I preach and teach about confidence every single day because I know the difference it makes and where it can take you. When I talk about confidence and building confidence, I encounter a lot of the same misconceptions.
One common misconception is that confidence is something that just happens. It’s something you’re born with and you either have it or you don’t. Like red hair.
Confidence isn’t something you just have. It doesn’t pop out of thin air and it isn’t something you’re necessarily born with. Sure, there are people, even young kids that exhibit a confidence, and outgoingness that seems innate, especially when it manifests at such a young age. BUT the reality is that while some people may be prone to natural confidences, particularly in social situations, NO ONE IS 100% CONFIDENT AND it doesn’t come from nothing.
What you may not see is how and where this confidence, even in small children, is fostered and nurtured. Because that is ultimately what it takes for ALL of us to be confident, in ourselves and in various practices, whether social, professional, romantic, etc.
According to licensed psychotherapist Rameya Shanmugavelayutham, LCSW, “Self-confidence comes from the information and ideas we take in through the world that support a positive perspective about ourselves. Often, we enter into the world with an abundance of self-confidence. Consider the young child who feels confident taking risks like jumping off the swings or dances without a care in front of a crowd. When a young child is affirmed and encouraged, they strengthen their sense of self and begin to hold cognitive schemas that confirm they are worthy, valuable, beautiful, intelligent, etc.”
In this way, we could all use a reminder to be a bit of a kid again. We simply need to spot the budding confidence that’s already there within us, or plant the seed, and nurture it.
As much as no one is 100% confident, social confidence and an outgoing nature is not the only TYPE of confidence either: another misconception. People can be confident in different ways and in different situations. You may be terrified of public speaking, but would be fine to do a dance number on a stage in front of a crowd just as big. You may find it easy to talk to new people in sales calls, but words fail you while on a date. You may have confidence in OTHERS, the strength to delegate and wholly rely on others to complete something for you or help you, then fully accepting the natural liability that comes along with this, and yet you lack confidence in yourself, to give yourself that same trust and benefit of the doubt.
People like to chalk it all up to self-esteem and that’s part of it. But confidence is more than that. It’s more than meets the eye. What you see isn’t even always genuine confidence, but a front. And what confidence really means and when it is most genuine and impactful is when it comes to trusting yourself.
In a big way, that’s what it boils down to beyond all other definitions: trust in yourself.
This self-trust in your skills, in your choices, in your values… It makes your life easier. No longer are you tippy-toeing through life, walking on eggshells. Rather, you stride, strongly, on the path you choose because you know it’s right for you, and you can trust in where you firmly place your feet with each step.
This comes from within. You can’t get this from anyone else. You have to find ways to push yourself outside your comfort zone and find ways to foster this trust. It feels like an inner knowing of your strengths and weaknesses, while still thinking positively about yourself.
That means getting real with yourself. Acknowledging and owning your flaws. We ALL have them. Taking off the mask… getting rid of the front I mentioned before. Because confidence is not ego.
Remember that: confidence ≠ ego.
You don’t have to be arrogant or in anybody’s face to be confident and show you have confidence. In fact, if you’re truly confident, you wouldn’t need people to think you are, and your true confidence would show.
So, I challenge you; I encourage you; I implore you: do SOMETHING to build that trust in yourself.
Take baby steps.
And do it all over again.
Think of the person you trust most in this world…
I bet you didn’t just think of yourself. Why? Let’s change that. Think about when you were a kid and would do ‘trust falls’ with your friends for fun. Or at that lame work seminar to boost productivity, morale, and to “team build.”
Do a trust fall with yourself. More Confidence