As a therapist, I have the opportunity to be present with people as they move through difficult life challenges. Frequently, clients identify low self-confidence as a barrier to their progress. They describe feeling stuck, hesitant to take the risks necessary for growth. Sometimes, even not believing themselves worthy of the better life that could be waiting on the other side. Confidence breeds courage to step into the unknown.
When considering self-confidence, we might picture an individual who is bold, successful, not worrying about what anyone thinks. And this can be true. But it could just ‘look’ that way. Self-confidence is actually an inside job that’s defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgments. The Latin word fides, meaning ‘faith,’ gives us the root origin – fid. Fidelity is faith or trust. In the pursuit of confidence, it’s necessary to consider whether doubt and insecurity are born out of a lack of faith and trust in oneself. How can you trust yourself, if you aren’t seeing accurately what’s inside? This begs the question, what do you believe about yourself? And tell me, how do you know it’s true?
Self-confidence is rooted in deeply knowing yourself. So often we believe distortions we’ve learned from relationships throughout our lives, messages in society, or negative thoughts in our own minds. If we’re honest, most of us judge ourselves harshly. Perhaps people who are genuinely self-assured, enjoying the stability and contentment that assurance affords, simply have more clarity about who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, quirks and qualities. Maybe they’re more authentically honest with themselves. It’s possible that this inner-knowing serves as an anchor in facing uncharted territory, with more ease and faith.
Take a few moments to reflect on how you see yourself. Consider in what ways you may be misjudging yourself. For every negative quality, get aware of an equally true positive trait you possess. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. Work to let go of rampant self-criticism, and embrace more kindness and acceptance for all of you. By gaining a more balanced perspective, we can access the vitality and determination needed to thrive through challenges, knowing we are deserving of deep loyalty and trust.
Although a worthy goal, gaining self-confidence can seem an elusive, impossible task; something meant only for those graced with exceptional abilities, better talents, or more attractiveness. In truth, anyone can learn how to truly value and appreciate themselves.