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Mind

Gemma McCaw's 6 steps to being confident in your own skin

We all want to feel loved and accepted by others, but the absolute first place to start is within.

By Gemma McCaw
Like a beautiful garden, our self-esteem needs to be nourished and tended in order for it to blossom. It's critical we do things that make us feel good about ourselves. Not only does our self-esteem affect our happiness, but when it's high we are more resilient, and less vulnerable to anxiety and rejection.
We all want to feel loved and accepted by others, but the absolute first place to start is within. We need to love ourselves and practise self-compassion to live a confident, happy and fulfilled life.

Accept praise

With low self-esteem, we can become resistant to compliments. As hard as it may be, try to be grateful for any compliments you receive and pay attention to positive feedback you are given. Rather than blocking it out, welcome it with open arms and say thank you.

Take a chance

What would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail? We often avoid doing things for fear of failure or we decide to wait until we feel more confident. Sometimes we just have to take the plunge. Yes, it can be daunting, but trying something new, telling someone you love them or applying for the job you want can pay off hugely. In the end, we only regret the opportunities we didn't take.

Play to your strengths

Think of a time when you've been successful. Recall that certainty and remember how it looked, sounded and felt. By recalling that positive vibe, you'll be more confident when approaching similar situations.

Look after your body

Caring for your body is important – after all, it's the only one you have. Regular exercise improves body image and confidence. Prioritise good sleeping habits, nutrition and exercise to feel good both inside and out, and this will translate across all areas of your life.

Self-compassion

How you speak to yourself has a huge impact on how confident you feel. Be kind and treat yourself like a dear friend would. We all have two voices in our heads – the encouraging cheerleader and the self-critical troll. Try dialling down the negative voice and understand that no-one is perfect. Focus on the voice that tells you that you can do anything.

Stop comparing!

It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to your friends or people on social media, but this is not a healthy way to live. A recent study found that people who compared themselves to others experienced feelings of envy and the more envious they felt, the worse they felt about themselves.
Pay attention to times when you do this and remind yourself it's not helpful. Continually thinking that other people are better or have more than you will erode your own confidence.

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