These TED Talks on confidence and self love address two of the most challenging mindsets to work on.
Life just throws so many emotional beat downs on us sometimes that we have a hard time feeling like we are really accomplishing what we want to… and then, the negative self talk sets in.
Why am I not successful/pretty/smart/talented enough? When will I feel good about myself and my accomplishments? Why do I keep failing?
Luckily, the huge wave of awareness being brought to mental health and its ties to self esteem and self worth are creating a culture where we can have dialogues about these issues freely.
There is mountains of research and resources available now to help us learn, grow, and feel better.
Below are 7 of the best TED Talks (and I watched a LOT) that address the issues of self love and confidence in healthy contexts.
Either they are filled with valuable research or experiences or both that will give you information, inspiration and tools to grow. Enjoy!
TED Talks on Self Love
Self love is a term that has been popularized more recently along with the self care movement.
It is a concept of having a regard for your own happiness and well-being. Many people turn their noses up at the idea of self love, especially those from past generations, as being narcissistic and vain.
However, it really is quite the opposite.
Narcissism is rooted in deep insecurity and pain. Self love is an attempt to accept yourself for who you are, where you are, right now.
You are not trying desperately to hide your insecurities by over compensating and hurting others.
Self love is the pathway to loving and accepting others for who they are, right now.
These brave women will explain these concepts much more in depth.
Related: Self-Care: Practices to Reduce Stress, Accomplish Goals, and Benefit the Mind & Body
The Person You Really Need to Marry
A three time divorcee, raised in foster homes and struggling majorly with self acceptance, Tracy McMillan made a commitment to herself. A lifelong commitment to stop looking for her other half, and find wholeness in who she was already.
Tracy runs through the vows you should be making – to yourself.
A great takeaway: love yourself the way you want someone else to love you. Stop feeling like you aren’t whole unless someone loves you.
In this TED Talk about confidence and self love, she states that you need to love yourself as you are in order to love others as they are.
Bonus: She’s hilarious and her hair is mesmerizing!
How To Love Yourself To The Core
Jen is a fitness industry expert who has experienced first hand the pressures we feel as women to look a specific way.
She discusses the added pressures of “bouncing back” after pregnancy and the self criticism this causes.
After injuring herself trying to get back to her pre-baby body, she took a long hard look at these behaviours and the damage these expectations cause.
She begs us to stop looking outwards for the validation about our worth that needs to come from within.
Urging us, if we want to build confidence and self love, to stop comparing ourselves to others and stop feeling like we are in constant competition.
Takeaway: Diets don’t work, love does.
This talk resonated with me because it is highly relatable to my own journey and congruent with the message I try and send you all through this website.
YOU ARE ALWAYS WORTHY!
Related: 5 Body Flaws That Are Actually Totally Normal (including stretch marks, saggy skin, and mommy tummy)!
Learning To Love Yourself
Prepare yourself for this one (trigger warnings). Amanda reveals a childhood and youth that was rife with struggles.
She faced a lot of heartbreaking situations that left her feeling very unloved at a young age.
Amanda argues that loving yourself is the foundation for everything else in your life.
When things in life chip and crack away at that foundation we start to view ourselves as unlovable.
Sometimes we turn to numbing behaviours with food, alcohol, drugs and more. Other times we try and punish ourselves by restricting food, forcing exercise or other damaging behaviours.
The key she points out in her TED Talk on confidence and self love, is in accepting who we are by redefining our ideas of beauty and taking better care of ourselves.
Listen to Amanda talk about her motivation for loving herself and her steps to find balance through a better relationship with food and exercise.
Related: 13 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet Today (a balanced take on nutrition habits)
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a New Workout Routine (based on your goals, abilities, and lifestyle)
Stress Eating, Bingeing and Restricting: Why You Do it and How To Stop
Self-Love, Be Intentional
This talk was done for TedxYouth so the perspective is from a young woman who can really speak to girls and women of all ages.
Caityln speaks to us about a common painful experience that many of us as young women went through. Heartbreak.
She relates her pain to how it revealed to her the areas in her life she desperately needed to grow. High school for her was like is was for many women, a battle of poor self esteem and trying to fit in.
She suffered from eating disorders, depression and perfectionism. And she was completely unhappy.
Caitlyn argues that personal growth doesn’t occur naturally like the growth of our bodies during childhood. Instead, we need to be intentional and focus on our growth.
Get to know yourself and see yourself as worthy. Treat yourself like a good friend.
Take away: be in relationships that add value to your life, including, most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself.
TED Talks on Confidence
Confidence is key.
That’s a phrase we hear and say, but what does it even mean? Key to what?
A deeper meaning and more crucial purpose for confidence is to trust in yourself when things go wrong.
With confidence, you won’t feel that your worth is dependent on what you are producing in your life (a perfect relationship, great grades, wealth) and instead that it is an intrinsic part of who you are despite any of that.
The interesting thing is, when you have confidence despite setbacks, you are more likely to succeed!
