Help build confidence in those around you
There is lots of advice around on how to boost your own confidence, but as parents, friends and even colleagues we sometimes see others feeling a bit low and want to help them feel better about themselves. These tips will help you boost the self esteem and confidence of those around you.
- Judge people on their own terms, don’t compare them with others. If your child usually gets five or six out of ten at spelling tests, then seven is an achievement to be praised and appreciated. Who cares if cousin Freddie always gets nine?
- Praise effort and achievement, but save your biggest applause for the greatest achievements. Wild enthusiasm for everything can feel insincere, and it leaves you no way to acknowledge the really big stuff.
- If you have to criticise, be accurate, polite, constructive and specific. “You missed this deadline” rather than “You’re always late”.
- Challenge negative beliefs - where you can do so honestly and effectively. If someone says “I always fail”, remind them of a time they did well.
- Help others to keep problems in perspective and to find realistic ways to resolve their difficulties.
- Offer support but not instructions, what would be right for you in the same situation may not be right for others. Children need more guidance than adults on this one but the best first question is always 'what would you like to do about that if we could?'
- Encourage them to identify their own good points; be specific as to what you like about them. ‘Thank you, that was really thoughtful’ instead of just ‘thanks’.
- Encourage them to accept that the nearest thing to ‘perfect’ is usually ‘the best you could do at the time’. No-one deliberately makes a choice that's going to go wrong.
If someone’s self-esteem is very low, you may think they need help from a professional. You can tactfully suggest this, but trying to force someone into any kind of therapy will be counter-productive.
Just do your best to remain understanding and supportive until they are ready.
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