We all want to feel the benefits of confidence, but unfortunately many of us lack self esteem. Us humans are complex beings, we all develop differently, depending on our circumstances and upbringing. Even with that being the case, why are some of us far more self-confident than others?
Confidence is something that can be taught and something that can be knocked out of us. Our character has an influence on this too. When we’re born, our mind is pretty much a clean sheet, but we do have different character traits, which are most likely inherited.
These inherited traits and what we experience in our early years, have a huge influence on our level of confidence as we grow up. I remember when I was my first year of infant’s school, there were a pair of twin girls who seemed like teacher’s favorite. When talking to the teacher in class, they would address her as “teacher”. On one occasion, I did the same but got a telling off for not addressing he by her name! As a 5 year old, my mind interpreted this to mean I was of less worth than the twins and it knocked my confidence of speaking up again.
The Importance of Self-Confidence in Life
Any knock of confidence in early life can have a long-lasting effect and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Of course, from time to time young children need to be disciplined because that’s how they learn to be a decent and responsible person. If it’s not done in the right way, it can either have the opposite effect, damaging confidence, or creating a rebel who becomes difficult to control.
When self-confidence is encouraged, it makes for a better all-round person. Self-confident people are normally happy because they know they are worthy and good. They can take what life throws at them. When a rejection comes along, and it will at some point, it’s easier to take because one of the benefits of confidence is that you’re able to separate you own ability from the rejection.
Having faith in your ability and worthiness also means you’ll suffer less anxiety. You’ll be confident in handling a situation, so you won’t have any doubt in your ability to do so. This means there’s less chance of feeling anxious. It also means you’re more likely to take risks, so you’ll find more opportunities. There’s no room for insecurity or jealously, both of which can seriously hold you back.
One of the most cited papers on self-confidence is from Bènabou & Tirole 2002, which says it’s simply, believing in oneself. This can take different forms, because it’s usual to be confident in some areas, but not others. To have confidence in all areas of your life would be unusual, but having some in one or more areas can contribute to you being a confident person.
Your self-image has much to do with your confidence and your quality of life is reflected by that self-image. What you think about yourself, will create your life. To quote Earl Nightingale: “We become what we think about.” Our confidence has very much to do with all aspects of our life and the quality of it.
Confidence needs nurturing and building. We can work on different areas of our life. For example, if you want to be more confident at driving, you might sign-up for an advanced driver’s course or at least study a book on better driving and get out there and practice. As your driving improves, your confidence builds, and you get better at it. This might lead to you gaining enough confidence to teach others, which in turn, makes you a more confident person.
How to Increase Your Confidence
The former world No. 1 tennis player, Stan Smith famously said, “Experience tells you what to do, confidence allows you to do it.” Lack of confidence doesn’t mean you don’t have any at all. Take an honest look at yourself. Think about areas of your life where you are comfortable because it’s likely you’ll have some confidence in those areas. It doesn’t matter if it’s one area or ten, the fact is, when you see some confidence, you’ll feel it too.
Look at the areas where you lack confidence and ask yourself why it’s so. Often, the reason is because of something that happened in the past and is no longer relevant. It’s so important to understand this. Use affirmations for self-acceptance and to develop belief in yourself. This will help your self-image and more confidence should flow from this.
Acknowledge positives about yourself. Make a list of your strengths and any achievements you’ve had. We often overlook these when we feel a lack of confidence, but they are important to feeling positive. As the old song says: Accentuate the Positive, because positive feelings send a clear message to the subconscious and it can be a confidence builder.
Embracing the Benefits of Confidence
Belief plays a big part in this, Roosevelt said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” He was right, working on what you believe, will help. It takes time to change your beliefs, but continually working at it with repetition is how to achieve it. Celebrate small wins along the way, they’re important confidence boosters and they all add up!
Commit to learning in any area where you need more knowledge to improve a skill. Knowledge is power, but it also helps to give confidence because it provides a solid base to work from. If you combine new knowledge with a change in beliefs, then you end up with a powerful way to boost confidence. As it grows, don’t let it slip, expect the best from yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself.
As the confidence begins to slowly grow, you can encourage yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. This is both scary and liberating, but once you prove you can do it, your confidence levels should go up considerably. Affirmations, visualizations, positive thinking and all the other Law of Attraction exercises will put you on a new-found path but to really feel the benefits of confidence you must increase it by believing and taking appropriate action.