What is Confidence?
We can have confidence in ourselves or someone else.
Self confidence is belief and trust in ourselves and our abilities.
We feel confident when we feel comfortable in a situation or about an experience, or in the impending face of new experiences. It's the knowledge that we will come out the other side at an acceptable level or result for us.
It can sometimes be confusing to an outside person because confidence can be misguided. For example with arrogance - people may appear to have more confidence than they really have. It is a cover and a pretence. This can give an impression of confidence when in fact it is lacking. We therefore cannot judge someone else's confidence by their behaviour and actions - as conversely, often a person may be good at something but lack the confidence. This therefore tells us that results are not the guide for confidence level.
Our feeling of confidence can depend on what state we are in - because our state determines which part of our mind we are using.
We have our rational mind - that processes intellectually and logically - using past experiences, facts and planning. We have intuitive thinking which is the balance between rational thinking and emotional thinking, and this deals with arrangement.
Then we have the emotional thinking - where reason and logic is difficult, as only emotions are used to make decisions. This is very reactive and tells us how we are really doing - at our core - our core psychological needs.
How do we gain confidence to become a confident person?
We can become a confident person. It is possible to improve it to such an extent that it becomes part of our identity.
Confidence can be learned. It can become instilled in us from an early age - we can start to build it up through our parents - their actions and reactions. Then, as our life expands to a larger network - eg teachers and peers - it can grow. However, unfortunately, the reverse is also true and we can lose confidence through the actions and reactions of ourselves, our family, peers and network.
We may wonder how much is naturally within us and how much the confidence is learnt. It is certainly safe to say that as a child our upbringing can help us to learn thing like confidence. Regardless, it is always something we can learn and improve. For example it starts as a baby - for example how confident are we that if we cry we will get attention. The more we do it, and the more we get the result we require, the more confident we become in the result.
So confidence can grow. It can grow from external sources and we can grow it from internally. It is ideal when we can internalise it. That means we only need to rely on ourselves for our own confidence.
As humans we like surety and certainty. So when we come across something new or something we feel (predict) we aren't good at we are therefore unsure about our certainty - it is not certain for us. New situations can create doubt and fear when you don't have confidence.
When we have generalised confidence in our selves we can use transference to feel confident in new situations. For example when we have learnt to feel confident in new situations then when approaching any new situation our predicted and primed confidence starts at a higher level.
We need to look at our expectations - the truth is that nothing will be perfect. When we are striving for perfection we will always be able to see 'lack' and failure. So our expectation and assessment is vital. We therefore need to decide what is an acceptable level or standard to us.
Repeated exposure or longevity in a situation can enhance your ability. We need these new situations and experiences in order to learn how to adapt and then our ability to cope is enhanced. It is this exposure that leads us to the repetition and our practice of it. However as mentioned above - our expectations, assessment and review is vital.
Our emotional state can affect our confidence at any particular moment. We may find our confidence wobbles more when we have a high emotional attachment to the outcome. Additionally, for example, if we only feel we get one chance and we won't be able to practice it or repeat it to improve. Often in this situation - for example a speech or an exam - we create our own practices before hand.
If we are in a 'fun' state we may find that our expectations change - the outcome isn't the be all and end all. We aren't doing it for the outcome. We are doing it for the experience.
Steps to growing your confidence
1. Awareness - we know we want to grow our confidence. What areas do we want to grow it in - try and get specific. Also be aware of areas where confidence already exists.
2. Review - when things haven't gone 'right' we need to get back on track. Many falter at this step. Without review and conscious awareness of how we would like it to go we are stuck - stuck in a pattern - that doesn't allow for improvement. Break it down into smaller steps and reassess each step. So, when things don't go to plan - review and re-plan and practice until it starts to go 'right'.
At first, part of our review may be outside- external references. Sometimes we rely on our internal assessment and we may find we are being biased. Also be aware of biased judgement from others. Once we know our own review is valid and fair then we can begin to bring it internally.
3. Action and Repetition - action leads us to reduce the worry about how we will fare in a situation, because when we do it enough times - successfully - it creates a new belief. A belief that says we can do this, we can succeed. However the sure way to improve is to repeat and repeat. Action, review, repeat - continually.
Confidence is our trust in ourselves. We can have built up confidence from young but if not it is never too late. We can improve by assessing - without bias - how we fared in a situation. We may need to adapt our expectations. However once we have assessed how we'd like it to go we can try it again until we get better and closer to our new expectations.