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4 Ways to Improve Self-Confidence

Do you feel like you’re a self confident person? Or do you wonder exactly what does self confidence mean?

Hi. my name is Kaylin, and I am a licensed therapist and coach in California. I help stressed out millennial women to quiet their mental chatter, overcome self doubt, and achieve their dreams with confidence and ease.

I am going to tell you the 4 strategies of how to improve self confidence, and give examples of self confidence within each.

Let’s get started!

1. Increase your self awareness

This is the first stop on the path toward self confidence. If you don’t have any awareness of who you are, and what you want to change, you won’t be able to grow at all.

Think about it this way: If you are planting a garden, and you find some random seeds without knowing what they are, you might be able to get them started and sprouting, but until you have the awareness of what kind of plant it is- you won’t know if it wants more or less sunlight, lots of water or only a little, is it a poisonous plant or is it something that you can eat with your friends…?

See where I’m going?

How do you build self awareness?

Start with the basics: how do you identify yourself? What is your preferred name, gender, hair style, clothing, etc…

I know, this seems too easy and in some ways it is, but in some ways and for some people it really isn’t!

Once you have the basics down of how you identify yourself, you can go a bit deeper into what you like to do, how you like to spend your time.

I like to present this question to my clients like this: If money and time is not a concern, what would you do?

The next level is to determine your core values. This can be a bit more difficult, but not impossible. What is really important to you?

Download a list of core values here and see which ones resonate with you for this part.

Now that you have some very basic self awareness, here are some examples of self confidence as it relates to self awareness:

  • You know what you like to do. This doesn’t mean that you can’t explore and try new things, but it gives you a good foundation. If you know that you love running and hate riding a bike, and someone asks you to go for a bike ride, you might want to say no. This relates to self confidence because you will be less likely to put yourself into situations that you don’t enjoy, thereby increasing trust in yourself and enjoyment in your life.

  • Self awareness also makes you more aware of other people. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who doesn’t have any clue about themselves? I’ve met people that totally steamroll conversations while telling me that they are really great listeners. The lack of self awareness becomes irritating, because they then don’t see how others respond to them or don't understand.

  • When you know who you are, you are less likely to sek outside approval from others. You won’t need it. This is the embodiment of self confidence. Have you ever been around a person who just seemed to know exactly who they are and didn’t care what anyone else thought of them? That’s self confidence. You can have that too.

2. Cultivate self compassion

What is self compassion? How does it increase self confidence?

Self compassion is the act of being kind to yourself, showing compassion to the pain and suffering that you have gone through. Self compassion is basically treating yourself like you would treat a friend.

How do you cultivate or build more self compassion?

Building on your foundation of self awareness, you must first be aware of and acknowledge that you have suffered. Many people would rather stay in denial about this, oftentimes because there is shame involved. We would all rather pretend that we are strong resilient people who are never effected by negativity- but that's not what makes us strong and resilient. Strength and resilience come from making it through adversity, coming out on the other side.

When you are compassionate toward yourself for the things you have gone through, you will also be acknowledging your own inner strength for getting through whatever those things were.

Self compassion also means to stop judging yourself. I hate to break it to you, but you are human and you make mistakes. Just like everyone else.

And that's ok. You are allowed to make mistakes, they are proof that you are trying and learning.

Another aspect of having self compassion is to stop apologizing so much. That might seem like it's out of left field, but hear me out. If you are in the energy of everything you do being “not good enough” or “annoying” or whatever the vibe is that makes you want to say “I’m sorry”- that’s not very confident. It’s actually destroying your self confidence. And it actually can get annoying for the people around you.

I’m not saying not to apologize to people when you hurt them or something does go wrong- doing that is a sign of strength and confidence (being able to admit that you were wrong and own up to it).

I’m talking about the times when you stand close to someone on a crowded subway, or when someone holds a door open for you and instead of thank you, you say “oh sorry” for making them wait. You might say “sorry” 1000 times a day and not even notice. When you are in this energy, its killing your confidence and your compassion because you are making yourself wrong for just existing and taking up space.

Here are examples of self confidence as they relate to self compassion:

  • Be kind to yourself. It is really hard to be human right now- for everyone including you. A confident person understands this, shows up and does their best AND does what they need to take care of themselves

  • Expand your vocabulary. Find other phrases to say instead of “I’m sorry.” Depending on the context, here are some other options:

    • Thank you

    • Excuse me

    • After you

    • Oops!

