Types of self confidence

4 types of self-confidence - RockTape

Plenty has been written about the need for confidence.  If you are an athlete, it is considered almost an essential character trait.  After all, how can you win if you don’t believe you can?  If you don’t have confidence in yourself?

Sometimes however, we get a little confused over which type of confidence we are actually talking about.  Do we mean the brash cockiness that teenage boys display when they predict how many goals they will crush their opposition by?  Do we mean the confidence we get when performing a skill that we’ve practiced many times in the past?  Or is confidence an even more multi-faceted psychological trait?

‘Be confident’ is such generic advice that it is hardly useful.  For a change, let’s consider the different types of self-confidence, in order of least to most useful.

1) ‘Unwarranted’ confidence

Also known as cocky arrogance.  It’s our teenage boy example from above.  You can be confident when perhaps you shouldn’t be.  This type of confidence arises from one or both of the following:

  • Overestimating your abilities
  • Underestimating your opponents or the magnitude of the task in front of you

Obviously neither of these is a good thing.  It almost always results in failure, and if you were unfortunate enough to brag about the outcome in advance, then it could be a very humiliating failure.

Unwarranted confidence is particularly dangerous when the person who wields it is in a position of power.  Think of the CEO who believes he is infallible and makes risky investment decisions.  Or the fighter who slams his opponent in the media only to find himself slammed when it comes time to get in the ring.

To avoid it, seek out brutally honest feedback about your true abilities.  Ask those who have tackled the same challenge what it is really like.  Stay away from people who give you unrealistic praise – it feels good at the time but you’ll regret it when your unwarranted confidence and inflated ego get harshly punctured in the future (parents be careful on this one – well-meaning praise can often have an unintended outcome. )

2) ‘Pasted on’ confidence

There was a period where self-help gurus advised us to go to the mirror every morning and tell ourselves with conviction phrases such as ‘I am amazing’, ‘nobody can beat me’ and ‘I can do it’.  Let’s call this pasted on confidence.  Deep down we don’t really feel confident, but we are trying to brush a thin layer of confidence over the top of our doubts.

It’s pretty obvious that pasted on confidence can crack as easily as an egg – it certainly isn’t resilient or enduring.

However, it can be mildly useful as the impetus for starting something difficult, or doing something scary for the first time.  Imagine a first time actress in the school play who suffers from stage fright.  Telling herself ‘I can do this’ might be the small extra push she needs to take the couple of steps from the wings to the spotlight.  The same goes for the gymnast who is terrified of trying a new skill on the beam.  A little pasted on confidence might help her to try the trick for the first time.  After that, the third type of confidence can kick in…

3) ‘I’ve already done it’ confidence

Once you’ve done something once, you automatically have more confidence the second time around.  And by the hundredth time you’ve successfully achieved it you don’t even consider the doubts you had at the beginning.  In fact, it may have become so automatic that you’ve reached a level of unconscious competence.  Driving a car is a good example.  Your first time behind the wheel you are likely using the small amount of brainpower not required to focus on the gears, braking and oncoming traffic to talk to yourself and paste on some confidence.  6 months later you are singing along to the radio, chatting to your friend in the passenger seat and not even thinking about how to change gears.  You’re supremely confident in what you’re doing because you’ve done it so many times before.

As an athlete, if you’ve won a competition before don’t you feel more confident going in to the same event next year?  You already know you are good enough to win.  And the same goes for skills – the first time you try something it’s difficult and you lack confidence.  But with each repetition your self-confidence grows.

It may seem like this is the most authentic type of confidence.  However, it is only listed as the third most useful type of self-confidence because while it’s good for repeating things we’ve done before, but it doesn’t help us grow.  For that we need the fourth kind…

4) ‘Effort will lead to results’ confidence

This is the most useful type of confidence because it is the fuel that takes us from not being able to do something, to mastering it.  This type of confidence manifests as a certainty that if I work hard, then over time I will achieve what I’ve set my sights on.

