It’s a common misconception that to be confident you have to be overly aggressive and assertive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, you have to be a little assertive to get your voice heard… After all, if you hide in the corner afraid to say anything you’re not going to look or feel very confident at all.
But… and this is a big but… when you look at the people who are aggressive almost to the point of being cruel – the bullies, the jocks, the ruthless businessman – often you’ll find that those are the people who suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
People who are genuinely kind, gentle, friendly and generous are the one who often exude a quiet confidence that invites friendship and trust.
Of these traits, friendliness is the easiest to understand. When you are friendly, that means you are outgoing and willing to approach people as friends. This means you must be somewhat extroverted and confident and it means that you aren’t just looking for a way to ‘get ahead’. You’re not hanging out with someone because you want something; you’re doing it with nothing to gain, of your own volition, because you’re confident enough to do that and because you genuinely like spending time with people.
Likewise, when we are generous, this suggests we have ample resources. It gives people the impression we are confident enough in our own resources and not worried about having less. It doesn’t even have to be about having enough money or things.
You can be generous with your energy too. Think about when you smile at someone. It’s a gesture that sends energy to the person you’re smiling at even as it’s putting us out there and allowing us to be vulnerable. So even smiling at someone can be an act of confidence because it shows a lack of fear and anxiety.
Finally, complimenting people, supporting them and building them up can massively improve our own confidence. That’s because it suggests we aren’t threatened by their success and we don’t have anything to prove ourselves. It’s as though you’re saying, I’m doing well and so I’m glad to help you do the same and to welcome you when you get here.
Conversely, when someone is cruel or jealous, it often suggests they have low self-esteem and they need to be that way to make themselves feel better.
Let’s talk random acts of kindness
A random act of kindess is the idea to do something nice and kind for someone else without a lot of advanced planning or expecting anything in return. You’re probably already doing random acts of kindness here and there.
Think about the last time you’ve done something nice for a neighbor, friend, or even a total stranger. How did you feel after you did something kind? You felt pretty good about yourself didn’t you?
You can use random acts of kindness as a way to build your confidence.
Here’s why that is: Doing something nice for a family or community member makes you feel good about yourself. It can make you feel like you’re a part of the community no matter how much or how little you actually participate.
The truth is, we are social creatures who benefit from cooperation and working together, and too much time away from that isolates us and saps our confidence. Being kind and generous comes naturally to us, so having a chance to do something for someone else makes us feel really good about ourselves.
How to do a random act of kindness
There’s no hard and fast rule on how to do random acts of kindness. As long as they come from your heart and are done with good intentions, that’s really all there is to it. But you can make it easier to find ways to help others.
Start by keeping your eyes and ears open. Pay attention to the people around you and your environment. Here are some examples of things you could do for others:
• Offer to help bag and carry out the groceries for the elderly shopper in line with you at the grocery store.
• Help a student in your neighborhood study for a big test.
• Offer to run an errand for a sick neighbor or stop by with some pre-made meals.
• Pick up the trash you come across on your daily walk.
• Offer to babysit for your friends with little kids who haven’t been out on a date in months.
I grew up in a small town, and a lot of what we’re calling random acts of kindness here are things my mother would’ve called ‘small town values’. You help others and they help you and everyone in the community thrives.
A funny thing happens when you start paying attention to “kindness opportunities” throughout your day – you start to notice them everywhere. It doesn’t even have to be something as big as the examples in the list above. It could be something as small as holding the door for someone; or smiling at a stranger on the street. They can be little things that don’t take you more than a minute, but they brighten the other person’s day and make you feel good about yourself.
Your Challenge For Today
Today’s challenge is to start paying attention to the random acts of kindness you can perform. Do your best to do something nice for someone else every single day. Send an email or text to a friend letting them know you’re thinking of them. Make a phone call to check on a friend or family member. Send out a fun card, or buy a coffee for a random stranger who looks like he could use it. Give it a try and see for yourself how good these kind acts make you feel and how they boost your confidence and self-esteem.