What is self-confidence?
Confidence is a tricky thing. It means so many different things to different people. In it’s most basic sense it’s the belief that you can rely on someone or something. Self-confidence is therefore your belief in yourself. How certain you are about what your values are, how you want to show up. How easily you can perform the way you want to. Can self-confidence be learned? What does it mean in terms of our day-to-day lives?
In practical terms, there will be areas for everyone where they have more self-confidence and others where it’s lacking. Problems arise when we lack belief in ourselves to do the things we find most meaningful. For example, a public speaker may lack self-confidence when it comes to cooking, but feel confident on stage talking to thousands of people. As they have confidence in the area that is important to them, those other areas seem less significant.
On the other hand, if your job entails challenging activities on a daily basis. In this case speaking up in meetings, doing presentations, and dealing with authority figures. Lacking self-confidence in the context of public speaking can make five days out of the week tense and anxiety provoking.
Where does self-confidence come from? Is it learned?
When we are growing up as children we are curious creatures that love to learn and have enriching experiences. We naturally grow up and expand in self-confidence as we learn more about ourselves and the world. But our family, friends, society and country have their own beliefs and values. As we are going about doing our thing, we may perceive ourselves to be criticised, bullied, told off, punished or humiliated – to name but a few.
When we perceive these experiences in a negative way, and have to follow the lead and orders of others. We start to quieten our own inner voice and try to avoid more painful experiences. Ironically, these unpleasant responses also become learned too. The previously painful events accumulate, and the more of these moments we have the more we allow our self-confidence to erode away. Before long we feel anxious, we doubt ourselves, and we worry about anything and everything.
Why self-confidence is important?
Self-confidence is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, it gives you the inner certainty, the inner belief that whatever happens you have the resources to either make it through yourself. You believe you can learn how to get through it. This means that no matter what happens, you know you will find a way through and you know you’ll make it out the other side stronger. This is key in dealing with life’s challenges, because you cannot escape them, so knowing how to navigate them is vital.
Secondly it means that you value yourself. Dr Demartini says “don’t expect the world to value you until you value yourself”. Meaning it is up to you to show you truly believe and value yourself, and when you do that the rest of the world will live up to that vision you hold of yourself. If you allow other people to take advantage, to walk all over you, or you hold yourself back because of fear, that is the world you will live in.
Self-confidence is the elixir that allows you to express just how valuable you are and that you do have something amazing to contribute to the world. Self-confidence allows you to take on those challenges that inspire you. It helps you fully embrace all parts of yourself.
So can self-confidence be learned?
Yes and no.
No in the sense that we all already have self-confidence deep down. It is within every single one of us. It is the accumulation of stored painful past events that create fear, anxiety and stress. These are the moments that cloud the mind and diminish self-confidence. As these moments are cleared and neutralised, just like a flower exposed to sunlight, your self-confidence begins to blossom again.
Yes in terms of there are specific practices, simple daily tasks, that you can learn to do to strategically build confidence day-in-day-out. These take the form of building physical fitness, personal development exercises to challenge limiting beliefs, meditations, journaling and new learning. When all of these are structured into a specific plan, you can take huge strides in a short space of time.
To find out more about re-discovering your self-confidence, contact me here.
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