10/12/2011 04:40 pm ET Updated Dec 12, 2011

Steps to Building Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is rooted in self-worth and is an internal feeling that can communicate itself externally in different ways. A person who is confident feels content with himself physically, emotionally and mentally, is fully aware of his strengths and weaknesses and tries to change what he can and adjust to what he cannot. All of us as humans are worthy, but some of us detach from that truth and start judging ourselves and denying our own right, the right to have a positive place in this world.

When it comes to self-confidence, the first thing that is worth noting is that if someone seems to try too hard to look confident, he may be the opposite of that. So, it is not walking a certain way, or dressing one way or the other because some people have learned ways to mask their internal feelings by working too hard to protect their image.

Someone who is self-confident has a type of "I'm okay, you're okay" mentality, seems authentic, has no fear of expressing himself in positive ways, and has courage. In addition, he is more tolerant due to the fact that people who feel good about themselves are generally more accepting of others, since most of our judgmental behavior toward others comes from our own internal-self rather than the other person. When people feel good about who they are, they feel good about life in general and will try to make the best of whatever life brings to them. They don't take things personally and don't keep a grudge.

Building self-confidence is a continuous process which needs determination and effort. Here are some tips to think about when you're trying to build yours:

1. Take it one step at a time: Think about where you are right now, how far you've come and give yourself some credit for trying. Think about what is important to you, where you want to go, what gives your life meaning, and what your values are. Confidence starts with a strong foundation based on individualistic values and passions that help the common good.

2. Make sure your values are in congruent with your lifestyle: If there is a discrepancy between your values and the way you behave, this can create internal conflict and smash you up. Make sure you check the two and bring them to work together in harmony.

3. Living, believing and behaving in moderation: Start modifying your thought, your behavior and your lifestyle to match what you want and the way you want to be.

4. Self monitor, cognitively and behaviorally: Rational positive thinking is the key to this one. By focusing on what is working, you can make better progress on what is not and make the necessary changes. Activate your positive emotions and discharge the negative ones. Make sure you spend a few minutes every day focusing and reflecting on your progress and what you want to change.

5. Start helping others the way you can: Doing good for others does not have a specific formula. Not all of us have to be a hero in the public eye. Find your own way of helping others. What comes from your heart and core, with a pure intention of helping and giving just to be thankful for the things you already have and without any expectations in return. What you get is an internal joy that is blissful and helps build a self of self-worth.

6. Build on your skills and learn new things: Learn new skills and strengthen the ones you already have.

7. Surround yourself with well-intended, honest, aware, and positive people: Be open to productive feedback from people whose judgment you trust and be selective about whom you get close to. Don't invite negativity, drama and ignorance to your life and have clear boundaries for protecting your heart and mind.

8. Be true to yourself: Don't sell your integrity for anything. Don't self-betray by following someone else's path or believing something that does not sink in your intuitive heart and your logical mind. Learn to be yourself and be thirsty for knowledge, learn to become objective and then do what you feel is right not what others tell you "should" be. And make sure you activate your build-in integrity.

9. Take reasonable risks: While being grounded and reasonably careful are a part of a healthy life style, but to build self confidence, one must be willing to take some risks and experience new things, learn from them and move forward.

10. Accept other people's love and support openly and fully. Try to stop that little paranoid person inside of you who wants to read too much into an act of love and just take it with an open heart. Also, be willing to give love and show how you feel in healthy and positive ways.

People who are self-confident are more efficient and productive in their daily lives. They contribute more and have less negative effects on their surroundings. They accept challenges with an open arm and are more persistence and resistant. They don't spend much time on complaining but fixing. They are great communicators and have healthier relationships. At the end, this is a skill that everyone can learn, it is not limited to a few but all. It just needs practice.

Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
Self Knowledge Base & Foundation
A non-profit dedicated to public education