1. No way!
Warm-up exercise: focus your attention within and hone in on your typical thought patterns. For example:
- "My presentation was a flop, I am a failure."
- "I can’t and will never be able to do that."
- "She doesn’t like me, nobody likes me."
If you find that your thinking is often determined by such generalisations, you should try to change it. By recognising this, you’ve already taken a first step in the right direction.
2. Sharpen your self-awareness
Pay attention to the way you think, feel and act in certain situations. If you find that you are repeating certain patterns of behavior in similar situations, you are beginning to understand what makes you tick — and then next time you can decide whether you want to react the same way or differently. This is literally how you increase your self-awareness, which can also make you more confident.
3. Cross-check: get feedback from the outside
The self-concept is partly always made up of the supposed external image: assumptions about what others are probably thinking about us. These are, however, only speculations and shouldn’t make you question yourself. Get more clarity first — you’ll most likely be positively surprised:
Get feedback from good friends, family, your partner — from people you know well or from those you have a lot to do with. Ask them what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be — and listen to them attentively.
4. Establish a positive self-image: bring your good side into the limelight
Make a list of your strengths, positive thoughts, your individual talents, abilities, character traits, appearance, etc. — bullet points are enough. Take a look at the list every day. Read the words out loud in your head. In the long-term, this will strengthen your self-image.
5. Flip the switch: reverse the polarity to positive
You can play the same game by using opposites: "I am impatient", "I can’t say no", "I don’t like my skin". Pick out three points that you like least about yourself and write them down. Now formulate the sentences positively. For example, "I like my skin". These positive sentences almost become new goals for your self-image. Think about how best to achieve these goals.
The clou is: by adopting a more positive attitude toward something, e.g. your own skin, you often become more considerate of it and are more motivated to do something for it: for example, you may try to stress less, do more exercise, eat more healthily or to test out a new form of therapy.