These three TED Talks on confidence are super eye opening and cover some very interesting research on self worth, how we perceive confidence in others, and how to reprogram your brain to believe you CAN.
The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion
This talk on the difference between self esteem and self compassion is one of my favourites on this list.
Kristin explains how self esteem is not what we should be striving for and how the self esteem movement has caused an epidemic of narcissism.
Self esteem is a judgement about whether we are good or bad. It can go up and down and is contingent upon whether or not we fail or succeed.
We build self esteem by comparing ourselves to others and even putting others down.
This is especially difficult for women because we base so much of our self esteem on our outer appearance and physical attraction.
Kristin mentions research showing that girls self esteem, based on appearance, starts to decline around grade THREE!
I’ve written more about this here: Representations of Women in the Media and Why it Matters
and here: 5 Body Flaws That Are Actually Totally Normal
Kristin pleads us to find self compassion and self kindness by embracing ourselves as who we are and not judging ourselves.
There’s so much more to learn from her talk and I highly recommend if you are to watch even just one of these on the list that you start with this one.
You Are Contagious
Vanessa’s Ted Talk is a bit different than the others I chose for this list but I thought that it was extremely helpful and provided a different take on confidence – from an angle that we can control.
Her talk “You Are Contagious” relays research she has done, along with others, that examines how we perceive confidence in others and why it is so important.
Apparently, hand gestures are key! I found this research incredibly interesting. For a person who feels like they will pass out with even a thought of public speaking, I know that I need to get better at overcoming that anxiety.
Vanessa’s talk has given me great tips on how to display confidence while I”m talking and how to be memorable and inspire excitement in others by triggering dopamine release.
I absolutely loved the quote above as well. “Anxiety and excitement are very similar emotions. The only difference is mindset.”
I will be keeping that in mind for myself when I’m feeling anxious in social situations or when trying something new and out of my comfort zone.
Don't Believe Everything You Think
Tied for my favourite talk on this list is “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”.
Lauren is an intelligent and nurturing voice calling out your biggest mental blocks that are preventing you from being and doing all you can in this life.
She uses the analogy of an elephant raised confined to a rope who grows with the ability to break her chains but is conditioned to believe she cannot, so doesn’t try.
Lauren acknowledges the pain and fear that grows in us as we get older and experience broken relationships, opinionated family members, and false beliefs about ourselves and our abilities that arise.
She references amazing studies that demonstrate the incredible ability of the brain to limit (or not!) our performance and abilities solely based on what we are led to believe about our reality.
Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one. It’s eye opening.
More about negative self talk, anxiety and ruminating here: 9 Unique Ways to Stop Ruminating and Anxiety in Its Tracks
I hope you enjoyed these TED Talks on Confidence and Self Love and hopefully learned some valuable, actionable steps towards embracing yourself, flaws and all.
Recognize that you deserve to go out and experience life to the fullest, knowing that you deserve to take up space just as much as anyone else 💖.
Other Confidence and Self Love TED Talks Worth Watching
- Cultivating Unconditional Self Worth by Adia Goodmen – This one deserved to be on the list and I may expand it to go into detail with this one. I wanted to be sure I had enough variety first. This talk is about being perfect, busy, or filling a void with a relationship. This is not how to feel worthy. Self worth is different from self esteem.
- How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins – believe in yourself that you can and force yourself to do the thing so you can have what you want (and deserve!)
- Removing Negative Self Talk by Abria Joseph – quiet the mind and examine whether the negative talk is true, necessary, or improving on the silence. He also introduces us to an amazing instrument.
- The Courage to Trust Yourself: Listen to the Nudges by Jo Simpson – have confidence to listen to your gut before the bad things happen. Act early and trust your intuition. Figure out your values and use them as a basis for action.
This is JUST the post I needed right now. I love a good TED talk, and now I have 7 that I need to watch immediately. Thanks for putting together this list on a very important topic. Can’t wait to watch!
No problem at all! It was inspiring to watch all of these (and many more!) to make this list. Hope you enjoy!
This is such a lovely post and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have seen Vanessa’s ‘You are Contagious’ . It’s MUST WATCH for everyone.
Thank you! Yes, it is. I wanted to include an actionable video for people wanting to display confidence even when they might not feel it yet.
Yep, so I’ll be binge watching or listening to these ASAP…. just reading through the list, I see soooo many that resonate with me. Thanks for sharing this powerful list!
That’s fantastic! I spent a LOT of time binge-watching and curating this list. I wanted to be sure they hit home. I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
I love TED talks. I’d love to be able to do one one day. These are all great choices
I’d watch your TED Talk! What an awesome goal 🙂
Wow, thank you so much for gathering all of these video’s and having them here and accessible in one place. The elephant one is amazing, so much truth! it speaks to the barriers we put around our own mind.
Exactly. It blew my mind how much our thinking can be distorted by simple things like a lab coat vs. a painter’s coat. Amazing stuff.
Thank you for sharing these Ted Talks, I’m really looking forward to them.
You are very welcome!