It is no secret that many college students lack self-confidence, and it does not help that there are a slew of factors that can contribute to this. If you, for example, had an unhappy childhood where your parents were overly critical and constantly scrutinized everything you did, you are more likely to experience low self-esteem. Other factors that can contribute to low self-esteem include poor academic performance and ongoing stressful life events, including the loss of a loved one, financial hardship, being treated poorly and ongoing mental and physical issues, such as chronic pain, anxiety or depression.
Low self-confidence has the potential to significantly lower your quality of life; thankfully, though, it does not have to. There are many things you can do to improve your self-esteem and, in turn, your life. However, to raise your self-esteem, you must be familiar with the ways in which it can manifest itself. Low self-esteem can appear in the form of negative feelings that result from constant self-criticism. This can lead to debilitating feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or anxiety. Low self-confidence can also emerge from relationship problems, lack of self-care and self-harming behaviors, among other things. Once you are familiar with these signs and you are able to identify them, you will be on the right track to becoming more confident!
For individuals who have determined that they suffer from low self-confidence, I have put together a list of activities that can lessen your feelings of self-consciousness and doubt while simultaneously promoting self-love and acceptance.
1. Make Self-Love a Priority
If you want to raise your self-confidence, you will have to make self-love a top priority. By this, I mean you must put yourself first. I am not saying that you should act selfishly; just that you acknowledge your inalienable right to live a happy and healthy life. Self-love — as long as it does not become narcissism — is always a good thing. After all, you must learn to love yourself, flaws and all, before you can love someone else. Once you love and accept yourself for who you are, the right people will be naturally drawn to you.
To put yourself on the right track, I would start by listing all of the things that you like about yourself. These attributes can be physical, mental or both. It is also important that you include any personal accomplishments you are proud of, along with any goals you have achieved recently. Basically, you are listing anything and everything that makes you feel good about yourself.
After you have made that list, take a step back and fully consider all of your tremendous accomplishments — and be sure to remember that an accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how small. Once you can recognize all of your admirable qualities and give yourself a pat on the back for all of your achievements, your confidence levels will skyrocket.
2. Do Things That Make You Happy
This second tip is often overlooked. With our busy college schedules and countless homework assignments, it is hard to find enough free time to do what you want to do. I know that I have definitely felt this way, especially during finals week. When I do not allow myself enough “me” time, I end up feeling extra stressed out and overwhelmed.
Thus, whether it be painting, practicing a sport or anything else, I cannot stress the importance of fitting activities you enjoy into your schedule enough. You need to make sure that you are providing yourself with a healthy amount of free time because if you do not, then you will end up feeling burnt out and demotivated.
Even if you have the busiest schedule in the world, you will strongly benefit from taking small breaks here and there. This will free your mind, which will then allow you to feel more happy and confident. You do not need to spend hours engaging in these activities. Even if you only choose to pursue one or two hobbies, if you set aside a handful of hours for them every week, you will still see a positive change. Your increased happiness will simultaneously lift your self-confidence.
3. Care Less About What Others Think of You
We have all heard the “care less about what others think of you” mantra before, but there is a reason why it has survived the test of time. It is a rule that is crucial to remember, especially for college students.
As a young adult navigating your way through the world, you have probably experienced feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness at some point in your college career. It is a natural human tendency to be overly concerned with how other people view you. Although being aware of yourself and your choices can be beneficial at times, it is more often detrimental.
If you care too much about how others see you, you will have difficulty finding happiness, and you will struggle to feel comfortable in your own skin. You can never be truly content with yourself if you are constantly worrying about what others think of you. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that you are much more than the way others perceive you. You must remember that in the end, what matters most is how you think of yourself.
As a final point, it is important to keep the brevity of life in mind at all times. Life is too short to spend your precious moments worrying about others. You must live your life the way you want to live it because that is what will bring you the most happiness. Although it can be beneficial to receive feedback from others, you cannot forget that you are ultimately your own compass on the map that is your life.