Have you ever wished you could be one of those people who can state their opinions and ideas calmly and confidently? Or go through life with none of the awkwardness that befalls the shy and less surefooted?
We’ve all been there at some point, haven’t we? That feeling of wanting our voice to be heard or making decisions swiftly and surely.
For people who weren’t born with natural swag, self-assuredness can seem like a distant dream. But you know what? We’re always evolving! That means, you might not notice it, but you’ve actually become much more confident than you used to be.
In this article, I’ll show you 10 subtle signs you’re growing in confidence. You might just be surprised at how far you’ve come!
1) You’re okay with saying “no”
I’ll start by admitting I used to be someone who was so painfully, cringe-worthy lacking in self-confidence. And one of my biggest struggles back then was saying no.
I would say yes to almost anything, just to avoid conflict or discomfort. But as I grew older (and perhaps wiser), I began thinking about how I now have much less energy to keep doing things I didn’t really want to do.
So, I decided to say no. Little by little. And you know what? The sky didn’t fall! The earth didn’t stop spinning!
Instead, what happened was that I felt free. It was a relief to lay down the burden of having to do things I hated just to please people. I finally understood that setting boundaries wasn’t rude or unkind; it was necessary for my own peace of mind.
If you’ve learned how to say no yourself, that is a sign you’re growing more confident and assertive!
2) You value your time
Another sign that you’re more aware of your boundaries – and thus more assertive – is the greater value you give your time.
Those times you couldn’t say no? Those were instances where you didn’t value your time much.
But – and this is one thing I appreciate about getting older – you should realize that time isn’t limitless.
We only have 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, and not to be morbid, but who knows how many years we’ve got left?
As the old adage goes, time is gold. Truly. And once you take that to heart and save your time and energy only for things that add value to your life, you become more assertive, confident, and intentional with the way you live.
3) You’re not afraid to ask for what you want
Speaking of being intentional leads me to this next point: you finally have the guts to ask for what you want!
If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you had those times when things like asking for a raise, requesting help, or expressing your desires felt like climbing a mountain. Or pulling teeth. I used to recoil at the very idea of speaking up!
But eventually, I learned to be more upfront about my needs and desires. I didn’t always get a ‘yes’, but the very act of asking diminished the fear of it little by little.
For me, what really helped was this thought – “What’s the worst that could happen? They could say no? That’s all right, I won’t die!”
Trust me, there’s a certain magic in overcoming this fear. It might take a while, but once you do, you’ll enjoy a greater sense of control over your life!
4) You express your opinions without fear
Just like asking for what you want, expressing your thoughts and ideas fearlessly is a sign that you’re becoming more confident and assertive.
Gone are the days when you’d swallow your opinions, worried about what others might think. These days, you’re all about carving out your own space and standing firmly in it.
You now understand that there’s room for your ideas in any conversation. Sure, not everyone may agree with you, but that’s okay!
This is another area where practice makes perfect. The more you speak up, the more you understand that your ideas matter.
And this shift isn’t just about gaining confidence; it’s also about encouraging open, honest communication, which is something we should always aim for!
5) You handle criticism better
Another fear that disappears as you become more confident is the fear of criticism.
Nobody likes being criticized. It can sting, and I’ve had my share of sleepless nights pondering over a harsh comment or two.
But as you become more confident, you learn to handle criticism better. You’re able to sift through and differentiate between constructive feedback and mindless negativity.
When criticism no longer knocks you down and instead fuels your growth, that’s when you know you’re becoming more assertive.
My breakthrough in this area happened when I learned not to take things personally. Instead of getting defensive and hating the messenger, I now listen – really listen – to the message and use it to improve myself.
6) You’re comfortable with silence
Ah, the awkward silence. Raise your hand if silence used to make you squirm and babble along to fill the dead air.
I’m so guilty of this. Especially in closed spaces like elevators. I would feel this pressing need to look at my phone, pretending to be busy so I don’t look awkward.
But as I became more confident, I also grew more comfortable with dead air. I understood that silence can be just that – a time to be quiet and gather your thoughts.
If you now see silence this way, that means you’re growing in confidence!
7) You embrace mistakes as learning opportunities
What else are you now comfortable with because you’ve become more confident? Mistakes. Failure.
This fear has stopped many of us from trying new things. But as your confidence builds, you start seeing mistakes not as failures, but as valuable learning experiences.
You now realize that a mistake isn’t the end of the world; in fact, you can now easily stand back up and dust yourself off every time you stumble.
8) You’re taking more risks
A stronger stomach for risks is another sign that your confidence and assertiveness are growing in leaps and bounds.
Stepping out of your comfort zone no longer takes forever. You now have a bigger appetite for trying new things and are more willing to take leaps of faith.
Where you used to be content with staying at a dead-end job because that’s all you’d ever known, you now have the courage to leave and find better opportunities.
Where you used to stick it out in toxic relationships because you were scared of being alone, you now won’t tolerate it. If someone’s not living up to your standards, out they go!
With every risk you take, you’re not only building confidence but also widening your horizons and growing as a person. And that’s really something to celebrate!
9) You celebrate others’ success
Speaking of celebration, another sign that you’re now more confident is that you celebrate other people’s successes.
You see, when we have low self-esteem, we tend to compare ourselves with others, right? And when we see them thriving, we feel threatened or envious instead of happy for them.
In contrast, confident people celebrate others’ successes. Because they don’t see those as a threat at all. And they want to be supportive and uplift others instead of tearing them down.
So, pay attention to how you react when you hear of a friend’s promotion, a friend getting engaged, and other such happy news. If you feel honest-to-goodness joyful for them, that’s a sign you’ve gotten to a happy place yourself!
10) You value yourself
Above all, the biggest sign of growing in confidence is valuing yourself. It’s quite subtle because it’s an internal indicator, but nonetheless prominent.
You begin to accept and appreciate yourself, quirks and all. You understand that self-worth isn’t determined by external validation but comes from within.
I can’t emphasize just how liberating this feels. When I finally understood that my value isn’t tied to anyone’s opinion of me, it freed me up to make decisions that put me at peace.
I felt like I was living a more authentic life, one where I could just be myself, take my picks instead of settling for less, and spend my time exactly the way I want to.
Believe me, there’s nothing more empowering than that!
Do you see yourself on this list? Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s okay. They are signs that you’re further along in life than you think.
Remember, these changes happen slowly – confidence doesn’t come overnight. It comes with consistency and the hard work of believing in yourself.
And one more thing…your milestones may seem small and subtle, but they’re always worth celebrating!