Everybody wants to be more confident. But what exactly does that mean? What is confidence about? And most importantly, how come you don’t have it already?
I believe my mission in this life is to show people that they already have the tools they need to become a better person, to heal from within, and to be the father, the wife, the professional, the lover they have always dreamed to be.
That is why today I will explain how confidence is built and will also deconstruct the myths around it, I will also give you some tips and exercises to help you see all the potential that already lies inside you.
What Does Confidence Mean?
“Baz, I’m here because I want to be more confident”, “I don’t think I’m confident enough”, “I wish I could just… be more confident about myself”. Those are the most common phrases people tell me when I start talking about confidence.
What does confidence mean? Why do we want it so much? These are questions that, on the other hand, seem to have no clear answers from the perspective of those searching for confidence. They know they want it, but not what it is or how they “lost” it.
Let’s start by explaining what confidence is, essentially speaking, confidence is the emotion that makes people believe something is or isn’t, that is effective, or ineffective; there’s no doubt possible when you’re confident about something.
And if what you’re confident about is you, then we call it “self-confidence”. It can be described as the confidence you have in whatever you are doing, feeling, seeing, and sometimes even believing.
Please notice that I said “self-confidence” and not “self-efficacy”, When you are self-efficient, it only means you can complete a task efficiently, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a self-confident personality, which is the goal you should be focusing on.
For example, you can be self-efficient assembling a closet as long as you have the correct tools and instructions, but would you feel the same if you didn’t have those resources? That’s what self-confidence is about, knowing you can.
How To Be More Confident
It seems like a good idea right, to be more confident. And I totally agree, the question is why do you want to be more confident. Why aren’t you confident already. Can confidence get lost? How to get it back?
I like to make a lot of questions because you need to comprehend where does this desire comes from, and it’s also important to understand yourself as a unit and as a part of something bigger.
Without understanding the root of your insecurities, the work you will have to do to be more confident probably will vanish in a few months.
And that journey takes you back to your childhood. Your parents’ attitudes were crucial to defining the feelings you had about yourself when you were a kid.
They are the ones who give you acceptance, understanding, care, and safety. If that relationship your parents start building with you during your childhood is too critical or demanding, if they are too overprotective, or don’t show any signs of caring at all, it will affect your self-esteem.
There’s no self-confidence without self-acceptance, and if the ones that can make you feel accepted don’t manage to do so, it’s only natural for you to grow up with many insecurities.
Fortunately for you, and many other friends around the world, self-confidence is not related to any specific ability or lack of, and besides your parents, friends, and society can also boost your self-confidence levels. Hence, the importance of choosing the right people to be around you.
And yes, if you’re thinking that in some contexts you are quite confident and on others, you are not, that’s perfectly okay. Confidence, indeed, depends on the environment you are in. Is not the same doing a presentation for your peers than for the boss.
Now that you have an idea of where your confidence comes from, please read the following lines. They are aimed to help you built confidence.
The first step to begin an emotional journey is to build solid foundations. And to do so, you have to look deep inside you.
Once you see yourself without all that judgment, self-hatred, and fear. You can begin to forgive yourself.
You see, many people that come to me for help, build more confidence, don’t even realize how badly they think about themselves and don’t understand how much it is affecting them.
Usually, when you try to look back to the root of your insecurities, you will probably remember very specific moments where you didn’t perform as expected or did not get the positive feedback you were expecting, causing you to believe you are simply not good enough.
To change this, you will have to cultivate a “COAL attitude”, which means being curious, open, accepting, and loving toward yourself. Yes, you probably messed up, so what?
If you feel sad, humiliated, defeated. Feel so, squeeze those feelings, and notice that you are only human. You are allowed to make mistakes; you are allowed to be imperfect.
If you’re hurting, that’s just your ego talking. And of course, social pressure. But if you manage to see yourself beyond that, if you manage to get at least one good thing about a situation that made you feel insecure, you are already healing and walking towards the confident person you want to be.
