Have you ever heard someone saying, you have to build your self confidence? Well, trust me that is one of the most understatement of feedbacks that you have ever heard. Self Confidence is an essential virtue that everyone must have. Self Confidence provides us with one of the major psychological traits that helps us in our endeavors to accomplish what we want in our lives, that is believing yourself ;call it securing high earning jobs, marrying your high school sweet heart, being the leader you want to be in your community so for and so forth. So, what really is self-confidence, what is its difference with self efficacy and self esteem? How can someone develop self confidence & become self-confident enough? Or how can someone strengthen his/her self-confidence?
Before I embark on the journey of unfolding the steps towards developing self-confidence, it is wise to see scholars’ various definitions of self confidence & its difference with the aforementioned interrelated terms as self-efficacy and self-esteem.
One of the distinguished scholars in psychology Albert Bandura explained the term Self-efficacy as a belief which someone holds while trying to accomplish a specific task which it in turn affects positively the person with various impacts who adhere to the beliefs (Bandura, 1994).
When we come to the other contributing factor for self confidence – self esteem; Carl Rogers defined it as ‘someone’s valuation & understanding of his own worth or value (McLeod, 2013). In general, the current psychological perception of self-esteem is embedded in these tenets acceptance, evaluation, comparison & efficacy (Snyder & Lopez, 2002).
It is not without a reason that I tried to portray the definitions given by the scholars but it’s because both (self esteem & self efficacy) are the backbones of self-confidence. People acquire a feeling of self-efficacy when they experience a specific skill to the fullest or when they actually merited from that specific skill in terms of psychological, social or financial rewards. Accordingly, as a result of this people tend to develop a sense of self confidence in them as they experience such kinds of values from their capabilities and they will not hold back if problems arise, they stand firm & fight back because they know that they will come out victorious in the end. (Retrieved from: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_80.htm).
Having gone through the definitions & differences above, our next stop is how to deal with building self confidence. Building unshakable self confidence is beneficial factor in achieving life goals & purposes, so let’s go through the steps in becoming self confident together.
- Conduct preliminary assessment
Take a rigorous and careful study on yourself and make analysis whether you are self-confident or not; to help you with this, try to remember your responses or decisions while you were put under pressure, consider the moments that you have to put up with oppositions while you were attempting to accomplish what you believe in. Based on your assessment, conclude your stand as to how you are confident or not. If your evaluation about yourself is that you are not self-confident, then move on to the next steps and if your assessment provides you with the response that you are self-confident still go through with them to strengthen your confidence level.
- Spot negative inner voices
Negative Inner voices or thoughts are those voices inside your head constantly telling you that you can’t. For example, the promotion you are working so hard to get is not coming this year because someone is better than you; you don’t have what it takes to become a good musician or singer because your voice is terrible, your dream of standing in front of a crowd delivering an eloquent speech is shattered because your English is awful. Well, I have news flash for you buddy you can be what you are aspiring to be, just believe in yourself and be self-confident. The first second is identifying these negative ideas in your mind, having done that move on to the next step.
- Play with your inner negative voices
The Famous Ethiopian Athlete honorary doctor Haile Gebrselassie came out with the slogan it is possible or yechalal in its Amharic version. Well said, Haile!! So, why can’t you be self confident? Well I say nothing hinders you from achieving it, you just have to change those negative thoughts with positive ones, and for example ‘yes I can as long as I work for it’, I will try it and I will go for it’. With these positive thoughts, affirm & promote yourself.
- Spotlight positive thoughts
No matter how you are trying to block those negative thoughts, they come in to sight in our mind. We need to focus on the positive thoughts, hold on to them. It is very imperative to give due attention to them and concentrate.
- Take a good survey around you.
The people around you are very important for the building or collapse of your confidence as they help you grow up or fall down with feedbacks/criticisms and comments. People’s positive assertion of your works or results boosts your confidence, the same is true for the opposite, negative and destructive comments about you & your works tend to low your self-confidence level. The boss who constantly uplifts you, trying to capacitate you for better development & promotion by diligently commenting as to how you excel to the next level, with a tap in the back and bright smile uttering these words out his mouth Good Job, keep it up, David!! Imagine how confident you will be. What about those comments that demotivate you and diminish your confidence, you can’t accomplish it again, you can’t do this or this is undoable at all, it’s not worth your time.
So dear readers, take a moment to identify this factors that either build or smash your confidence, while you increase your exposure for the first one and as much as possible avoid disclosure to the second respectively.
- Share Experiences
Who is the most self confident person you ever know? Don’t be shy to ask his/her experience if he/she is a self-confident person. Take the experiences they confided with you and engender them according to your context, adhere to them and start practicing.
- Practice pseudo-confidence
Take a moment from your daily routines and practice pseudo confidence. Close your office, flat or be in a place where you can be alone. Consider a house full of audiences & you are a key note speaker, all the lights are on you, walk upright, chin up firmly but gently shake the hand of the host and deliver your speech with eloquence & grace. Other scenarios include dealing with physical & verbal presentation, as in the example mentioned above, create a controlled environment & practice your way of pseudo-confidence for a limited time of your day. Step by step perform this training in real life situation.
- Be familiar with your potential
What sort of things are you good with? What do you think you can achieve most? Once you filtered your environment as illustrated in step 4, the next is identifying what you are capable of. Capitalize on them; move them towards the next step.
- Setback are springboards to success
Understand that what you have failed so far did not just leave you disappointed. You have changed through the path that you went through. You have identified the pros and cons of that specific task you tried. Behind the robust experience & knowledge of most successful people there is a room that they put aside for learning through failing, So you need to enjoy the path not only the destination.
- Take admirations positively & be proud
By listening to the positive comments & feedbacks be proud of yourself. As you listed out your capabilities take a breath & say well, I am good! Remember what you have achieved so far, remember those helping hands you stretched to reach to someone & feel proud of them. When people complements you take it without reservation, don’t think that they are telling you that just for the sake of conversation or to make you feel good about it, instead take them with proper grace and extend you gratitude for their sincere comment & feedback also let them know that you are looking forward to keep on.
- Be yourself
Don’t lie about yourself with the intention to impress someone else. Well, for the time being this might give you false self-confidence but as time goes by, you will live with the fear of ‘will they know the truth’? Here is an eye opener, yes they will. Living in a fear will deteriorate your confidence, so always be yourself and don’t hesitate to say I can’t do this & that, I don’t know. Ask for other’s help. This shows that you are not afraid of your drawbacks, which by itself is virtue of self confidence.
- Be consistent
While going through with the steps in achieving self confidence the road will not just be a bed of roses, there will come a thorn & obstacle to rewind you back to the early point, but always put in mind that this things happen and be sure to be persistent & enduring in achieving it. In other words, have the stamina & gut to do it all over again.
Self-confidence is very tricky and devastating unless it is handled well; take care of over self-confidence which will prompt you in attempting to accomplish everything that comes in your way. This kind of self-confidence paves the way for throwing yourself to every open door, which will endanger you in return. On the contrary, very low self-confidence holds you back by creating those voices ‘what if you fail’? Eventually, what I wanted to say is that having a balanced self-confidence should be nurtured for the overall psychological well-being.
Bandura, A. (1994). Self efficacy. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_80.htm
McLeod, S. A. (2014). Carl Rogers. Retrieved from simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html
Mruk, C.J (2006). Self-Esteem Research, Theory, and Practice toward a Positive Psychology of Self-Esteem. Springer Publishing Company, Inc.
Snyder, C.R., & Lopez, S.J. (2002). Hand book of positive psychology. New York, Oxford University Press Inc.