Self-confidence is about trusting ourselves. It’s the “felt sense” that we can do things and handle it if a situation doesn’t turn out well. When we truly embody confidence – when we feel it in our bodies – it’s unstoppable. Self-assurance like that can help us manifest more success in all areas of our lives, whether it’s because it makes us more attractive or just more persistent.
Here are steps for developing inner strength and unstoppable self-confidence.
7 Steps to Unstoppable Self-Confidence
1. Embody Main Character Energy
You may have heard this term from trending TikTok videos – but there’s some real merit to intentionally focusing on your own needs and desires. Rather than overfocusing on pleasing others and trying to gain their approval, main character energy allows you to take a leadership role in your life and write your own story without playing into feelings of helplessness.
To start embodying main character energy, use your imagination and make a list of things that you, as a main character in your life, would like to experience. Then, turn the list into plans. Where would you like to go? What would you like to wear? How would you like to carry yourself? Just be sure to keep your sense of compassion as you focus more on yourself so that you don’t venture into narcissism and alienate the supporting roles in your life.
2. Nurture and Protect Your Inner Child
Inner child work is a powerful way to heal and develop self-worth as adults. Self-care, boundaries, and self-compassion are all ways we can take care of our inner child parts. Let the younger versions of you know that they are important and that you value them. Whether it’s through a process such as looking at old photos or a silent meditation, take time to show compassion for baby you, 5 year old you, 10 year old you, teen you, and so on. Vow to value, nurture, and protect these parts of yourself.
If you didn’t get what you needed as a child, you can now be the competent caring adult you needed back then to these parts. When we realize how important these younger versions of ourselves are, it’s easy to find the courage and confidence we need to take care of them.
3. Develop Competence
Developing competence is about embracing a growth mindset: believing that we can improve. In Kid Confidence: Help Your Child Make Friends, Build Resilience, and Develop Real Self-Esteem, child psychologist Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore talks about how competence is one of the three keys to confidence. As an example, she states, “Telling children they’re good at math, without helping them develop genuine competence, promotes wishful thinking that won’t stand up to reality.”
Actual competence doesn’t mean excelling in every area of life, but it can mean choosing a couple of skills that you want to strengthen as an adult. By embodying a growth mindset, you can understand that whatever your skill level is, it can be improved.
4. Work on Emotional Resilience
Confidence is in part the trust that allows us to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. It means that we can manage difficult feelings. Learning and practicing emotion regulation skills until you have some reliable ones in your toolbelt is the best way to ensure that you will be able to cope without losing confidence when you face life’s inevitable disappointments. See my previous articles to learn some strategies for managing anxiety and depression.
5. Tap Into Innate Confidence
Some modern psychological therapies such as Internal Family Systems believe that confidence isn’t something we need to cultivate, it’s something we already have and can tap into. The premise of these theories is that the core of who we are, beyond the defensive aspects of our personality, is actually a confident Self. You’ve probably experienced moments of tapping into this Self. It’s present whenever you feel calm, courageous, connected, curious, and confident.
You can tap into the Self at any time by slowing down, taking deep breaths, and centering yourself. You can also try a guided meditation from Dr. Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS. Once you access this safe and centered place inside of yourself, your body and voice will relax and you’ll naturally feel confident.
6. Know Your Values
Research from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy shows that we can develop courage and decrease anxiety if we accept (rather than fight or try to get rid of) our fears and take action on our values. You can start by identifying your values in different domains such as relationships, career, self-care, and spirituality. This will help you hold yourself accountable to your core beliefs and allow you to trust your judgment.
Once you acknowledge your values, it can be easier to have courage and take action despite fear because you know you’re pursuing something that you believe in. For example, if you know you believe in fairness as a core value, it can help you assert yourself in situations where your boundaries are being crossed or you’re faced with an injustice.
7. Embrace Your Flaws
No matter how much we try, we simply won’t ever reach perfection. A more confidence-building approach is to either accept our flaws or to embrace them. It’s okay to not like every part of ourselves, but it’s important to value those imperfections because they make us unique. To build self-confidence, we can accept our flaws or even flaunt them unapologetically. You might be surprised to find that, when you do, they become a strength.
These steps might not give you unstoppable confidence overnight, but if you practice them consistently, your interest in other people’s opinions will fade away. Rather than chasing fleeting moments of validation, you’ll have a foundation of unstoppable confidence that’s rooted in a strong sense of self.
Your turn: What helps you feel more confident?