Learn to Quiet Down Your Self- Criticism
Let me put you in the head of those who constantly criticize themselves:
- They wake up, feel nausea because they don’t feel ready to go to work
- Once at work, they keep it quiet, so nobody else notices them
- They check and recheck every task they do to avoid possible failures
- They rarely dare to think out of the box, much less to communicate a new idea
- Every time they are having fun, the thought of making the other person feel uncomfortable embraces them
- Their mind wanders around often, and intrusive thoughts of passed embarrassing moments appear when least expected
- If they don’t achieve it on the first try, they give up
- Pessimism is a way of life for them
- Constantly labeling themselves with negative adjectives (loser, lazy, boring, ugly, dumb)
- Sometimes they don’t even know how to accept compliments
And this is not even remotely close to what is happening outside their minds. All of those terrible thoughts, feelings, and actions are caused by their bruised ego and the inability to be gentle with themselves.
Learning to quiet down your grumpy self-critic will release you from your harmful thoughts and words, it will help you start doing new things without being scared or feeling like you will fail.
I know intrusive thoughts feel kind of “uncontrollable”, they just pop-up in your head like one of those annoying ads on YouTube. But guess what? There’s an X button for you to push, you just need to learn to see it.
If you or your relative needs some tips on how to get rid of this annoying inner critic, here are some ideas:
- Stop yourself immediately. If your inner voice says you’re a loser, tell hell no! Cut it out the second that thoughts pops-up in your head, and instead think of how cruel that is for yourself. You are not what those thoughts decide for you, and you should not tolerate them at all
- If you need help quieting them down, try to make a physical or mental list of those situations where you know you did something great. Like an exam, a poem you wrote, something you fixed or built, when you helped someone in need, and so on. The purpose of acknowledging this list is having those positive memories identified for the next time you believe you can’t do something
- Do some exercise! Produce endorphins to help you keep a good mood. Besides, seeing the positive physical results of training will make you feel more attractive, happy, and confident about your body
- Wear your best clothes. I’m not talking about wearing dresses or suits all the time, but to feel comfortable in your own clothes. It has been proven that wearing your favorite clothes improves your self-esteem, general view of yourself, and improves your work performance
- Share your joy with others. No matter how little happiness you think there’s in your life, share it with a coworker, friends, partners, or even strangers! It will help us keep in touch with others, to remind ourselves that life is nothing but good and that happiness is way better when shared
- Take small risks. You don’t dare to wear a swimsuit in public? Start by wearing it at home, and slowly approach to new experiences to overcome your fears. The trick here is to push yourself enough to get out of the comfort zone, but not so hard to make you feel guilty if you truly can’t do that new thing today, remember, quiet down your inner critic!
- Keep a self-evaluation journal. Write or type down how you are feeling and why, so when you are calmed can re-read what happened and objectively evaluate if what brought you down actually happen or just inside your head. It will help you build a stronger self and to differentiate what your insecurities are saying between the reality
The Importance Of Being Confident
I believe there’s a pop song called “What’s wrong with being confident?”, and I would like to mention that title because that’s exactly what nobody argues about anymore.
Being confident is great, it truly changes your life and the ones around you. It can even help you find a better job, a better place to live. But excessive confidence can also lead you to negative outcomes you haven’t yet considered.
For example, arrogant people don’t make friends easily, especially if the reason they are being arrogant about is mere luck instead of effort. But the real danger is starting to do new risky things just because you are sure you can make it out in good conditions, even if the evidence says otherwise.
Being confident is not about creating an illusion of control and success, is about knowing your strengths and weakness good enough to leave behind intrusive negative thoughts, fear, and shame.
People who built a negative type of confidence usually see themselves almighty, and often happen to be involved in monetary issues, constant violent outburst in public places, and having a sometimes putting their lives in danger.
It’s important for you to keep your feet on the ground, but working enough on yourself so you know that if you wanted to lift them in the air, you totally would.
AS final thought, I know not everybody has been lucky enough to have loving and caring parents, nor couples. However, there are many ways you can lose your confidence, and as many ways to get it back.
This is a long and hard emotional work, but only because you’re probably not used to search for answers inside yourself.
Once you start treating yourself with love, patience, and understanding, you start healing from the inside of all those emotional scars you have been collecting.
They may go away forever, but if they don’t, you learn to accept them and start building your new self with what you have learned.