How to discover our self-confidence to face the challenges of life
Discover your Self-Confidence
"Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing I can do. Because then they will act"- Jack Welch
Author: Al Tamehi
Preface: What is self-confidence?
The word Confidence' originates from the Latin fidere, 'to trust'. Self-confidence basically means to trust and have reliance in oneself. A self-confident person is able to act on opportunities open to him, meet new challenges, control perplexing situations, and shoulder responsibility and blame if things go wrong.
Self confidence is an instrument; to manage your life, push back your inner fears, to stop doubting yourself and finally to take the positive step forward. To put it more bluntly it's a muscle you can strengthen or leave it aside to weaken.
Self confidence is not a stagnant quality which you might have inherited; it's a mindset which you can develop.
To be self- confident is to be; confident in yourself and your capabilities.
To be self-confident is to be; honest to yourself.
In this article we will explore different aspects of self-confidence and how it can affect your life. Also we will explore the mechanisms of searching, finding, and strengthening the self-confidence which is embedded in each one of us as human beings for the benefit of our personal life, our family and our community.
How to find and shape your self-confidence?
It is obvious that no one is born with natural self-confidence. However every one has the potential to create this confidence and build on it. The question is how this is done and what mechanisms are there to help.
Even well known world leaders lack self-confidence at certain times. Maintaining self-confidence at difficult times requires a belief in several fundamental principles.
Think and perform positively- Positive thinking results in positive results. So always look at the challenges of the road ahead with this mindset: "You Can and You Must". As a rule forbid yourself to any negative self thinking. Associate yourself with positive minded friends and share your thoughts with them and try to create a common bond.
Take the first step - To grow your self-confidence you should take the resolute step forward. For example say YES to a task that before you would have thought about for hours and finally declined it. These resolute steps will strengthen your self- confidence until at one point you feel a sense of "fortitude" to go forward what ever the odds in front of you. I have experienced it myself and it is one of the rare moments of life that you will never let go.
Recognize your strengths and be truthful to yourself- The inaction which I call the, "enemy inside" tries to downgrade and neglect your achievements in life. Have faith in yourself and list all your attainments in life. If you have done them once you can surely do them again.
Set commitments and milestones for yourself- This doesn't mean setting unrealistic goals. There is an oriental saying that, "deciding to lift a heavy stone means not lifting anything at all". Start with daily routine commitments. For example put aside your crunch posture, sit and walk straight with head high.
Think positively of yourself- The inaction inside you constantly replays the old tape that you are weak and good for nothing. This is a fake picture, prove it wrong once, then you can prove it wrong a 1000 times.
Do what you always wanted to do - Put aside your hesitations and simply go out and do what you have always been passionate about. Instead of following the crowd, listen to your conscious and do what YOU decide it's right. Your conscious undoubtedly tells you the truth about yourself and the world around you.
Foundations of Self-Confidence
Self-efficiency in a particular skill is the basis on which self-confidence is built on, it gives you a firm ground to hold your status in front of the challenges of life. Obviously it needs hard work. In life nothing is presented to you on a silver tray. But there are two angles of approach to this phenomenon which generate self-confidence:
Accepting a new challenge despite its difficulties and the possibility of failure.
Insistence to continue and not to give up in the face of defeat.
Self-Esteem is an essential part of your self-confidence. Self-Esteem is affected by adverse happenings in anyone's life history; such as being fired, break up of family relationship, being discriminated on the grounds of gender, color or religion, and distressing childhood. Experiences such as the separation from parents, neglect etc.
The ones affected always see the world around them as unsympathetic and cruel; therefore they are reluctant to proclaim themselves, resulting in losing the prospects in front of them. This is a dangerous descend to the point of no return. To restore your Self-Esteem there are physiological and down to earth practical ways with profound results.
Here are some examples of these practical steps:
Look at yourself positively just like others with all the abilities and values of a human being. Therefore quotes such as "I have always been a failure any way", "That's the edge of my abilities", "Every thing I do is a turns to be a failure at the end", should be your red lines and not to be trespassed.
Take care of yourself and your surroundings. Your hygiene, your dress and the tidiness of your home; they are all practical ways of reordering your life in line with looking at yourself positively.
Have healthy food in an orderly manner even if you are alone.
Physical activity works wonders. Go to the Gym and allocate time for daily exercise.
Ensure your 6 hour uninterrupted sleep.
Indulge yourself in a social or a cultural activity.
Hit the road and do what you really like doing. Don't be a conservative and take risks.
Set a commitment for yourself and take a bash at it.
Take on an education, anything which you think would be a challenge for you and with it you can upgrade yourself.
Leap out of your inner circle and open a channel to the outside world by helping others.
Get involved in group activities. Leave yourself behind and become a part of that group.
Mix with people in your surroundings and believe that all of them have had similar negative experiences in their lives just like you. Don't think that your problems are unique.
Psychology of Self-Esteem
Due to the uniqueness of self-esteem in shaping our lives, it's necessary to look into it in more depth. For example it is probable to be highly self-confident, but be low on your self-esteem. Our self-esteem is the atmosphere in which we think, feel and act. Therefore it defines our relationship to ourselves and to others around us and finally to the world.
An interesting scientific survey shows that in the West, self-esteem is equal to achievement of any sort in life, whereas in the East it is mostly based on being a good member of the family and the close neat community. In the West as long as you are successful, it's not so bad to act on your own without much attention to your group. On the opposite side of the spectrum in the East what matters is your commitment and loyalty to your group and success comes second.
Both these attitudes have their side-effects. The self-esteem which is entirely based on success creates a constant fear of failure and defeat, resulting in chase of success at all cost. However the realities of the world are not under our control and success is never guaranteed. This generates insecurity and a vulnerable self-esteem. However the Eastern attitude sternly restricts our potentials and opportunities.
People with firm and secure self-esteem are in a position to take risks, and use all their potentials to achieve their goals. They might face defeat, but this does not weaken their resolve to start again. It's worthy to mention a quotation from an ancient philosopher who said, "It's not an honor not to fall down, it's an honor to stand up again when you do fall down."
People with strong self-esteem can be defined by the following virtues:
They have respect for themselves and look after their health.
They don't need props such as drugs or alcohol.
They take care of their surroundings.
They are joyful and a pleasure to be with.
They are compassionate towards themselves and others.
They do not pursue their success by disregarding the others.
It is necessary to draw a clear line between a strong self-esteem and overconfidence or in another word, arrogance. The following answers meaningfully draw this dividing line:
The person with self-confidence would tell you: "I can".
The person with self-esteem would tell you: "I am".
The person with pride and overconfidence would tell you: "I did".
People with low or insecure self-esteem hysterically pursue a totally wrong path. Their anxiety does not change the past or the future; it only makes present wretched for them. They should look upon themselves as they really are, with all their deficiencies and failures. Only by this realistic overview they can confront their real problems and restrictions. In this path they will accept the truth and begin to love themselves.
I think the following quotation from an anonymous writer best fits in: "To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are".
Whenever we stand by our commitments, we discover our self-confidence.
Whenever we fail but know that we have done all we could, we discover our self-confidence.
Whenever we uphold the values we believe in and pay the price for it, we discover our self-confidence.
Whenever we accept the truth of ourselves and stop to live in the eyes of others, we discover our self-confidence.
To conclude, self-confidence is not inherited, it's inside every one of us, we only have to discover it. To discover and develop it we have to pay a PRICE. No one will pay this price for us; it entirely depends on our own self. Surely knowledge and a friendly hand help. However finally it is you who should decide and take the step forward.
The ancient Chinese poet and philosopher Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."