Sport is a risky endeavour.  Many, many kids start out with dreams of playing professionally or making the Olympics.  Very, very few of those kids actually do.  The ones that do all have this type of confidence.  An unwavering belief that effort and time will lead to success.

The same holds true for all the most accomplished people in any industry.  In-born talent and overnight success are both myths that make a good story in the media but are utterly untrue.  The truth is that all successful people have put in thousands of hours of work, and bridged the gap from beginner to master with the confidence that ‘my effort, sustained over time, will lead to results’.

A good word to bring into your vocabulary when thinking about your goals and skill development is ‘yet’.  This tiny word teaches your brain to develop this type of confidence as it implies that success will happen, it just hasn’t happened yet.

  • ‘I haven’t learnt how to do that skill yet’ (but I will master it)
  • ‘I haven’t won a competition at that level yet’ (but I will in time)
  • ‘I don’t know how to solve that type of problem yet’ (but with effort I will figure it out)

This final type of confidence is built over the long term.  It emerges when you see that the extra time you put into studying resulted in a better grade.  It builds when you perfectly execute a difficult kick that you’ve been staying late to practice at soccer training.  It grows when you struggle to listen to and incorporate your coach’s feedback even through it’s difficult.  It flourishes when each day, week, month, year and decade of effort accumulates to yield a major victory.

Self-confidence. We all want it. And we’ve probably all received some not altogether useful advice on its necessity.  Perhaps this guide will help you identify the more useful types of confidence, and help you to build and develop them. Remember to:

  • Avoid the arrogance of ‘unwarranted’ confidence
  • Use ‘pasted on’ confidence sparingly, and only to spur you into taking that initial, scary step forward
  • Don’t get too comfortable in the confidence of ‘I’ve already done it’ or you’ll cease to improve
  • Deliberately cultivate the most useful type of confidence – a certainty that ‘effort and time will lead to results’

Still not feeling confident?  Perhaps you just don’t feel confident…yet.

What Is Self-Confidence? (+ 9 Proven Ways to Increase It)

The self-esteem movement has swept through Western culture over the past 50 years, with parents and teachers alike doubling down on the idea that improving children’s self-confidence will lead to improved performance, and a more successful life in general (Baskin, 2011).

This movement started with a book published in 1969, in which psychologist Nathaniel Branden argued that most mental or emotional problems people faced could be traced back to low self-esteem. Branden laid the foundation for the Self-Esteem Movement with his assertion that improving an individual’s self-esteem could not only result in better performance but could even cure pathology.

Since then, there have been thousands of papers published and studies conducted on the relationship between success and self-esteem. This is a popular idea not only in literature but in more mainstream mediums as well. Before we begin exploring the complexities of self-esteem it is essential to unpack the differences between the overlapping concepts of self-efficacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

E.E. Cummings

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Self-Compassion Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will not only increase your compassion and self-esteem but will also give you the tools to help your clients, students or employees show more kindness and compassion towards themselves.

This Article Contains:

  • Defining the Difference: Self-Efficacy, Self-Confidence, and Self-Esteem
  • Popular Theories of Self-Confidence
  • The Importance of Self-Confidence
  • Too Much of Good Thing: The Unintended Consequences of Self-Esteem Education
  • The Benefits of Fear: Practicing Courage and Building Confidence
  • 9 Lessons for Practicing Self-Confidence
  • Take-Home Message: It’s a Process
  • References

Defining the Difference: Self-Efficacy, Self-Confidence, and Self-Esteem

While most people generally think of self-esteem and self-confidence as two names for the same thing, and probably rarely think about the term “self-efficacy,” these three terms hold slightly different meanings for the psychologists who study them (Druckman & Bjork, 1994; Oney, & Oksuzoglu-Guven, 2015).

What is Self-Efficacy?

