Scott Hay – Qualified Youth Coach
From my experience of supporting young people, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “how do I increase my confidence and feel better about myself?”. There are so many pressures placed upon young people that at times it can all become too much – pressure to perform well educationally ; challenging friendships ; comparing yourself with others – it’s not easy! Before you know it, unless you’re able to feel calm under pressure and even thrive on it and feel good about yourself, your confidence can plummet!
The good news is that you’re far from alone and there are some key steps you can take that will help you to deal with these pressures and live a happier and more confident life.
Step 1. Create empowering beliefs
Now we all have that little voice in our heads, you know, the one that constantly talks to us. Sometimes it can be positive chatter, other times it can be negative. If the stream of conversation is mostly negative and you consistently focus on it, you will start to believe it. Not just believe it, but believe it with conviction. However, the reality is that whatever that voice is saying is simply a story. It’s a story that you can listen to and believe or, alternatively you can simply let it float by. Even better, you can consider what the opposite would be and focus on that instead.
Step 2. Surround yourself with positive influences
You may well have one or more people in your life who are very negative. Often they struggle to see anything positive in the world and possibly you specifically. It’s important not to bear any grudges as that will simply make you feel even worse. What is important is that you don’t accept negative comments as they will start to feed your own negative voice, which will have a knock on impact on your confidence and self-esteem. This can be done either by saying to the individual that you do not accept their negative comments or simply saying that in your own mind. The opposite can be said of positive people and comments. By being around people who are positive and supportive, your positivity will automatically increase. They say that positivity is infectious so I would encourage you to spend your time with like-minded and like-hearted people. Also, allow compliments in without trying to deflect them with a ‘thanks, but…’. Leave out the ‘but’ and simply say thanks!
Step 3. Appreciate yourself
It’s so common during teenage years to compare yourself to others. This can involve comparing intelligence, looks, sports, popularity…you name it! However, these comparisons can create misunderstanding. You assume that someone getting high marks in school has obtained them effortlessly but how do you know? They may have studied far harder than you? That subject might just be their greatest strength whilst you have strengths in other areas? It’s important you don’t make assumptions and draw false conclusions by creating stories in your head – that ‘little voice’ again! It’s important to remember that everyone develops in different ways, has different strengths and qualities. That’s what makes us all unique after all. Focus on the things and people that will bring out your own abilities and strengths.
By following the steps outlined above and making them habitual, I am sure you will start to feel more confident and increase your self-esteem.
Scott Hay is a fully qualified youth coach. If you’d like to pick up this discussion with Scott, please join him on Facebook http://facebook.com/scotthayconsulting , Twitter @shayconsulting or LinkedIn uk.linkedin.com/in/scotthayconsulting/