I have dealt with a lack of self-confidence many times in my veterinary journey. I don’t always know all the answers and doubt myself. But I have been learning from my mentors how to build self-confidence in these challenging times. Here are some tips to become a better version of yourself.
- Don’t compare yourself to others because, when we compare ourselves to others, we might fall into a vicious circle. Studies have found that people who compared themselves to others feel envy and worse about themselves. I have noticed that when I think others are better or have more, my self-confidence decreases. It’s important to be self-aware when you compare your wealth, possessions, skills, achievements, and attributes. If you notice you are falling into comparisons, remind yourself that it isn’t helpful. Life isn’t a competition and having a different path is okay. We’re not copies or clones of someone else.
- Count your blessings by creating a gratitude journal and write things you’re grateful for. It’s essential to be grateful in these pandemic times. Avoid frenemies and seek positive support by limiting contact with people who compare and judge. Instead, cultivate a group of friends who support and motivate you.
- Take care of your body by doing things that make you feel better, like exercise or meditation. Research has shown that physical activity boosts confidence and improves your body image. Consequently, when body image improves, people feel more confident. Meditation helps to stop negative feelings, anxiety, or worry because it disconnects you from all the noise interfering with your self-confidence. I think the best time to exercise or mediate is early in the morning.
- Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness. If you make a mistake or fail at something, recognize that no one is perfect. We have one of the kindest professions in the world and it should not be hard to practice self-compassion more often.
- Practice positive self-talk to help control negative self-talk. I have dealt with this negative self-talk recently and I know how it makes everything more challenging. But I have learned from my therapist that our thoughts aren’t always accurate and to challenge negative self-talk by positively reframing my thoughts. When you make a mistake, instead of telling yourself “I can do nothing right” remind yourself “I can do better next time,” or “at least I learned something meaningful.”
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