Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can hold you back in many areas of your life. You may think you don’t deserve to be happy or successful, become nervous or shy when speaking in public, or feel negative about yourself and your abilities. The good news is that it’s possible to change those destructive patterns and build up your self-esteem and confidence. With time, patience and commitment, you can transform the way you think and feel about yourself.
This article shows how you can permanently boost both self-confidence and self-esteem using hypnotherapy and simple hypnosis techniques.
What is 'confidence' vs 'self-esteem'?
While self-confidence is about the belief in your abilities and decisions, high self-esteem is more about your inherent sense of self-worth and self-love. Psychology Today in it's article Self-confidence Versus Self-esteem highlights the distinction between the two, noting that people often find it easier to build confidence, resulting in a long list of abilities and achievements. However, this doesn't necessarily translate to healthy self-esteem.
Even confident people can have low self-esteem. They might hide imperfections and failures behind certificates and prizes, attempting to fill an internal void with external markers like status, income, possessions, relationships, and more. Think about Lady Gaga, who has been vocal about her battles with self-esteem and mental health. She advocates for self-love and acceptance. Another example is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has discussed his past struggles with depression and how he worked on building confidence and self-esteem over time. Self-confidence and self-esteem don't always align.
Why confidence matters?
Mastering the art of confidence is not just a desirable trait; it is a necessity in various facets of life, particularly in moments when the urge to give up becomes overwhelming. In leadership roles, confidence is not negotiable—it is the cornerstone of trust and negotiation. A leader lacking confidence may struggle to inspire a team, hindering collective efforts to reach shared goals.
Beyond leadership, confidence is indispensable for effective teamwork, whether in sales positions or frequent client interactions. It serves as crucial for building instant connections and fostering positive relationships. The significance of confidence extends far beyond the workplace, impacting one's ability to attract a life partner and establish a healthy relationship. Additionally, a confident mindset helps to navigate conflicts and pursue new opportunities that fuel personal growth.
Our lives are constantly shaped by subconscious thoughts, fears, and external opinions. A lack of confidence manifests in indecision, increased risk aversion, and feelings of frustration. Confidence plays an important role in every aspect of our lives, nurturing higher self-esteem by fostering self-acceptance. Conversely, low self-confidence increases stress, self-doubt, and contributes to anxiety.
The impact of low self-confidence extends to interpersonal connections, impacting our communication skills and relationships. You can read more about confidence and it's role on our attachment styles in "Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love" by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. The erosion of belief in oneself leads to a cascade of psycho-emotional challenges, trapping us in a cycle of negativity.
Overcoming lack of confidence is especially challenging when it’s rooted too deeply within your subconscious. This happens when a lack of self-belief was initially caused by trauma or the attitude of peers or parents early in life, leading to negative thoughts and beliefs that make you feel terrible about yourself.
How to be more confident?
Can you become more confident? Recent scientific research has proven that our minds are flexible and can be taught to think differently. This is known as neuroplasticity and is an underlying principle of hypnotherapy. In effect, it means we are capable of not only learning from our past experiences, but allowing this learning to change our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves.
In other words, you don't need to remain stuck in feelings of low self-worth, or lacking the confidence to move into the future. You can begin to change right now and become more confident.
I love the advice from Tony Robbins, if you want to learn to build confidence you need to lear to change your state. How do you change your state?
Change your body language. Think about someone you know whom you consider extremely confident. What’s your posture like? How are you breathing? How do they speak. Consider developing your own personal power pose and breathing deeply to reconnect to your strong core.
Change the words you tell yourself. Marisa Peer, the British hypnotherapist and the founder of the Rapid Transformational Therapy talks a lot about this principle of the mind in her book 'Ultimate Confidence".
Take action. Confidence often comes from taking action. Start small, set achievable goals, and build momentum. To get inspired read 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' by Susan Jeffers.
Back yourself up. That's right. You are the person who needs to be in your corner. You may think that confidence only comes from prior success – that you can only know how to be confident after you’ve achieved success. But in reality confidence comes from within. It steps from your belief on yourself.
5 Steps to boost your confidence and self-esteem
Step 1. Take charge of your change
First and foremost you must want to change. You always have a choice. You can stay in a familiar behaviour pattern that keeps you in a negative cycle. Or you can move outside your comfort zone for a short time in order to achieve lasting confidence and high self-worth. No one can do this for you; only your own effort can result in real change.