Albert Bandura is arguably the most cited author on the subject of self-efficacy, and he defines self-efficacy as an individual’s beliefs about their capacity to influence the events in their own lives (Bandura, 1977).

This differs from self-esteem in an important way: the definition of self-esteem often rests on ideas about an individual’s worth or worthiness, while self-efficacy is rooted in beliefs about an individual’s capabilities to handle future situations. In this sense, self-esteem is more of a present-focused belief while self-efficacy is more of a forward-looking belief.

What is Self-Confidence?

This is likely the most used term for these related concepts outside of psychological research, but there is still some confusion about what exactly self-confidence is. One of the most cited sources about self-confidence refers to it as simply believing in oneself (Bénabou & Tirole, 2002).

Another popular article defines self-confidence as an individual’s expectations of performance and self-evaluations of abilities and prior performance (Lenney, 1977).

Finally, Psychology Dictionary Online defines self-confidence as an individual’s trust in his or her own abilities, capacities, and judgments, or belief that he or she can successfully face day to day challenges and demands (Psychology Dictionary Online).

Self-confidence also brings about more happiness. Typically, when you are confident in your abilities, you are happier due to your successes. When you are feeling better about your capabilities, the more energized and motivated you are to take action and achieve your goals.

Self-confidence, then, is similar to self-efficacy in that it tends to focus on the individual’s future performance; however, it seems to be based on prior performance, and so in a sense, it also focuses on the past.

Many psychologists tend to refer to self-efficacy when considering an individual’s beliefs about their abilities concerning a specific task or set of tasks, while self-confidence is more often referred to as a broader and more stable trait concerning an individual’s perceptions of overall capability.

What is Self-Esteem?

The most influential voices in self-esteem research were, arguably, Morris Rosenberg and Nathaniel Branden. In his 1965 book, Society and the Adolescent Self-Image, Rosenberg discussed his take on self-esteem and introduced his widely used accepted Self-Esteem Scale.

A Free PDF of the Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale is available here.

His definition of self-esteem rested on the assumption that it was a relatively stable belief about one’s overall self-worth. This is a broad definition of self-esteem, defining it as a trait that is influenced by many different factors and is relatively difficult to change.

In contrast, Branden believes self-esteem is made up of two distinct components: self-efficacy, or the confidence we have in our ability to cope with life’s challenges, and self-respect, or the belief that we are deserving of happiness, love, and success (1969).

The definitions are similar, but it is worth noting that Rosenberg’s definition relies on beliefs about self-worth, a belief which can have wildly different meanings to different people, while Branden is more specific about which beliefs are involved in self-esteem.

What about those who have too much self-esteem? Could narcissism be the result of having too much self-esteem? A psychological definition would be that narcissism is an extreme amount of selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

Self-esteem at high and low levels can be damaging, so it is important to strike a balance in the middle. A realistic but positive view of the self is often ideal.

Where does self-esteem come from? What influence does it have on our lives? Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means it tends to be stable and enduring.

There are typically three components which make up self-esteem:

  • Self-esteem is an essential human need that is vital for survival and normal, healthy development
  • Self-esteem arises automatically from within based on a person’s beliefs and consciousness
  • Self-esteem occurs in conjunction with a person’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and actions.

Self-esteem is one of the basic human motivations in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow would suggest that individuals need both esteem from other people as well as inner self-respect. These needs must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow and thrive.

These needs must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow and achieve self-actualization. Self-confidence and self-esteem are two closely related psychological phenomena, both based on past experiences and both looking forward at future performance.

Popular Theories of Self-Confidence

With these definitions in hand, we can take a closer look at common beliefs and popular theories surrounding self-confidence and self-esteem.

As noted earlier, Branden’s theory of self-esteem became a widely referenced and understood theory, but there were also other theories and frameworks for understanding self-esteem in the psychological literature.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an iconic although somewhat out-of-date framework in psychology, theorizes that there are several needs that humans must have met to be truly fulfilled, but, generally, the most basic needs must be met before more complex needs can be met (1943). In his pyramid, self-esteem is the second highest level of need, just under self-actualization.

