Once you've read the article below, check out our free 6-part self confidence course.
It's a funny thing, confidence. Like money, we all feel at times that we could do with more of it and those who have plenty never give it a second thought. It's an elusive feeling, one that evaporates under the spotlight of attention, but when you've got it, you feel you can do anything. What does 'confidence' mean?
By 'self-confidence', people usually mean the feeling of knowing that things will go well. This immediately gives us an idea of why it can be such a problem - we cannot know the future!
Confidence in your own abilities
The essence of self confidence is having faith in your own abilities. Being able to trust that, whatever happens, you'll be able to deal with it. Why is it then, that we spend most of our time imagining what things will be like when they go wrong, and seeing ourselves being embarrassed, humiliated or failing in some crushing way?
One reason why we do this is to avoid danger to ourselves. Contingency planning is where you imagine what could happen, and make plans to deal with it. This is fine in business, government or project planning, but in many other situations, such as social occasions or presentations, the possibilities of 'what might happen' are far too numerous to deal with in this way.
Confidence, the myth
People often say things like "I can't do that, I just don't feel confident". By this, they seem to mean one of the following. Either "The fact I feel under-confident is some kind of message that I shouldn't be doing it" or "Before attempting anything new, I have to feel confident about it first." Both of these leave us less likely to be able to tackle new situations in a comfortable way. As stated previously, what we need more is a sense of 'whatever happens, it will be OK'.
Learning Self confidence
Self Confidence can be learned
Another common idea about confidence is that you are either born with it, or not. Things you hear are "I'm just not a confident person" or "People who are super-confident are just lucky". This is obviously untrue, as anyone knows who has seen a friend or colleague grow in confidence. Confidence is a way of approaching things, and it can be learned.
Now obviously, what builds our confidence in the long-term is doing things that we are a bit scared of and surprising ourselves with our abilities. So is this a no-win situation? If we can't do the things that we need to feel confident, how can we grow in confidence? Well, we can learn the strategies, approaches and thinking of confident people and, perhaps most importantly, how to mentally prepare ourselves for new or frightening events. Once we do this, it's like rolling a snowball down a hill. The things that made us under-confident no longer do and we feel more able to tackle bigger things, which in turn raises our confidence levels.
What can I do to be more confident?
If you truly want to be more confident, you can learn how. How long it will take before you are as confident as you want to be depends on what stage you are at now. Very under-confident people are more likely to notice a difference most quickly when they learn how to be more confident. Those who need more confidence for particular situations only may only notice the difference when they go back into that situation.
Above all, to become more confident, we have to do something. It's one thing thinking different, but that's only one part of the picture.
The Self Confidence Trainer leads you through doing things differently to help you to greater self confidence.
You can discuss self confidence on our forum
You can also find tips for confidence in back issues of our newsletter.
Back to Self help psychology articlesblog comments powered by Disqus