, your self-care is far more important than a fake friendship or a family member who uses the fact that they are “related” to you to keep you in an emotional or mental prison. Always keep that in mind.
Take Up Martial Arts
Discipline, ultimately, is what we’re striving for. It’s about harnessing your mental strength in order to properly interpret your Self and everything around you, and react to it accordingly. Martial arts teaches this ability soundly.
First and foremost, the class setting can break many barriers you have about your confidence and self-image. If you’re shy, there’s nothing like being a novice and having to do a bunch of funny poses in a funny outfit in front of a bunch of strangers for an hour. In the beginning, you might feel like a complete fish out of water, and that’s good. Challenge the body, challenge the mind.
But once you understand what is going on, you will ease into your kata and gain strength.
Martial arts teaches both body and mind mastery, by directing both to do what you want. Mental stillness and clarity, perfect control of physical movement, mental and physical flexibility, the strength to fight and the discernment to know when. These are all skills sorely lacking from the general populace, and you will soon find yourself in rare company.
Training your Self is a sure road to self-confidence. You will get to know your teacher, others in the class, your local martial arts community, and you will expand your mind with culture, knowledge of the body, and a newfound capacity to take in data from the world around you and filter it efficiently and without issue. This is self-confidence.
I’ve never known a serious practitioner of martial discipline who lacked self-confidence. It’s simply not a thing.
This kind of training is the recipe to combat a poor understanding of Self and therefore a bad self-image. It’s also not necessarily an easy path.
It’s one that I would personally recommend, however. You enter a new world of body mastery when you engage in martial arts. An absolute understanding of Self gives you immeasurable confidence.
Once you work up to the level where you see fit to fully take control of your life and maximize your charisma and confidence, martial arts classes are the next step.
Don’t Do What Everyone Else is Doing
There are a ton of people out there just floating along through life, and many of them lack knowledge of Self and deep self-confidence. If you want advice for how to gain confidence, do the opposite of what they are doing.
Train hard, eat healthy, take care of yourself. Don’t spend too much time sitting in front of a TV or computer, make sure you get some sun every day, break down your own limits by meditating or getting into martial arts. Be different, be rare.
You’ll know confidence once you understand your Self on the deepest level, are comfortable, and able to perceive the world around you without the cloud of opinion, bias, or expectation that often follows people around.
This is why some people recommend to just “be you” in order to be confident. In essence, they are right. To truly do this however, you must really know and understand your Self. Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.