If you’re in recovery and are reading this article about how to build self-confidence, you’re already looking for eating disorder help and taking action. Good for you! I had an eating disorder for 20 years and learned that self-love and self-confidence are both key to having lasting recovery.
Self-confidence is about having faith in your own judgment, ability and your own power. While being confident attracts success, low confidence and an eroded sense of self hampers your well being. So the connection between restoring self-confidence and getting help for eating disorder is easy to see.
Whether you are already in therapy, an eating disorder recovery program, or are thinking of getting into an eating disorder support group, these tips for boosting self-confidence can help you. They will build upon your work and give you a sense of conviction that you can turn things around….that you can recover from your eating disorder, heal and get better like I was able to do.
5 Ideas for Building Your Self-Confidence
1. Get outside your comfort zone
At first this can seem daunting: being in unfamiliar situations, getting to know new people, or speaking in public. But it is exactly these fears and limitations that prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone and perhaps has prevented your eating disorder recovery.
Everything you want in life lives on the other side of your fears. I’m here to tell you that most things you fear once you do them will surprise you how easy they were to do. Not to mention the incredible sense of achievement and joy from having done them and arrived at the other side.
There’s a funny movie with Jim Carrey called “Yes Man” where he went to a seminar and was required after he left the conference to commit to saying yes to anything anyone asked him. You can imagine the situations Jim could get himself into by saying yes to ANYthing. This is just a movie and I’m not saying you have to say yes to everything, but what if you started saying yes to even 50% more things that are offered to you? Including the somewhat scary or intimidating ones.
Open yourself up to new experiences and you may be surprised at how much you enjoy this. When you grow yourself outside of your comfort zone with each new experience your comfort zone actually grows and you get more and more confidence.
2. Work with your strengths
Look at all of the things that you’re good at and enjoy doing and focus on them. If you are painfully shy about public speaking but are comfortable talking with people one-on-one, then ED help with a therapist is probably better than a large support group.
If you are intimidated by talking with people about your eating disorder but enjoy writing you could make a personal bulimia blog or start a private journal. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment if you can share your story and express your feelings. Do what makes you feel good because this will always be easier and build your self-confidence than doing things you don’t enjoy.
3. Clarify and plan your goals
Whether it is you trying to get eating disorder help or accomplish any other goal in your life, it is important to have a plan. Any specific goal with a blueprint for how to get there is infinitely more achievable than just a vague hope. If something seems rather overwhelming, take things one step at a time. You will be amazed that what seems to be so intimidating can suddenly seem much less daunting when you break it up and tackle it one bit at a time.
Let’s say you set a goal to give a presentation in front of a group in 30 days. That’s your specific goal and then you set a plan for how you’ll become more confident in actually giving the talk. Maybe you decide you’ll read a book on self-confidence, write out and practice 10 affirmations each day, rehearse your speech in the mirror ten times, give a 5 minute talk to a smaller group before or any number of things that will help you feel stronger and confident when you get on stage in 30 days. Define your goal and then work your plan.
4. Pay attention to your body language
How confident you are of yourself comes across quite clearly in your posture, the way to hold your head, the way you walk and speak. Simply sitting up straighter, holding your head high and walking with a purposeful step may do wonders for your self-confidence and the way that others perceive you.
I call this the “act as if” method for building self-confidence. People will pick up on your body language and will begin to treat you differently. They’ll perceive you have more confidence. Your own self-esteem will go up because it’s actually very hard to feel inside differently than we carry ourselves on the outside. Just try to be sad and smile at the same time.
5. Give and accept compliments gracefully
When someone gives you a compliment accept it gracefully with a simple “Thank You”. Don’t let your lack of self-confidence doubt the giver’s sincerity. Let their compliment make you feel better about yourself. Also learn to give a compliment naturally and sincerely. Giving a compliment is as much an indication of your self-confidence as receiving one.
Your self-talk (the words you say to yourself in your head) can also use a boost in the compliment department. I know you’re already good at criticizing yourself and beating yourself up for doing something stupid or calling yourself fat. If you want to have more confidence, start complimenting yourself when you do something – big or small, doesn’t matter. Just start saying nice things to yourself when you do what you said you were going to do.
As your self-confidence gradually increases, this is also acting as eating disorder help for you. You’re empowering yourself and it becomes easier to beat your eating disorder. You give your eating disorder support program a much better chance to work for you.