As a slight divergence from normal, this is a bespoke blogpost for a friend who asked me to write one on confidence. She felt this wasn’t a subject I’d touched on in other posts, and I had to agree! I haven’t directly covered the subject of confidence. The reason I suspect is that I believe that contentment (my favourite watchword) leads to personal confidence.
So what is personal confidence? I’m choosing to use a different word than “self-confidence”, as confidence is a feeling that can make its way into all areas of your life. The idea of pure “self-confidence” might point to a feeling of internal peace and self-belief. This is clearly a good thing, but I believe personal confidence to be more than that. It’s about the feeling that as life presents itself you can tackle whatever comes your way.
Even as I type this I’m considering just what a massive area the word “confidence” covers. From body image, physical and mental ability, resilience to change. To the outward signs that others see. The head held high perhaps, a gentle swagger in the step. Being able to make eye contact with others as you pass them on the street, to return a smile maybe? It could encompass the ability to wear what you want, to feel comfortable in what you chose to represent you.
Confidence it would seem suffuses everything. So, how as my friend asked, do you build it up? In truth my friend wanted to get to 3000% confidence. This I suggested was an impossibility. That if we are to use a mathematical figure to equate the feeling of confidence, I don’t believe any of us reach 100%. I would go so far as to suggest it would be pretty fool-hardy and potentially dangerous to get to 100% confidence all of the time.
If that were the case, then you’d end up thinking you were right about everything. That whatever you tried to do would work out just as you intended. That everyone you encountered would be enamoured with you. This is clearly a nonsense. As you may have gathered by now through my other posts, I’m an optimistic realist. Therefore I am well aware that both through personal and professional experience things really don’t go as you expect them to. Hence why when I work with anxious clients I try to help them move away from planning every last detail of their life. So much time is wasted doing this as all our best laid plans always alter, if only in miniscule detail. Random chance has a lot to answer for!
Back to the question in hand, how to feel confident. I would suggest that for a good basic working model, you need to appreciate that you have the resilience, ingenuity and persistence to sort out whatever comes your way. This might be an opportunity or it might be a hinderance to be overcome. Either way if you believe you can take the time to figure it out, ask for help or I would imagine a balance (my other favourite watchword) of the two, you’ll get to a pretty good place. That sense that you can do things is “confidence”.
There will always be times that your confidence is shaken or wanes, that’s natural. However, know that you can find ways to move on and you will. Time doesn’t stand still. Whatever’s going on for you will be past at some point. Confidence comes from the belief you can make at least a small difference to the outcome of what you’re experiencing. Again this topic is Vast, with a capital V!!
You have a pretty good opportunity to affect events that you find yourself experiencing. Hopefully by aiming to be the best you can be and having a positive influence. Otherwise you’ll be turned off and just try to ride out the consequences of in-action.
To round off, as it would seem one post can’t cover off nearly enough information and insight (seems a good idea for a chapter or book!). Confidence comes and goes, however I believe you can get to a place where you have a general belief and feeling that you can do most things you want to. That you can overcome life’s challenges with some thought and assistance. Remember this and you’ll find you believe you can do things. But do use the occasional self-doubt to enable you to double check what you’re doing or about to do. You may not be too confident because you need to learn more or you just don’t really want to do the thing that’s coming up. That’ll help you evaluate if there’s a way around it or not. Either way, employ your intellect and engage with others and you’ll figure it out…
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