According to Maslow, humans must have their needs of physiological stability, safety, love and belonging met before they can develop healthy self-esteem. He also noted that there are two kinds of self-esteem, a “higher” and a “lower,” the lower self-esteem derived from the respect of others, while the higher self-esteem comes from within.

In the years following his introduction of the hierarchy of needs, Maslow refined his theory to accommodate the instances of highly self-actualized people who are homeless or individuals who live in a dangerous area or war zone but are also high in self-esteem.

This hierarchy is no longer considered as a strict theory of unidirectional growth, but a more general explanation of how basic needs being met allow individuals the freedom and ability to achieve their more complex ones.

Terror Management Theory

A darker theory that delves a bit deeper into the human experience to explain self-confidence is the Terror Management Theory.

Terror Management Theory (TMT) is based on the idea that humans hold great potential for responding with terror to the awareness of their own mortality, and that worldviews that emphasize peoples’ beliefs in their own significance as humans protect them against this terror (Greenberg & Arndt, 2011).

TMT posits that self-esteem forms as a way to protect and buffer against anxiety, and subsequently, people strive for self-confidence and react negatively to anyone or anything that could undermine their beliefs in their comforting worldview.

Sociometer Theory

Mark Leary, a social psychologist who researches self-esteem in the context of evolutionary psychology, also contributed a theory of self-esteem to the literature.

The Sociometer Theory suggests that self-esteem is an internal gauge of the degree to which one is included vs. excluded by others (Leary, 2006). This theory rests on the conception of self-esteem as an internal individual perception of social acceptance and rejection.

There is some strong evidence for the accuracy and applicability of this theory. For example, studies have shown that the outcomes of events on people’s self-esteem generally match up with their assumptions about how the same events would cause other people to accept or reject them (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs, 1995).

Finally, evidence shows that social exclusion based on personal characteristics decreases self-esteem (Leary et al., 1995).

The Importance of Self-Confidence

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Regardless of which theory you may personally subscribe to, the outcomes of high self-confidence are generally agreed upon by researchers.

A broad review of the correlates of self-esteem found that high self-esteem is associated with better health, better social lives, protection against mental disorders and social problems, healthy coping, and mental well-being (Mann, Hosman, Schaalma, & de Vries, 2004).

Children with high self-confidence perform better at school and, later in life, have higher job satisfaction in middle age. Self-esteem is also strongly linked to happiness, with higher levels of self-esteem predicting higher levels of happiness. High self-confidence has even been found to increase the chances of survival after a serious surgical procedure (Mann et al., 2004).

As noted earlier, there have been thousands of papers published on self-confidence or self-esteem, and many of these papers connect self-confidence with success in life.

Some studies show a strong relationship between self-confidence and positive mental health (Atherton et al., 2016; Clark & Gakuru, 2014; Gloppen, David-Ferdon, & Bates, 2010; Skenderis, 2015; Stankov, 2013; Stankov & Lee, 2014). The success of individuals with high self-esteem lies in these six attributes:

  1. A greater sense of self-worth
  2. Greater enjoyment in life and in activities
  3. Freedom from self-doubt
  4. Freedom from fear and anxiety, freedom from social anxiety, and less stress
  5. More energy and motivation to act
  6. More enjoyable time interacting with other people at social gatherings. When you are relaxed and confident others will feel at ease around you.

In less hopeful news, some research has shown that increasing confidence does not always lead to enhanced positive outcomes (Brinkman, Tichelaar, van Agtmael, de Vries, & Richir, 2015; Forsyth, Lawrence, Burnette, & Baumeister, 2007).

Journalists in mainstream media have pointed out that there are also negative correlates with self-confidence. For example, self-confidence has steadily increased over the last 50 years, and with it, narcissism and unrealistic expectations have also increased (Kremer, 2013). Maybe there is such a thing as “too much a good thing,” when we are building our children’s self-esteem.

