Self Confidence: Definition, Examples, and Strategies for More Confidence
Do you feel down on yourself, not good enough, or not "enter word here" enough? Self confidence helps us learn how to like ourselves for exactly who we are. And here's a few tricks.
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What Is Self-Confidence?
Self confidence is when we feel good about ourselves and who we are — we have positive outlook on ourselves. Self confidence arises from the general beliefs we have about ourselves being good, worthwhile human beings. For example, you may feel that, deep down, you are deserving of being treated kindly by others and having success in your career pursuits. These positive self beliefs are integral to your independent functioning and affect how you relate to others.
Why Is It Important to Be Self-Confident?
Having self confidence helps guide your behavior in ways that enable you to live a more supportive, fulfilling life. When you feel badly about yourself, you unconsciously create situations that prove you right — you're no good after all — and you decrease the likelihood that you will achieve the happiness that you seek.
For example, you may feel like you are not good enough for a good relationship, a good job, or financial stability, so you stop pursuing those goals with the confidence that is required to reach them. You accidentally let your negative self-concept limit the amount of happiness and success you can experience. This is why working on improving your self confidence is so important. If you believe you can manifest your dreams, you'll act in ways that help you actually manifest those dreams.
So, how do you build self confidence?
Here's a video to learn more about what confidence means
How to Build Self-Confidence
Two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Self-efficacy is about how much we believe we can master skills and achieve our goals. Usually we build this skill and become more confident in this way by actually pursuing goals, putting in hard work, and discovering that we can indeed succeed even in the face of challenges. We just have to practice.
Self-esteem is the more general sense that we are good, worthwhile human beings. We can build our confidence in this way be focusing on emotional skills—for example, what is good about us, building self-compassion, and practicing acceptance.
Strategies for Building Self-Confidence
1. Use Activities to Grow Self-Compassion
We are often our own worst critics. By developing self-compassion, we learn how to treat ourselves more kindly. As a result, we feel better and can develop more confidence. Here are some activities that can help:
2. Master Something Challenging
When we do things that are hard and stick to them, we actually build our self-confidence. For example, maybe we decide to start that business we've always wanted to start. It wont be easy, but by giving it a go we unconsciously communicate to ourselves, "Yes! I believe in you!" and we give ourselves a confidence boost.
3. Have a Positive Impact on the World
Another way to boost confidence is to do something that has a positive impact on the world. When we see that we really can affect people positively, it makes us feel all warm and gooey inside. And this kind of confidence is more enduring that simply seeking the approval of others.
Confidence is not always the easiest skill to build. But my working on it, we actually can grow and improve our self-worth and feel better about ourselves as a result.
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.