Post #61 Good News: It is a Skill you Can Learn
You may not know, but self-confidence is a skill. Self-confidence, like any other skill, can be practiced, nurtured and dominated. Learn what self-confidence is (it is not arrogance, see Post #35), why it’s important and how you can generate more.
What is Self-Confidence?
The simplest answer is that self-confidence is your own opinion of yourself. If you holistically view your personality, habits, strengths, weaknesses, etc., what do you think of yourself? Although this is one perspective, I’d like to offer another. Self-confidence is the willingness to feel any emotion. This means you accept all the positive and the negative emotions in life. It means you can embrace whatever comes your way knowing you’re going to be okay. How could your life be different if you knowingly faced negative emotions such as fear, shame or anxiety?
Why is it Important?
You chose to go to college to learn. Learning means you are growing and challenging yourself. Prior to enrolling in college, you thought highly enough of yourself to take the challenge. By growing and challenging yourself, you are constantly evolving. Self-confidence plays a large factor in your human evolvement. It is important because it fuels your motivation and creativity. It allows you to keep pursuing challenges, to fail and to get up and try again. Self-confidence will lead you toward excellence.
The Key to Self-Confidence: Self-Care
I am recommending some steps down below to help yourself gain self-confidence. I suggest you proceed in order at your own pace. This process takes time and it looks differently for everybody. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Experiment to find what works best for you.
1. Recognize your negative self-talk. Examples include: “I could have done XYZ better…I feel stupid for XYZ…I shouldn’t feel this way…How could I have done XYZ…”
2. Put a stop to the negative self-talk (it doesn’t build self-confidence). An effective alternative is to be curious with yourself: “What was going on in my head at the time…I’m curious about why I did that…What can I learn about me…”
3. On a daily basis, acknowledge your gifts, strengths and accomplishments. Emphasize to yourself why you are great, smart and capable. It’s awkward if you’re not used to it. The point is to make it habitual and to keep finding reasons why you are a great person.
4. The more evidence you find, the more you will keep seeking.
5. When you are ready, dare yourself to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable on purpose. Examples could be to introduce yourself to a complete stranger; ask your next waiter or waitress for a free meal; ask a question in class in front of everyone. Feel discomfort on purpose – I promise you’ll get through it.
The bottom line is that self-care produces self-confidence. Emotions can never hurt you. The more you are willing to feel them, the more self-confidence you will have. You don’t have to be perfect – not even close.