    • Pardon my reach

    • May I sneak in right here

  • Acknowledge your strengths. You are good at something- probably more than one. It’s ok to be proud of that and to stop pretending that “it's no big deal”

3. Practice self acceptance.

Practice is the first word of this section for a reason. Self acceptance takes practice. It can be difficult in a lot of ways. Once you start practicing accepting yourself, you will start acting in a more self confident way.

Acceptance does not mean that we stop trying to grow. Acceptance is the baseline for growth. I remember when I first started my own business, I wanted to set up bank accounts and systems and processes and guidelines for when my business eventually grew to be bigger than I could handle on my own. I started to get really overwhelmed and scared of if I could even do it all. One of my friends said to me “hey, how about you get your first client, and then we can worry about outgrowing yourself.”

Oh yeah- good idea. I had to accept where I was in my business (and quite honestly I still have to remind myself to practice that acceptance) and make it the best that I could from that place.

You are no different.You will grow, if that is your intention. But you have to start with where you are right now.

What are some examples of self confidence in terms of self acceptance?

  • Accepting that you are not perfect (none of us are). Being able to ask for help because you know you need it is a huge mark of self confidence. It shows that you don’t need to prove yourself and that you are ok knowing that you can’t do everything.

  • Acceptance is not complacency. Acceptance is knowing the truth of the present moment, and growing from there.

4. Improve self expression

Ahh, self expression. What does self expression mean? In its very basic form, it means to speak your truth. To let out your thoughts and opinions so that others can witness them.

This is sometimes the scariest part.

Many of us have been told that we are wrong for something at some point in our lives. If it happened in your formative childhood years, self expression may be a huge struggle for you. There is very real fear and doubt that can come up when we try to express ourselves.

Perhaps you don’t express what you need in a relationship.

Maybe you fear being judged for being a Marky Mark super fan.

Or maybe, you see the world a little differently from what is considered the norm and you are afraid to share that viewpoint.

Whatever it is that is holding you back from self expression- know that fear will lessen with more self confidence. The fear might never go away- and that’s ok. Courage isn’t living without fear, it's taking action despite the fear. The same goes for confidence.

How does self confidence improve your self expression?

  • Self Confidence means that you feel the fear of rejection or judgment and you choose to live your authentic truth anyway.

  • Confidence comes from knowing that you live your life only for yourself, and that it would be a waste of your time to try and live for anyone else.

  • Speaking your truth will help you to find others that believe the same ways that you do, which will improve your self confidence. There are so many people in the world, it is unlikely that you are the only person who believes in something. It might just be that you are surrounded by the wrong people.

How to improve self confidence. Pink flowers blooming in front of the sun on a clear day, with blue skies and no clouds.
Self confidence allows you to bloom

I always think about the small quote about flowers. If a flower doesn’t grow and bloom, we don’t blame the flower. We check the soil. We make sure that the flower is getting enough sunlight, water, and nutrients. We check the environment. If you’ve been feeling like you can’t grow and bloom- change your surroundings instead of yourself. 🌻


If you are looking to increase your self-confidence, I have just the thing! My course, The Foundations of Confidence, is based on the 4 principles discussed in this blog. The Foundations of Confidence is a totally online, totally self paced course with just under 2 hours of watchable content and over 20 activities to help you build self awareness, cultivate self compassion, practice self acceptance and improve your self expression. You can buy The Foundations of Confidence for less than the price of two therapy sessions here.


How to increase self confidence. Kaylin is sitting in an office with a soft background and smiling at the camera wearing a white tee shirt and gray jeans.

Kaylin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Confidence Mindset coach. She created the Messy Authentic Newsletter to help others take the chaos in their lives and turn it into an intentional lifestyle.

Kaylin is obsessed with all things wellness, and through her programs empowers millennial women to transform their relationship to stress so they can quiet the mental chatter, overcome self doubt, and achieve their goals.

With an all virtual practice, Kaylin is able to provide therapy to anyone in the state of California, and can coach individuals located anywhere.

Learn more here and schedule a consultation call to work with Kaylin.

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