Before we continue our journey to change, it is always good to know what you really are deep inside. By understanding your true personality, will you then be able to get to the root of the problems and find remedies to hasten the speed of your confidence building.
Assessing Your Current Level of Confidence
Other than considering the abovementioned factors possessed by a confident person, there are several ways you can go about learning about yourself.
When faced with an issue, do you:
- Feel calm and ready to take on the situation?
- Feel able to deal with it with drive and determination?
- Have a positive mindset?
- Accept change and criticism?
- Have motivation to work and a zest for learning?
These are general experiences felt by people when put in an unfamiliar situation. If your answer is a big YES! to all, then you are already what people would consider a confident person. Influence those around you to help make them think and act more confidently, as this would help you and your peers to develop a more confident and trusting personality and relationship. If your answer is No, take note of what and why your answer is so. Identify these areas and work out ways to improve them. From there, you can gauge your level of confidence and recognize areas that need change.
Alternatively, try out the worksheet attached that provides a general guide to assessing your level of confidence. Put a tick in the boxes you feel best describes you and remember to be honest!
The worksheet gives you a gauge of what your current level of confidence is. By being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, you should then think of why they are so and how you can improve on them. The following chapters will discuss ways that will help you boost your confidence.
Identifying the Factors that Contribute to the Current Level of Confidence
You have to be honest with yourself if you are serious about increasing your level of confidence. Simple acts of taking a piece of paper and noting down factors that are related to you will help in giving you a clear picture of what you are and why you behave this way. List down factors that affect the way you behave, or a set of strengths and weaknesses to enhance the way you understand yourself.
A simple exercise is demonstrated in the worksheet attached that can help you find out your strengths and weaknesses.
To better understand yourself, you should consider the environment around you. Do not try to find fault with others, as it does not help in the understanding about yourself. Holding others responsible for an event limits the way you view things and optimistic people around would not like to be part of your life. Successful people look past this and think of ways they can improve on a situation instead.
Consider your closest relations- Your family. They play a vital role in determining who you are and help to shape your character. Are they your pillar of strength you turn to when you need them? Your family should provide you with the support you need and they affect how much you value yourself. Criticisms and encouragement given by them have large effects on how one judges himself. Were they over critical of you or did they not display any signs of affection at all? All these contribute to the way one views himself and how he wants others to see him. Were they said when Father was having a bad day at work? Did Mother really mean it when she said that? Question yourself to see if all things said and experienced were fair before concluding your self-worth. From here, you can gradually draw reasons why this has affected your level of confidence.
Your friends and colleagues also greatly influence your level of self esteem. Approval from them indicates that they hold you in regard and ascertains that what you are doing is good. Through feedback and other personal experiences, you will be able to recognize reasons that lead up to the way you judge yourself. The best way to making change is being aware of what you need to change.
There can be many reasons why these factors contribute to your current level of confidence. List them down so that you will be able to track why and how they can be managed. Understanding them would better allow you to tackle and resolve issues related. You need to take the correct approach suitable for yourself so that you can go on to increase your self esteem and be more assertive of yourself.
Now that you have established reasons behind your current level of confidence, you should come up with ways to manage them. Be clear of your strengths and weaknesses and keep them updated.
It is good to be honest and share your thoughts and expectations with others around you. Gather advice and solutions from people regarding issues that you found you have, and see if they can help you especially if they are part of it. Advice and feedback from others play an integral part of your confidence building process. Ask yourself and others what you are good at and what you should do more or less of etc. It allows you to discover qualities about yourself you never knew existed and may even encourage you to take a particular approach to getting what you want.
Having understood yourself better allows you to narrow down key areas that you need to change. Also, looking forward to what you want to achieve at the end helps you to plan your journey there effectively.
Confidence involves knowing what you want and being sure that you can get there. Visualize the end the end result so that you know what contributes to that end is. Are you satisfied with it? What has helped you achieve that? Uncovering these details assist you on your way there, enabling you to be more certain about how you can achieve that result. Now, all you need is to prepare to take that big step and work towards your goal.
So you understand yourself better now. It is time to figure out how you can overcome your fears or improve on your weaknesses. By doing so, you will feel more assured of your abilities and be motivated to work towards changes that are for the better.
Factors Leading to Low Self-Confidence
There are many reasons that contribute to a low level of self-esteem and outlook on life, and some are discussed below:
Societal factors such as pressure to look good can be one of the reasons for having little confidence in a person. A person’s appearance affects how one feels about himself and he has to be able to manage that effectively. News and media constantly flood people’s minds about looking and maintaining a good image, and has the glamour to go along with it. People have become increasingly aware of ways to look good, and are influenced by what they see around them. Such pressure gives those that feel that they are not as good as models or celebrities a sense of inferiority. It is important to understand that one cannot be too superficial. Do not mull over your figure or the way you look, but work on them by getting good exercise and a healthy diet instead. You are in control of yourself. As you put in effort or seek help to achieve a desired look, you will gradually be able to develop a greater sense of satisfaction and respect for yourself.
