Let’s start by defining self-confidence. Self-confidence means we trust that we will follow through and do the things we say we will do, because we know we can handle any emotion that comes up. In short it means, confidence in ourselves.
There are a lot of more complex descriptions of self-confidence out there, but this one (to me) is the simplest and easiest to understand. It just means that when we say we will go for a run in the morning, we know we will actually do it. Or if we say we will eat no chocolate today, we know we will actually do it. Or if we say we will start our own business, we will not be afraid to give it our best attempt.
However, self-confidence is not about being perfect. There are times we will fail. Our relationship will fail, or we will do a webinar and get lots of critical feedback, or we will not get the job we wanted. These things can challenge our self-confidence. But if we believe we did something to the best of our ability, or we learnt something from the experience, then a “fail” does not have to minimize our self-confidence at all. In fact, part of being self-confident is knowing that it doesn’t matter if we fail, we are still a worthy and perfect human being, and we just found something that didn’t work.
What we think about ourselves is what generates this feeling of self-confidence. For example, if we think we are capable, worthy and a good person, then we will feel confident about ourselves and our ability.
The opposite of self-confidence is self-doubt. This means we doubt our ability to follow through and do the things we say we will do.
So, how do we grow our self-confidence?
The first step is to start following through on small tasks we set ourselves. This way we start building “proof” that we can (and will) do what we say we will do.
Notice that if we lack self -confidence, we may struggle to get the tasks we set for ourselves, done. In fact, these tasks will often seem hard and pointless. However, it’s what we DO that matters, not so much how we FEEL, while we are doing the thing. If we say we will walk every morning, we definitely won’t feel like it some days. But if we do it anyway, we will feel great and powerful and SELF-CONFIDENT when we are finished.
Another way to start building our self-confidence is to work on the thoughts that we have. If we become aware of the thoughts we are having when we are feeling self-confident, then we can purposefully have more of those thoughts. Likewise, if we notice what thoughts we are having when we doubt ourselves, then we can work on changing those thoughts.
We also need to start learning how to be OK with any feelings/emotions we have. For instance, if we make a speech and it isn’t great, we may feel disappointed or embarrassed. But if we understand that these emotions won’t kill us, they are just vibrations in our body. And these vibrations are caused by the thoughts we are having. Then this frees us to feel any emotion without fear. And this is what self-confidence is all about. With this attitude, we can do (or try) anything we want to, because we know that we will be OK, regardless of the result.
Finally, we need to notice how we talk about ourselves. If we are constantly saying we are useless or hopeless (to ourselves, or to others) then we will never be able to feel self-confident. We will be sabotaging ourselves before we even start.
Written by Lynda Timperley BTC, Dig Psych, Cert Life Coaching
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