Too Much of Good Thing: The Consequences of Self-Esteem Education

Self-confidence or self-esteem has been praised in Western society for the past 25 years. During this time, it was believed that a positive self-image was the key to a happy and successful life, leading to the birth of the self-esteem era of education.

Children of this generation are taught in schools and at home to consider themselves to be special, to only focus on their positive traits, and to receive praise for very little accomplishment.

Recent research, however, suggests that these practices and beliefs, rather than protecting people from depression, may contribute to low motivation and a decrease in goal-directed behavior (Dweck, 2007).

If boosting self-confidence is better at increasing narcissism and ambition than achievement and success, what should we do? Do we ditch the idea of improving self-confidence?

Baumeister and colleagues have an answer. There are certain contexts where a boost of self-confidence can improve performance, and these opportunities should not be ignored.

They recommend continuing to boost self-esteem, but in a more measured and cautious manner (Baumeister et al., 2003). They encourage parents and teachers to give children praise in order to increase their self-confidence, but only as a reward for socially desirable behavior.

This method ensures that children receive some positive attention and have the opportunity to develop healthy self-esteem, and it does not run the risk of convincing children that they are exceedingly competent whether they work hard or not.

Steve Baskin (2011) lays out another positive move parents can take: letting their children fail.  Recently, parents have taken great care in shielding their children from pain and problems and forming a protective bubble of love and esteem-building around them. This often has the unintended consequence of not only protecting children from struggle but also from growth.

Baskin suggests taking a step back as parents, and letting children figure out how to deal with disappointment and pain, an undertaking that will likely result in the development of resilience and successful coping skills. If we want to encourage all children to not only feel their best but to also do their best, these seem like good solutions.

In his TED Talk Dr. Ivan Joseph (2012), a former athletic director and soccer coach connects his dedication to building self-confidence with his subsequent career success and encourages the audience to follow some tips to build healthy self-confidence in their children.

The Benefits Of Fear: Practicing Courage and Building Confidence

Fear exists to protect us from physical danger; it is our instinct to prevent ourselves from being eaten by a predator. However, in the absence of such predators and with protection designed into our homes, cars and parenting styles, fear has adapted to respond instead to modern day stresses, which can trigger past negative feelings of shame, hurt or fear.

These experiences operate in the background of our psyche, taking up mental bandwidth and memory, just like mobile apps which run in the background of your phone using memory and battery power.

When we stay in our comfort zone protected from these experiences by the familiarity of routine activities, we live life unaware of our ability to grow and develop new strengths and skills. The less we experience opportunities for mistakes and failure, the more scared we become of what could happen if we were to step outside of our comfort zone.

However, when we do take that plunge, even without confidence in our abilities, courage takes over. In the realm of the known, confidence operates without any hindrance, but in the realm of fear of the unknown courage takes over.

Courage is typically a more noble attribute than confidence because it requires greater strength, and typically a courageous person is one without limits for growth and success.

We can be grateful for fear. We can learn to eagerly embrace it, understand its origin and use it as a signpost for what needs to be dealt with, a powerful tool to declutter the mental closets. And just like actually cleaning out our closets, we can sort through what we want to keep and what no longer fits us. And when it’s cleared out we can feel renewed and energized.

But fear can’t always be overcome just by crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

We, humans, are strange creatures. We expect our fear to disappear in an instant, however, we accept that we cannot just pick up the violin and play Vivaldi in an instant.

“To build confidence, you have to practice confidence”


9 Lessons for Practicing Self-Confidence

Martin Seligman reminds us that a positive self-image by itself does not produce anything. A sustainable sense of security in oneself arises from positive and productive behavior (Seligman, 1996).

This is not to say that feeling secure and trusting in yourself is not important for wellbeing. High self-confidence or self-efficacy has been linked to many positive physical and mental health outcomes (Pajares, 1996).

