We live in challenging times, how’s your self confidence holding up? Let’s face it, maintaining your personal confidence when life is relatively normal can be challenging enough. But when we are confronted by unexpected challenges, it can be very difficult to avoid giving in to self-doubt and uncertainty.
When we feel confident, it makes us more resourceful. Challenges seem less threatening and have much less impact on our sense of security. Take away our self confidence and we become unsteady in our ability to make decisions and take action. Do you have enough confidence in your own abilities to meet challenges head on without giving way to doubt and fear?
How much confidence is realistic?
In all areas of life, balance is always the key, the same is true with confident we feel. With that in mind, let me ask you a question. Do you think that it’s possible to have a realistic, balanced view of one’s own abilities and still have enough self confidence to see you through unexpected challenges? Is it okay to think about building exceptional self confidence in your abilities?
Many people wrestle with the line between reality and fantasy when it comes to feeling confident. This works two ways. A person who feels that they have no real abilities is not being realistic, but neither is a person who believes that they can fly. While I know for a fact that most people are capable of amazing things, I also know that gravity cannot by overpowered by confidence. That’s just not realistic.
Self confidence is personal
Short of flying, I know from personal experience that we are all capable of doing many things that are thought to be impossible by most people. The point is, popular opinion is not an accurate way to measure the upward limits of human potential or your own abilities. So please, do not allow the limiting beliefs of others to influence you.
Remember, self confidence is an inner feeling of certainty about what we have to offer, and what we are capable of accomplishing. It has absolutely nothing to do with what anybody else thinks. No matter what our abilities, some will believe in us and some will not. Your personal confidence is about what you believe; it is your personal perception that’s important.
Self confidence is empowering
Self confidence is a form of personal empowerment. It gives us a sense of certainty in our ability to bring about a favorable outcome. As a result, we have the energy to pursue our dreams and the personal power to overcome obstacles. But it also changes how others view us.
When you carry yourself with confidence, people are naturally attracted to that quality. When they sense your confidence in yourself, others tend to be confident in you as well. When you speak and act with conviction, it changes the way the way the world responds to you. This response creates opportunities that would not have existed otherwise.
Self confidence is the opposite of doubt
When people doubt their abilities it creates a very limiting dynamic. Many people are afraid to go for the life they truly desire. Lacking self-confidence they fear failure, worse yet, they actually anticipate it. Their lack of confidence stifles their willingness to reach out for their dreams.
These feelings of doubt and inability will also change the way others see them. It is easy to sense when somebody doubts their self. Even if their words don’t give them away, we can feel it on a subconscious level. It’s very hard to put confidence in someone who doubts their own ability. This means that they will not be exposed to the same opportunities as someone who radiates confidence.
What influences how confident you feel?
Self-confidence is influenced by several factors. Identifying these factors will allow us to use a variety of approaches to build exceptional confidence from every angle. Here are seven things that exert a strong influence on your sense of self-confidence:
1) Self-esteem. In a general way, self-confidence is influenced by self-esteem. Feelings of worthlessness (low self-esteem) will have a limiting effect on overall self-confidence. However, you can still experience high levels of self-confidence in specific areas in which you excel. On the other hand, a healthy self esteem makes it much easier to feel confident about your abilities in all areas of life.
2) Past results. If we have a record of producing our intended result in any area, we will be inclined to feel confident in our ability to duplicate that success. However, if we have tried and failed repeatedly, it will be difficult to feel confident in our ability to succeed. So, confidence tends to grow or shrink based on the results we produce.
3) External feedback. When the people around you, especially those you respect, express confidence in your abilities it really boosts your self-confidence. The same thing can happen when you see a peer, or even someone less qualified, accomplish something you want to do. This can create an attitude of: “If they can do it, I can do it.” It may not seem like much of an influence, but this kind of attitude has given people the confidence to accomplish things they never would have attempted otherwise.
4) Body Language. You may be thinking that your body language only affects the way other people perceive you, but there is actually more to it. Your body language, including your posture, gestures, facial expressions, gait, and attentiveness, all send powerful signals to your own nervous system. Every attitude and mood has corresponding body language, including feelings of confidence. If your body is sending signals to your nervous system that correspond to personal confidence, your attitude will adjust to harmonize with those signals.
5) Speech. Besides body language, what usually alerts you to the confidence level of another person? It’s what they say, and how they say it. There is a huge difference in the speech of those with exceptional confidence when compared to those plagued with self-doubt. Like body language, your speech also sends powerful signals to your nervous system. Your speech has a direct influence on your level of self confidence.
6) Self talk. This is the communication that no one else sees or hears. Self talk is what composes those silent conversations we have with ourselves. Little internal phrases like: “All right, way to go” tell our nervous system that we approve. Other phrases like: “You idiot, what’s your problem” send a completely different message. We can use self talk to build up our self confidence or to tear it apart.
7) Expectation. Whether or not we feel confident about our own abilities is directly influenced by the expectations we put on ourselves. If we expect to excel at some extremely difficult task the first time we try it, we could be setting ourselves up for failure. Do this too often and your confidence will take a beating. If we have more reasonable expectations and experience success, our confidence will grow. This is an area where balance is vital.
The benefits of self confidence
Learning to develop and display exceptional self confidence will change your life on every level. Personal confidence is like a powerful magnet. When you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, you attract new opportunities, resources, and people into your life. You will find ways to open whatever doors are needed to create the life you truly desire.
We have taken a close look at what confidence is, some of the things that influence it, and how it can change our lives. In future articles we will look at each of those influential areas and consider some practical ways to minimize self-doubt and build exceptional self confidence.
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