As you’re working to improve your self-confidence, you know that the path can be slow and difficult.
Insecurities have a way of bubbling back up, and it can be hard to silence the voice of doubt at the back of your mind.
But I’m here to tell you one thing: you’re probably much further along this path than you realize.
Self-confidence isn’t always obvious to see, but becomes apparent through certain behaviors and thought patterns.
Want to know what they are? Look out for these 9 signs you’re gaining more self-confidence in yourself.
1) You enjoy hanging out alone
Have you ever gone to a restaurant alone, or a bar, or a concert?
Many people I know would be embarrassed to do this, and need to find company in order to feel comfortable going everywhere.
Maybe this was you as well — but lately, you find yourself just not giving a damn.
This is probably one of the first signs I noticed in myself that helped me realize I was improving my self-confidence.
I spent some time traveling around a lot, and as I didn’t know many people when I moved to a new city, I had to become comfortable going places alone in order to meet people.
This shows that you feel good in your own skin, and don’t need to hide behind anyone’s company because you’re afraid others will judge you.
2) You start complimenting people more
The modern world is a very competitive place.
Even if we don’t admit it out loud, we often get swept up in trying to show off the best vacation on social media, have the best performance review at work, or being more popular or attractive than our friends.
It takes a pretty self-confident person to break free of that. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone, and you don’t feel threatened by them either, because you know your worth and you know that nobody can change that.
And when you do break free, you start to be able to appreciate other people’s successes.
This is when it becomes more natural to you to give people compliments — about their progress with a goal, a talent they have, or just for being an amazing human being.
3) You don’t post as often on social media
If you’re gaining more self-confidence, you might realize one day that it’s been weeks since you’ve posted on social media.
In fact, it’s been a while since you’ve even thought about posting.
This is another sign I noticed in myself that I’m rather proud of. I used to post a lot about things I’ve done or accomplished, in the spirit of “sharing my successes.”
But really the reason for this was insecurity. I was worried what other people thought of me, so I tried to put out a certain image in order to shape their opinion of me into someone who’s successful and happy.
Really, though? Truly happy and self-confident people don’t feel the need to prove anything. They know in their hearts what they are, and they don’t need anyone else’s approval or admiration to believe in themselves.
4) Things that used to bother you don’t bother you anymore
Let’s face it — we all have things that rile us up, and push our buttons.
Maybe it’s when someone interrupts you when you’re talking, or if a person acts in an arrogant way.
I can admit that both these things used to really get to me.
But eventually, I found a healthier frame of mind to look at them. What other people do is completely out of my control, and is a reflection only of them, not of me.
I no longer felt disrespected from being interrupted, or inferior from being looked down upon, because I knew that these things had no effect on me.
I was becoming more self-confident in who I was, and my identity could not be tainted by anyone else.
5) You don’t care if you lose
For people with low self-confidence, everything is a competition. More than that, it becomes a chance to prove your worth.
If a boss praises someone else instead of you, or if a friend points out someone who excels at the same hobby you do, you feel as if you’ve “lost” in comparison.
This is not something anyone does consciously — it’s a negative thought pattern that happens when something is important to you, and you feel insecure about it.
So it’s a really good sign if you start to notice that you just don’t care so much anymore, even if other people seem to do better than you.
If anything, you begin to look up to them as an example of what you too can achieve, if you keep going at it.
6) You’re not afraid to dream big
You might not share it with other people, but in your heart you begin to dream — big time.
I’ve always tended to dream, and set goals for myself. But when I set bigger ones, I had a little voice at the back of my mind that doubted if I could make it happen.
So most of the time, I ended up making my dreams smaller.
As you gain more self-confidence, you dare to push the goalposts, and truly believe that you can reach them.
I noticed a very concrete example of this in myself when I felt comfortable raising my rates for certain services I gave. I always care deeply about giving the best value to my clients, and I used to worry if I was giving enough.
But now, I’m confident in the value I provide, and I can stand by my rates without fear. (And, the clients keep on coming — so it looks like I have good reason to be confident in my value!)
7) You don’t take your mistakes so seriously anymore
Who here enjoys making mistakes? That’s a trick question — of course nobody finds mistakes pleasant.
I in particular used to HATE making mistakes. When someone pointed one out, I’d feel like a total failure and I could get pretty defensive.
This was mostly due to the insecurity I was hiding deep down. I wanted to be a certain type of person, but I didn’t feel like I was yet. And every mistake felt to me like proof that I wasn’t.
However, when you become more self-confident, you eventually realize that mistakes don’t mean you’re not good at what you do, or don’t have a certain characteristic.
Even the greatest experts make mistakes, and even the kindest people have their bad moments. So you really have nothing to be so afraid of.
With enough practice, you even start being able to laugh at yourself, knowing in your heart that to err is human.
8) You start being able to notice when people are faking it
There are many sheep in wolf’s clothing among us, with people playing up their skills and acting like they’re much more important than they really are.
These people can disguise themselves pretty well to those who don’t know what real self-confidence feels like.
But when you shed your insecurities, you’ll easily be able to pick them out of a crowd.
For starters, they probably break most of the rules above — including getting defensive when they slip up, and boasting a little too much about everything they’ve achieved.
They do say “fake it till you make it,” so these people are still early in their journey to gaining more self-confidence.
We’re not here to judge — we all have our lessons to learn, and our own pace to learn them at. But at least you can take this as clear evidence of how much you’ve grown.
9) You’re not ashamed to ask for help or advice
As a self-confident person, you won’t be afraid of asking other people for help or advice.
You may have used to see this as a weakness, but now you understand things differently.
In fact, getting support from others is crucial to your personal and professional growth.
It also shows a great level of humility, as you recognize the many gifts that other people around you have, and the gaps in your own knowledge or skills that they can help you fill.
Eventually, doing this will only help you to feel even more self-confident — the ultimate proof that you’re definitely on the right path.
It takes time to gain more self-confidence, and there are sure to be ups and downs along the way.
I remember I first began to notice the signs above in myself sporadically, and then slowly they became more frequent.
Now they are practically second nature to me, but of course I still occasionally doubt myself. We’re still human after all.
Remember to have patience with yourself on your journey, and celebrate each little win along the way.