It's vital to understand this, because we often delegate our own ha you happy, you also give them the power to take it away. An article on PsyPost explains really well how low-esteem impacts romantic relationships: People With Low Self-esteem Tend to Seek Support in Ways That Backfire.
Step 2. Identify what is outside of your control
Worrying about things that are outside of your control is a great way to bring your mood down and make you feel powerless, even overwhelmed. These feelings can quickly drive down your self-confidence and affect your self-esteem. If you find yourself worrying about such things, it's a sign you're focusing on a future that might never happen – instead of living your life right now.
To stop this rumination and bring you back into the present moment, breathing exercises can be really effective. This is one of the very popular self-help tools I give to my clients, and they have confirmed multiple times that it helped them to stop their mind from going into overdrive. It's one of the simplest yet most effective habits you can develop.
Step 3. Learn to accept compliments
When we feel bad about ourselves, we tend to resist positive feedback from others. We might even try to convince the other person how little we deserve it.
Many of us were taught to choose modesty over self-confidence, and that accepting compliments makes you seem 'up yourself'. But when you always reject compliments, it's much harder to celebrate your successes. And success – whatever that means to you – reaffirms your self-belief, helping to boost both confidence and self-esteem.
Step 4. Become your own cheerleader
Linked to step 3 is a tendency to be self-critical and diminish our achievements. We all have an internal critic – that voice in your head that tells you where you're going wrong. But ask yourself: is it helping or demotivating you right now?
I often work with my hypnotherapy clients to replace the inner critic with an inner cheerleader. Your self-talk is extremely powerful, so make it positive! This doesn't mean ignoring your conscience, but your cheerleader is a much better ally than the critic in the path to change.
Here's a one-month challenge for you. Each day, use positive affirmations in front of the mirror: ‘I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful, I am worthy, and I love you’. Choose any empowering words you like, but always finish with ‘I love you’. Having a loving relationship with yourself and showing yourself kindness, just as you would your best friend, is the key to boosting your self-esteem.
Step 5. Learn self-help tools
Commit to continuous learning and personal development. Acquire new skills and knowledge to boost your confidence. Cultivate a positive mindset.
Visualisation: Envision your success. Use mental imagery to see yourself achieving your goals and living your desired life.
Affirmations: Repeat positive affirmations daily. Affirmations can reshape your mindset and reinforce a confident self-image.
Power of Gratitude: Focus on what you have and express gratitude. Gratitude can shift your perspective and elevate your confidence.
Mindfulness: Practice being present in the moment. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and increase self-assurance.
Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Recognizing success reinforces confidence.
Self-Hypnosis: Explore the power of self-hypnosis to reprogram your subconscious mind. Craft positive affirmations and suggestions to address specific areas of confidence-building. Regular sessions of self-hypnosis can reinforce a positive self-image.
Breathwork: Use breathwork as an anchor for confidence. Associate a specific breathing pattern with feelings of empowerment. When faced with a confidence-demanding situation, intentionally adopt this breathing pattern to evoke a confident state of mind.
Step 6. Invest in Yourself
The best decision you can make is to invest in you and start getting excited about what could go right. - Tony Robbins
Self-esteem and confidence may take time to build, but hypnosis can be an effective tool for achieving a more positive mindset quickly. By using hypnotherapy, you can rewire your mindset to embrace yourself fully, and to recognise and feel better about your abilities. It can also help you overcome negative thoughts and beliefs such as “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve this”.
Unlike other investments you might make, investing in yourself will always pay off. In fact, maintaining your physical fitness, taking care of your mental health and developing your skills should be priorities. There's nothing selfish about it; doing these things will enable you to give more back, to have more strength to support others, greater skills to contribute to the workplace or community, and more joy to bring to your personal relationships.
When you make the effort to improve yourself, you will always see results – results that will transform your life and the lives of those around you.
Self-doubt is something we have all experienced at some time or another, but it can be damaging if left unchecked. If these thoughts become ingrained in our subconscious minds, they will influence our actions and decisions on a daily basis without us even realising it! This means that we may end up sabotaging ourselves in various ways and miss out on opportunities for success.
In my hypnotherapy practice in Sydney I work with many women who struggle to accept that they are not only enough, but have a great deal to give. Are you ready to face your fears? Do you want to be the best possible version of you? Check out my Hypnotherapy for Confidence service and schedule a free Discovery call. All my Sydney hypnotherapy and NLP sessions are available online.