Many of us would like to have higher self-confidence but struggle to overcome insecurity, fear, and negative self-talk. With some reflection, hard work, and perhaps a shift in perception we can work towards a strong and stable belief in ourselves.

“Wellbeing cannot just exist in our own head. It is a combination of actually having meaning, good relationships, and accomplishment.”

 Martin Seligman

1. Stand or Sit in a Posture of Confidence

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy and others have studied the positive effects of confident body postures on our hormones.

Look for the sensations of confidence and practice feeling them more in your body. Feel your feet on the ground, keep your body relaxed and open. Think regal.

Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk about all about the effect of posture on self-confidence:

Her basic message in the video is that an individual’s posture does not just reflect the level of confidence or insecurity. Posture sends messages to the brain that can actually change the way you feel. So, if you want to feel more powerful, sit up straight, smile, or stand in a “power pose,” and that message will be sent to your brain.

2. Practice Presence

Mindfulness is proven to have significant benefits for your physical and psychological wellbeing. You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere. You can give try it right now by following these steps:

  • Become aware of your awareness; that is, begin to observe yourself and your surroundings.
  • Start with your body sensations, feeling your feet and legs, your belly and chest, your arms, neck, and head.
  • Notice your breath flowing in and out, the many sensations that you are experiencing.
  • Let your eyes notice what is in your visual field, your ears, what they are hearing. Perhaps sensations of smell and taste will come to awareness as well.
  • Go beyond these simple sensations to feel the energy, the quiet, or the noises that surround you. Feel your presence.

3. Build Your Capacity for Energy

What does this mean? A bit of stress can be useful to keep us alert and give us the extra energy needed to perform. Try reframing your nervous jitters as excitement! Knowing how to engage with these feelings in your body will expand your presence rather than shrinking it down.

4. Exercise Regularly

Exercise has a powerful effect on confidence. Regular exercise releases endorphins which in turn interact with the opiate receptors in the brain, which produces a pleasurable state of mind and, in turn, you’ll view yourself in a more positive light.

When you exercise regularly, you will not only get better physically but you will feel more motivated to act in ways that build your self-confidence.

5. Visualize: Imagine Confidence

Close your eyes and relax your body completely. Stay firmly connected to the sensation of relaxation and in your mind’s eye, see yourself speaking on camera or doing whatever activity for which you would like more confidence. Allow the feelings of a comfortable presence to pervade your body and your mind.

6. Give Yourself Permission To Be In The Process, Take Risks and Make Mistakes

From the outside, we often think, “wow, everybody else is more happy, beautiful, creative, successful, active, etc. than me. I’m just not good enough to be like them.” What we don’t tend to consider is that failure is inherent in accomplishment and that in order to pursue our goals, we have to work hard and face our weaknesses. Even those who are exceptional in some areas of life are likely struggling in others.

Allow yourself to be a learner, to be a novice. Trust that it’s okay not to be perfect; in fact, you’ll likely provide inspiration to others in similar situations.

When breaking out of your comfort zone and starting something new, you are expanding your own limitations. When you successfully complete something that is out of your confidence zone, you are building confidence in yourself.

7. Clarify Your Goals

Making progress towards personally meaningful goals is the scaffolding upon which healthy self-confidence is built. In his book, Flourish Seligman proposes PERMA, a five-factor framework for wellbeing in which the “A” stands for accomplishment.

The S.M.A.R.T goals system offers a guideline for goal-setting in which goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This system is based on research that suggests that these types of goals lead to greater and more consistent achievement (Locke, 1968).

When considering what goals you’d like to set for yourself, it may be helpful to start big considering your core values and life goals. Then you can come up with actionable steps to work toward these. Writing a personal mission statement is a great way to give yourself some direction.

“Happiness does not simply happen to us. It’s something that we make happen and it comes from doing our best.”

