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Do you have a low self-esteem? Here is how you can boost your self confidence

By Faeza
15 August 2016

Everyone is different. Some people find it easy to make friends, while others are silent and try not to be noticed. Being shy isn’t a bad thing, but lacking confidence can stop you from living the life you want to live or getting the things you want.


Low self-esteem has been linked to a low self-image, a lack of assertiveness and hypersensitivity, all of which can negatively affect your life. Thoko Khuzwayo, a women’s counsellor at an Ekurhuleni-based family centre, says unemployment, poverty and unhealthy relationships can damage one’s self-confidence. “Low self-confidence is a big problem in our townships,” she says. “People become depressed because they feel trapped. This makes them even less confident, making it hard for them to change their situation. “It's a vicious cycle, and even when opportunities arise, they don't feel able to face new challenges.”


One way to help increase your selfconfidence is remembering what you have achieved, says Thoko. “Whether it’s passing matric, getting your driver’s licence or being successful in a previous job, remembering the things that you’ve done can boost your confidence and remind you that you can do it again.” This can balance out those feelings of shame and failure.


When you are depressed and underconfident, and you need to make drastic changes to your life, it is important to keep your goals realistic and achievable. This way, you can slowly make changes instead of setting out to complete huge tasks that you’re likely to fail at, and in so doing, damaging your confidence further. “For example, instead of setting out to clean the whole house and yard in a day rather take it one room at a time,” says Thoko. “Progress may be small, but setting goals you can achieve is a better testimony to your ability than setting extreme goals and failing.”


A career or a job is not the only thing you can do to increase your confidence: getting a hobby or developing a talent that you have is a fun way to see what you are capable of and to strengthen your confidence in your abilities. “Starting a garden or a beading project, or learning to play an instrument, gives physical proof of your abilities. As you improve, so does your confidence in your abilities,” says Thoko. “And seeing daily progress will bring joy that can gradually overcome feelings of helplessness.” “Getting a hobby also removes you from a situation that's causing you to lose your confidence by allowing you to see that there is more to your life than the single aspect you feel you've failed at,” concludes Thoko.


If you are feeling depressed and anxious, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group on 0800 70 80 90.