Boston Acquired Brain Injury Support Group

Boosting Self-Confidence
by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC


1.  Confidence is a having some sense of control and mastery of one's body, behavior, and world. It is having faith in yourself to do something even if you are a little bit afraid. It is the sense that you will be more likely than not to succeed at what you set out to do, and that others will be helpful. Confidence includes the belief you can learn what you need to know. The right to feel good about yourself as a human being is a basic human right

2. Confidence is not an all or nothing quality! We all have areas we feel less confident about, and areas we feel we handle well. 

3. Confidence is a combination of our beliefs, attitudes, skills, and values.


1. Start with who you are now.

  •   Think about what you value most. Partner with a trusted person who can help list your strengths, abilities, opportunities, and actual life situation.

  •   Pain and depression zap confidence, so seek treatment if necessary.

2. Appreciate and respect your resilience and
strengths now.

  •   You have already shown tremendous resilience in moving forward after brain injury. Give yourself credit when due, don't just look ahead to what else has to be done.

  •   Make a note of something that gives you complete pleasure- ice cream, bubble bath, shopping, a television show, favorite music. Use this activity to re-boot yourself. Also remember to take breaks from constant self-improvement and "just be."

3. Remember- our self-talk and messages we've taken in contribute to our attitude. Constructive self-talk will help you shine!

  •   Write down the bad names or put downs you catch yourself using-"I'm so clumsy; I'll never get this; I'm good for nothing."

  • Substitute more updated, believable, empowering phrases-" I walk much better now than 6 months ago; I'll break this into steps and move slower; I am a fine friend and I can do tai chi; Good for me for taking the chance." Practice saying them often.

  • Write down compliments from others and add them to your self-talk.

4. To get started, pick one area you already feel confident about, and build on that.

  •   "I am comfortable taking the bus downtown, so now I'll take the bus and go into the library."

  • Remember, perception is not always reality. If you are feeling sensitive or down, check out your perceptions with a buddy.

5. Pick one new area you want to build confidence around- start with an easy one!

  • Remember there will always be people who do something better than you do. Learn from them. A baseball batter who has a good score of .3, failed 7 times out of 10! So, concentrate on getting it right 3 times out of 10. You don't have to be THE best, be your best!


6. Find ways to get support, constructive feedback, and new skills.

  • Be around people for whom you have mutual respect.

  • Try to identify a better way to handle a problem situation- yelling when angry. Let your support people know how they can help.

  • Ask trusted people to remind you of strategies you used successfully in the past.

  • When someone offers an opinion, do a reality check about whether you trust their opinion before taking it in.

  • Talk to a case manager, rehab staff, or community resources about classes or coaching to build the specific skills you need- assertiveness, communication, cooking, swimming, computer, memory strategies.

7. Take a risk in a safe and supportive setting. Celebrate your accomplishment at each step, not just the final goal.

  • Confidence in one area can carry over to other areas.
  • Get involved in a project like the BABIS walk, sharing your creative outlets with others, trying the Adaptive Recreation program, asking an acquaintance to have lunch, etc.

8. KEEP AT IT!!!

  • The more you practice the better you ge, and the more confident you will be!



©Copyright 2011