As a man, you don’t gain genuine confidence overnight.
Sure, anyone can stick out their chest, stand up straight, and fake confidence.
But real, unadulterated confidence and self-assurance? This comes from deep down; it comes from within.
To gain it, you need to work on your day-to-day behaviors. And you need to get rid of certain habits you’ve developed to please other people.
You need to start living and existing for yourself, first and foremost.
In this article, I’ll take you through the people-pleasing behaviors you need to let go of, if you want to achieve true confidence.
Once you make the shift, expect a whole new world of confidence and swagger to open up to you.
Let’s dive in!
1) Seeking constant approval
As established, true confidence comes from the inside–not from what everyone else says or thinks of you.
The constant need to seek approval is the behavior of an insecure man.
As you grow in confidence, people’s opinions become increasingly irrelevant.
While the insecure person might constantly second-guess himself, needing the validation of others to derive a sense of self-worth, a confident man has an inherent, almost built-in belief in his abilities and decisions.
He is firm, he is adamant, and he knows what he stands for.
And that’s all that matters to him.
For instance, the less confident men might overshare on social media, posting topless gym selfies and the like, to gain instant validation in the form of likes.
But anyone in their right mind knows that abusing social media for likes screams insecurity.
The confident man, meanwhile, won’t often post to gain admiration.
He’s comfortable enough with who he is internally, not requiring the external approval of followers to feel better about himself.
See the difference?
2) Avoiding conflict at any cost
While the insecure person wants to be in everyone’s good graces–even if it means sacrificing their dignity–the confident man is comfortable enough with himself to be able to express his opinions respectfully and articulately.
They have no qualms occasionally rocking the boat or ruffling a few feathers, if it means getting their point across.
He has a firm foundation on which he stands, typically with an even firmer set of values.
He won’t often change his fundamental beliefs just to appease a few people temporarily.
He stays genuine; and though this can mean the occasional debate or disagreement, he won’t often back down.
3) Overcommitting or saying ‘yes’ to everything
I get it. Saying ‘no’ isn’t the easiest task in the world.
I mean, dealing with another person’s disappointment is hardly an ideal scenario for anyone, however brief.
I used to struggle with saying a firm ‘no’, always worried and guilty about upsetting the other person on the spot.
So instead, I’d either agree half-heartedly, only to flake later and cause even greater strife; or I’d say ‘yes’ and compromise my own commitments.
This was low-value behavior.
When I began to learn to say ‘no’, my confidence began to soar.
I learned to set healthy boundaries and value my own time and priorities.
And though my newfound ability to reject people might have meant a few more upset expressions, so be it.
It’s a small price to pay, in the greater scheme of things.
Always prioritize self-care and personal growth.
Ignoring your needs can certainly erode confidence over time.
4) Never taking risks
Insecure men tend to fear taking risks. But this shouldn’t be.
Anything of value in this life will always have some element of risk involved–something the confident man is deeply attuned to.
They understand that rejection is a fundamental part of living.
Everyone, and I mean everyone–rich, poor, handsome, beautiful–has been rejected at some point in life.
Rather than use it as a permanent blow to the ego, and take it as a deeply personal affront, they’ll use rejection as a learning experience, as a platform to bounce back stronger than ever.
Once you make the distinction, expect some major changes to follow.
5) Constantly changing to fit in
When you lack confidence, you tend to be hyper-aware of conforming to trends.
Whatever the latest outfit you see your favorite celebrity wearing on Instagram, you’ll almost instantly strive to replicate it.
But this isn’t exactly the most authentic behavior in the world.
And from my experience, authenticity, and confidence are practically synonymous.
Truly confident men don’t want to dress or fit in like everyone else; they don’t live to be just another cog in the system.
They almost always embrace their uniqueness and individuality rather than trying to conform to what everyone else is doing.
They forge their own paths; not follow everyone else’s.
6) Apologizing excessively
A telltale sign of the low confidence man? Serial apologizing.
They’ll apologize for any little thing resembling human error.
Sometimes they’ll end up ‘being sorry’ for practically existing.
Over-apologizing when you’re lacking in self-worth makes sense…
You’re so uncertain of yourself, that you might believe everything you do or say is inherently wrong.
So I’m here to tell you to stop always being sorry! You’re human and therefore liable to imperfection.
While being able to apologize when appropriate is crucial, over-apologizing will invariably chip away at your confidence unconsciously.
Sure, be accountable but at the same time, avoid unnecessary remorse.
7) Not speaking up for yourself
Confidence means being assertive when it counts.
You don’t stay passive, particularly when your platform and voice can make a difference in your life or the lives of other people.
You see, most men will often take a passive or neutral stance on the contentious issues of life, not wanting to upset people, not wanting to rock the status quo.
But this isn’t an issue when you have deep-seated confidence.
You want to put your foot down and stand up for yourself and others when necessary.
As the esteemed bishop Desmond Tutu once put it: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Confident men are rarely neutral.
If you want to be more confident, remember, it is never too late to change.
Shedding ingrained behaviors is no easy feat by any means. Start small. Take it a day at a time.
Celebrate your victories, both big and small; and fake it till you make it.
Sure, in the beginning, your newfound habits may not quite feel organic or natural.
Don’t get discouraged.
In time, and with enough dedication and commitment, you’ll get to where you want to be.
And when you do, there will be no turning back.