Another reason why one has a low level of confidence could be due to him having emotional problems. For instance, relationship problems with family and friends can cause him to have a particular outlook on life. Going through childhood without a parent may cause the person to live life with a sense of emptiness and inner vacuum. He may try to replace that with another figure he wished he had, who may not end up being that ideal after all. Thus, it affects how he works and leads his life. He may not feel that wanted or rely on an unreliable source to judge him, causing him to develop a low sense of self worth. This may wind up being part of a vicious cycle, for example: Having emotional problems may lead to a person eating or drinking away his sorrows, causing them to put on weight or look more haggard. Then, this adds on to the list of problems leading to a person’s low self confidence as he does not look good.
Past and present experiences also shape the way one judges himself. Having been hurt or fearing something to happen again affects how one sees others and himself. It may cause the person to question himself about everything related and undermine his own level of self-confidence. In other words, he is his own inner demon. As discussed previously, having an inner sense of self worth is essential, and one cannot let what they have been through lower the way he holds himself in regard.
An emotional related issue could also be the person’s natural personality. The term “people pleaser” is commonly used to describe a person who is inclined to giving in to people, making them happy, and fulfilling their needs. In other words, making them feel pleased. They put others before them and feel bad to say “No”, as they want to be liked or are afraid of what people might think otherwise. As such, they try to balance everything and everyone else’s needs, and are disheartened when they are not able to get their desired results, whether or not they are realistic. This puts increased pressure on the person, causing him to not feel satisfied and happy with himself. It is obvious that this would then greatly affect the person’s view of how he is worth.
There may also be work related issues that affect a person’s outlook on life. They range from bosses giving work pressure to an individual, to low sales figures that de-motivate a person, and even to competition from peers that makes the person uncertain about his own abilities. The individual then questions himself and worries about not being as good as others.
All of the reasons mentioned above are interlinked in many cases. One reason may be the cause of another to develop, or may simply magnify the seriousness of a case. This list of factors however is not exhaustive, so you need to know and identify what is relevant to you and how it affects your level of confidence.
Overcoming the Demon Inside Of You
Besides feeling a sense of insecurity and uncertainty, low self esteem is often associated with emotions like anger (being unable to achieve something you want badly), denial (refusal to believe that it is impossible or that things did not turn out the way you wished it did), guilt (disappointment in failing to achieve something for someone) or sadness.
Such feelings are common and you must be willing to allow that to happen before progress can take place. As we all know, life has its ups and downs. But the trick to enjoying and finding happiness in life is being able to overlook them and progress from there. Having a positive mindset enables you to take things lightly, accept changes and develop a strong sense of confidence in yourself.
Before embarking on the next chapter to build up your confidence, work towards overcoming the obstacles in front of you first. Some common problems that need to be tackled are:
- Constantly finding excuses and someone to blame when something does not turn out right.
- Relationships with family negatively affects the way one judges himself.
- Strained relations with others and refusal to improve them
- Past experiences that remind the individual that he is of a particular nature.
- Avoid finding excuses and reasons for your disappointment or failure.
Shift away from that mindset and do everything you can to create a positive change. Focus instead on what you want to happen and how it is possible to achieve that. Adopting a proactive approach rather than a reactive one would be more effective as you would not be caught in a situation unguarded. Being aware of yourself and the circumstances, and being able to adapt easily to changes are necessary traits that make up a confident individual.
Also, the role you have in your family determines who you are. Whatever criticisms given by your loved ones when you were young could have scarred you deeply. You must be aware that what said at age 12 might not still apply to you years later. You could have outgrown or learnt from that mistake, as you have been taught to be more aware of it at the start. Therefore, avoid bringing that inner voice inside of you into your later years. Do not let those thoughts haunt you and affect the way you judge yourself. Let those inner voices go and accept that you have changed over the years. If you remain unsure about that, talk to your family now, your friends and colleagues to seek their opinion on them. It is important that you do not allow past experiences affect the way you see yourself or the relationship you have with your family.
If you are experiencing a strained relationship or hope to improve one with your friends or colleagues, you can try to work it out by organizing your thoughts and listing out your current situation and comparing it to the end results you hope to have. Describe your thoughts and feelings towards that person, and fully understand the circumstances that have led you to think this way. Then, think of what type of relationship you wish to have had this strain not existed. Identify the ways and sacrifices that both sides would have to make to develop an amicable relationship. Envisage this new situation and the feelings you would want to experience. Now, commit to improving this relationship. Constantly push yourself and encourage the other party to do the same as you believe that it will help the both of you. Small moves like these influences the way you feel about yourself and others. They give you more faith and trust and make you more satisfied with life.
Allow past experiences to make you tougher and more resilient for other obstacles ahead. They may actually help to provide you with the strength needed to advance forward, as you have already gone through the same experience before. As such, embrace these experiences fully, be it good or bad. List them out and come up with ways you can apply them in the future.
You can come up with a list that looks similar to the one attached in the workbook. It enables you to see things with a positive view, as you work your way out to turn bad experiences into good ones for the future, and good experiences into something you can model after next time.
The above mentioned are some techniques you can use to help control the demon inside that prevents you from being that confident person. Use the approach that is most relevant and suitable for you and find other ways that will help you develop a greater sense of confidence. By clearing that stumbling block out of your way, you will then be ready to build up your confidence now!