Let’s face it, many of us struggle with confidence issues from time-to-time.
The highly confident person does not typically have to battle fear, anxiety, and social anxiety on an ongoing basis the way someone who struggles with confidence does. It’s perfectly normal for confidence to wane during different times in our lives in response to our experiences.
If we can improve our confidence, we’ll be rewarded with a greater sense of self-worth, more efficient decision making with less procrastination, and a deeper enjoyment in our work, relationships, social activities, and overall life.
We’ve all heard the sayings, “Fake it till you make it,” and “You are what you believe”. While all that is helpful, to truly conquer this, we need to delve deeper into our beliefs and our experiences.
There are two types of confidence that come into play here. We can define confidence as our belief in our abilities, trust in others, and in our future. In other words, this type of confidence is what some might call optimism.
We can define self-confidence as simply our ability to believe in ourselves. This is typically based on our evaluations of our abilities in how we’ve handled things in our past. Specifically, our challenges and the times we felt we fell short of achievement.
Self-confidence is linked to self-efficacy (an individual’s beliefs about their ability to handle challenges) but is more focused on the views that person holds about their overall abilities in life, not just that one particular area.
The highly confident individual is better equipped to handle change due to their tendency to look at ambiguous situations more optimistically.
Since life is full of changes, we can become more confident and resilient by keeping a few things in mind:
- Embrace optimism, the art of looking at things on the bright side. We’ll often find what we seek to find, so if we’re focused on finding good, chances are we’ll find or achieve it.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Yeah, it’s easier to stay in there, I know. But when we stay in our familiarity, we don’t grow and develop new skills. This makes us hyper-sensitive and unsure of ourselves when do have to step out and try something new.
- Realize that the unknown isn’t the bad guy it’s made out to be. It often offers valuable changes and growth, along with the ability to leave things behind that no longer resonate with you.
- Take an honest look at the things you have achieved during challenging times. We too often focus on our shortcomings, without giving our accomplishments the same weight they deserve.
Finally, it’s important to realize that everyone experiences fear at times, but courage – the ability to proceed anyway despite one’s fears – is an instrumental ally in becoming more confident.
Courage shows itself generally in three ways: Moral courage (i.e. overcoming the fear of social rejection to maintain integrity), Psychological courage (i.e. overcoming addiction or a traumatic event), or Physical courage (triumphing over a fear of death or injury for a certain goal). It isn’t a skill one can develop overnight, but a good way to start is by examining the area(s) in your life where you harbor the greatest fears and to work with those first.
Focus on the times you felt fearful toward a situation but ended up conquering it and removed the fear component from it entirely. Each time you encounter a situation like this, you become more resilient and confident.
Remember, confidence takes time to cultivate. Be patient with yourself and honest with your past successful endeavors. If you feel like you’d like additional help in this area, set up an appointment to connect with me.