Self-confidence is a concept that we believe to be self-evident; But many feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are installed in us and seem to be part of our personality, to such an extent that we consider them as something of our own, natural … and it is not like that, trust in oneself, is an achievement, something that we can all achieve and have, or on the contrary, we can lose self-confidence, little by little, day after day.
Do you feel identified with any of these behaviors, emotions, or thoughts? With how many of them?
I feel insecure in new social situations because I don't know what is expected of me. I tend to magnify my mistakes and minimize my successes. I am afraid of making mistakes that others might see. I do not know what I am capable of since I avoid doing things out of fear or think I will not be able to do them. I often compare myself to others. In my decisions, I care about the opinion of others more than my wishes. I get discouraged easily. I feel like my life is more challenging and demanding than anyone else's and that things happen to me more often than I can't resolve. I tend to avoid any situation if I anticipate it to be uncomfortable. I need what I show and what I do to look perfect. Criticism, disapproval, or rejection affect me and last a long time.
What weakens our self-confidence?
Do not carry out new activities and allow us to develop our capacities. Not accept us. Fear the opinion of others. Be uncompromising with our mistakes. Letting ourselves be carried away by fear and not moving forward. I am not looking for solutions to what happens to us, believing that it does not depend on us.
Change your thoughts and the way you act before things and achieve greater self-confidence.
ACTION. Carry out activities that give us the feeling of being functional, skillful, capable… The important thing is to look for them, identify them; It does not matter that in the search, we find many that resist us; we do not stay in them; we continue searching. A child with an attention deficit found it challenging to follow the classes and pass; he felt clumsy and incapable. After years of this feeling, his parents decided to investigate until they found what abilities their son had to feel capable and valid. At 17, he discovered a remarkable ability to play the guitar; he formed a group ... he feels safe, and no one doubts the security that he transmits on stage. This has helped him improve in his studies. ARRANGEMENT. Regulate the need for approval from others. Think correctly about the expectations that others have of us without overvaluing or fearing them. When she goes out with her friends or in the office, Ana is always aware of others: –They expect me to be funny, safe…, but they will think that I am clumsy and dull… I am sure I have done it wrong, my colleagues will put aside– Nothing like that had ever happened, but she felt more and more insecure. She now knows that her fears are not genuine just because she has them; she is focused on enjoying what she makes of her and has stopped trying to "guess" what others think or expect. ACCEPTANCE. Adjust our perfectionism. Not be afraid of making mistakes, of making mistakes. Thinking that we are not perfect and that this is "normal." That the commitment is with us or ourselves, and is, do the best we can. When I teach, either to male or female students or to company managers, I am not afraid of being wrong or not knowing an answer, I do not pretend to be perfect; my goal is to connect and communicate in the best possible way what is valuable and valuable to my interlocutors. Not being afraid of failure has a positive effect. It makes me focus more and better on my work. COPING. Face your fears. The natural reaction to fear is to flee, but this does not allow us to learn and develop skills. Doing so will make us feel that we are moving forward, and we will face new fears with more and more self-confidence. Belén insisted over and over again that she was incapable of public speaking. She had said to herself so many times, "I can't," that she had avoided every opportunity to check how she was doing. One day she was forced by work reasons to make a presentation. She asked me to help her deal with the situation. After a few sessions, I asked her to present the presentation to me when I saw that she was comfortable. Although I have to say that she hoped she didn't do it wrong, she was shocked to see the ability and skill that she displayed. Every time she has the opportunity to speak in public, she has lost her fear and increasingly develops her communication skills, and she feels more confident in herself.
We always talk about the importance of working on self-esteem, and we have even recognized in ourselves some – or many – features of the imposter syndrome, but in general, we do not pay the attention that self-confidence deserves. Yes, at first, it might seem the same as self-esteem, and they do have points in common, but in reality, they are not the same issue. Self-confidence has to do with our perception of our capabilities, how much we believe we are capable of, and the security that we show in ourselves; therefore, having high or low confidence can affect our work or academic performance, as well as the achievement of our goals or objectives. The psychologist Mariló Pérez García, from Grupo Laberinto, gives us the keys to identify if this is our case and the guidelines – with an illustrated guide – to improve in this regard.
How is self-confidence different from self-esteem?
As we have already drawn at the beginning, they are not the same, although they are usually related to each other. As the psychologist explains, “self-esteem has to do with the assessment that a person makes of himself, encompasses all areas of life and is related to the image we form of ourselves and the degree to which we recognize and accept our strengths and weaknesses. Meanwhile, self-confidence consists in the appreciation that we have of our abilities to achieve a goal and achieve success in a given context”. In short, the first “would have to do with how we value ourselves, with how we feel about ourselves, while the second would be related to what we believe we can do through our skills and abilities.”