No one is born confident, it is a skill that is learnt. And too many times, that confidence is lost through comparisons between self and others – comparing our weaknesses with others’ strengths -, or when there is an over-dependence on others to validate us – that is, to make us feel good about ourselves.

But these 6 gems show how you can be the vision of confidence, and all by yourself too!

1. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself

A lot of how we view ourselves is based on other people’s perceptions of us, or what we think other people’s perceptions are. As a result, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. Dr. Papadakis says:

Spend time with peers and adults who really help you to identify your areas of strength and reflect those areas of strength back to you. So that way, you get positive feedback and limit contact with people who are trying to drag you down. But it can also be detrimental to focus too much on receiving positive feedback from other people, simply because it isn’t coming from you.

If you are not waiting for other people’s feedback — and depend on yourself more — you are also going to be a more resilient person because you will have the self-confidence to deal with situations as they come.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others

Sometimes people get socialized into not wanting to stand out too much, and then they might start to downplay their own strengths so that they don’t stand out and feel uncomfortable in that way. Because everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, yours are going to be different from your friends. Like we all have different body types, but are all beautiful, our skill sets also vary too.

3. Set goals for yourself

It’s about setting an overall goal, and breaking down that goal into small manageable pieces so you are able to achieve them in steps, and measure progress. And these goals need to be concrete. Saying, “I’m going to be a better person” isn’t measurable, but saying, “I’m going to be more tolerant of other people” is. “And then you can feel better about achieving that specific goal.

Seeing how you successfully achieved that goal will improve your self-esteem, because by accomplishing tangible goals, you are also proving to yourself that you are capable of exceeding expectations.

4. View situations objectively

If you failed a test, or didn’t get invited to Tomi’s much-talked-about party. Know that it is not always your fault. The key is to take a step back and accurately look at the situation. And so when you do that, you are able to gather the facts, and able to look at alternative explanations.

One test does not represent your skills as a student. And perhaps, Tomi thought you were busy or she didn’t think you would be interested. Don’t blame yourself for things you have no control over.

5. Give yourself some credit

Before you go to bed each night, make a list of the things you accomplished that day. Maybe you aced a test, sent out your essay for a debate competition, or finally got over your fear to speak up in class – and intelligently too! 

The point is that you accomplish things everyday, and by giving yourself credit for what you do, you are also showing yourself that you are capable of getting things done. Next, make a list of all the things you need to do the following day, so you can set small goals for yourself and know what you are working up to.

6.Acceptance is key

Recognizing that you are where you are, and you have worth where you are, is a really important concept. Even though you may want to improve certain areas of your life, you also need to recognize that you are already awesome, and as you improve you are only getting more awesome.