We all go through life either being over-confident, confident, lacking somewhat in confidence or completely lacking in confidence. So, what is confidence, and can we learn to be confident?
Confidence for me is, having total faith in ourselves, it is an acceptance of ourselves and who we are, a belief and trust in our abilities, our skills and our talents, that we are competent at what we do and there is a knowingness that we will succeed however, whatever, eventually at some point if not now. It is an unwavering faith in ourselves and an inner knowing that we will overcome any challenges or problems life throws at us. It is a state of mind.
Listen to what I said above again, “Confidence Is a State of Mind.” What I mean by that is that it is possible to visual ourselves being confident or we can with equal measure, visualise ourselves as not being confident. We don´t always realise, but we constantly visualise throughout the day as we go about doing our work, jobs etc. We visualise in a way that uplifts us or drags us down. It makes us feel either positive or negative. We are the only ones responsible for how we feel, our emotional state and we can turn up the volume or turn it down to help us feel better.
Most of the time we don’t even realise that we´re visualising or that we are responsible for what we do. Think of some of the things we say, especially children when they´re arguing with each other say things like, “You made me do that.” The other person is totally unaware that they have “made” you do anything because they are too busy in their little world, worrying about their life and who did something to them, or not!
We so often go through life saying things which are disempowering without even realising it and our energy feels low as a consequence. Lots of us say, “I just want to be confident,” – all the time. If that were the case and we were confident all the time, imagine how in certain situations it wouldn’t always be very helpful and could actually get us into hot water. For example, what if you were so overly-confident that you decided you could walk across three lanes of motorway blindfolded. Personally, I don’t think you´d make it over the first lane. I´d call this automatic, over-confident, arrogant even or simply downright stupid as well as not being a very good role model for others.
It´s far better to be realistic and pick a specific time, place when you would like to have more confidence. For example, how about wanting to have more confidence when you have to attend a parents evening with your child. Instead of sitting there feeling like a victim, shoulders slouched, eyes lowered, muttering platitudes about your child and their so-called failures, do something different to help you feel more confident. It isn’t easy always because it´s almost as if you´ve been transported back to your own school years and you start to feel as if it´s you who hasn’t done your homework!
Just by sitting straighter on your chair, hands folded in your lap and your gaze on the teacher, listening concentratedly will help you feel more confident and them feel as if you really are paying attention to what their saying. I just hope you´ve brought an apple with you for them lol!
Doubt is the opposite of confidence, doubt in self especially, and to get to being confident, we need to learn and can, especially if we weren’t helped and supported to become confident as children or we experienced a traumatic childhood as I did. We learn from others how to think about ourselves and confidence comes from the experiences we´ve had and how we deal with those experiences. To become confident, we need to keep on learning.
A lack of confidence tends to manifest itself in subtle ways, it can be the slight hand-movement that gives us away, or worse, a shaking hand, our stomach feels sick with nerves or we start to get a headache or even a migraine. We might even need to have a quick drink to calm our nerves especially in a situation which we aren’t used to, or we start to overeat. Not the best solution because it can, if left over time, lead us to having a drink or eating problem. Or we start to smoke to compensate, all of which aren´t healthy ways of coping.
By drinking, smoking or overeating repeatedly we end up forming neural pathways which are hard to eradicate without some form of intervention by ourselves or someone else, meaning, we´ve formed a habit which is hard to break out of. So, instead of travelling down that road, it´s much easier to tackle the problem of becoming more confident!
A lack of confidence is fear of the unknown, a lack of self-esteem, it´s about poor time-management, unpreparedness, not leaning into yourself and trusting your intuition.
Remember this, confidence is silent, and insecurities are loud. Confidence is sexy, silent, key, attractive, is sometimes overrated. It can be high or low, it is a state of mind and a skill to be learnt so why not try? When you´re looking at yourself in the bedroom mirror, straighten your back, give yourself a wink and say out loud, “well look at you, don´t you look confident today?” That´s because you are.
Transformational Coach & Writer helping professional women to Live Life Freely