Developing Self-Confidence (by G F Orr)

Feeling a sense of reliance of ones power in a given circumstance, this definition of confidence is one which many will aspire to. Confidence and indeed self-confidence is viewed as something which gives us the ability to control our lives, and enjoy the things that are happening around us. People who lack confidence often need the re-assurance of others of both their worth and that they are doing the right thing. In other words self-belief and self-confidence are very closely tied together.

Self-belief is your view of yourself and the impact you have on yourself and the wider world. The greater your self-belief is, the easier that you will find it to be confident both in the relationships that you have and the things that you do.

Of course many people wish to be confident, perhaps to feel less anxious in situations when meeting people or perhaps in talking in front of people or perhaps just as they navigate their lives. Yet most of us would admit to being less than confident in at least some aspects of out lives. For some this lack of confidence can lead to behaviours where the quality of their lives is seriously impacted. Perhaps being afraid to go out, or stopping an interest for fear of the judgement of others.

When we think about a lack of confidence, it is rarely about whether we can do something or not. Usually we know what we are to do and often have practised it. The problem is much more to do with the opinion of others or society and if they will judge it. This focusing on influencing others opinions is where the lack of confidence is. If we were to believe that only our opinion mattered and others could take it or leave it, we would be more confident. However, that is unrealistic, yet perhaps it is a starting point that if we set ourselves realistic goals about what is success for us then perhaps we can have more confidence that we can achieve it. For example if your goal was to present a subject to a room of 50 people to get universal agreement, you would not be confident. Yet if your goal was to present the subject to 50 people so that they could understand it, you could be confident of that at least. The first relies on others the second on you.

Developing this theme further we can see that there are ways in which we can improve our confidence. Small things like wearing clothes that make us comfortable and ready to face the world, smiling at others. There are other behaviours that take a little longer but improve our confidence, you should avoid or challenge catastrophic thinking. For example, “If I go to the party it’s always a complete disaster.” This black and white thinking is rarely correct, usually it is somewhere between, some things were great and others could have been better and being more realistic about the situation can help to make us more confident going into a situation.

Questioning statements like “I am unattractive”, or “I am so stupid” helps to keep us realistic and prevent our self-belief and therefore confidence being undermined.

Hopefully as you pull these threads together you will become be realistic about the real you. What you think and what you feel. As you become more confident about that it becomes easier to share that with others because you believe in yourself. Ultimately you can use that confidence to strip away the layers that you have built up over the years to appeal to others and let them see the real you with both your weaknesses and strengths, confident that you can tackle anything.

Graeme is a counsellor, writer and coach living and working in Glasgow, Scotland

Article Source: [] Developing Self-Confidence

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