Mihali Csikszentmihalyi

8. Speak Well to Yourself

It’s always delightful to get good feedback from others. However, always seeking approval from outside yourself is an easy trap.

“Approve of yourself; be the one that says the words of encouragement you long to hear.”

Speak to yourself with self-compassion, kindness, and encouragement. After all, the most important relationship you have in your life is with yourself- make it a good one!

9. Ask For Help and Offer Your Help to Others

Many of us struggle to ask for help due to fear of rejection or being seen as incompetent. In Western cultures, the high value placed on self-reliance gets in the way of reaching out to others even though this is a necessary part of working toward our goals. However, conversely, a core feature of self-confidence also lies in being valued by others.

A sense of belonging within our social system is fundamental to personal wellbeing (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).

In a recent review of contemporary literature, Stephen Post, head of Case Western Reserve University Medical School, found a profound connection between giving, altruism, and happiness (2008). When we play a positive role in our families, friendships, and communities we rightly feel good about ourselves. We feel that we are fulfilling a greater more meaningful purpose in our lives.

A study by Frank Flynn, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford, revealed that people tend to grossly underestimate the willingness of others to help (2008). Flynn says “our research should encourage people to ask for help and not to assume that others are disinclined to comply” (2008).

Collaboration among people creates the most powerful results. When we reach out to others, we can see our efforts flourish in ways that we could never achieve on our own.

“Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable increase in momentary wellbeing than any other exercise we have tested.”

Martin Seligman

A Take-Home Message: It’s a Process

The bottom line is that a healthy sense of self-confidence is not something that we achieve once and then just have for the rest of our lives. If you are a parent, teacher, or someone else who interacts with children frequently, notice whether you are trying to build children’s self-esteem through protecting and praising them.

Consider what you are encouraging the child to learn from their actions, provide them with enough opportunities to safely learn through failure and offer them space to build their courage and express their self-efficacy.

No matter how confident they are, there will be a moment when they will need to draw from a deep well of self-esteem, resilience, and problem-solving to successfully navigate a complex and challenging world.

Self-confidence waxes and wanes and takes work to build, develop and maintain. We all experience moments which challenge our confidence. However, when we understand the sources of healthy self-confidence we can always work on cultivating it within ourselves.

What do you think about the challenge of building self-confidence? How do you feel about building self-confidence in education? What is your greatest confidence maker or breaker? Let us know in the comments box below.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Self Compassion Exercises for free.

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Three types of self-confidence | How to Develop Them - The Psychology of Effective Living

It is easier to develop self-confidence if you know that there are only three types of it. And for the development of each, their own techniques are suitable.

Type One: Confidence Through Repetition

Type 1 confidence comes from repetition. And this is my first key to self-confidence.

If you want to feel comfortable in public but doubt your ability, the more you practice, repeat and start over, the more confident you will become.

As a student, I was always terrified of the impending need to speak in public. Today I regularly perform in front of thousands of spectators. As you can see, repetition can really build self-confidence.

If you want to meet girls with confidence, I promise you that on the 1000th try you will be absolutely confident in this matter.

If you don't have confidence in a particular sport move, repetition and persistence will make you do much better.

You can learn just about anything if you keep repeating and practicing until it becomes part of your DNA.

For this reason, many people who cannot be called confident at all acquire this quality when they talk about what excites and excites them.

For this reason, you will often meet trainers and coaches who will say that in order to be confident in yourself, you just need to prepare. The more prepared you are, the more confident you are.

Second type: confidence in your resources

However, if you gain self-confidence only by repetition or training, what happens in case of an unforeseen situation?

For example, you have foreseen that your business will develop in a certain way. But there has been a change in the economic situation, everything is not going according to plan. Or you were preparing for an oral exam, and this time the examination committee is unfamiliar. You will be very insecure.

The second type of self-confidence allows you to maintain it in unforeseen situations - this is confidence in your resources. It’s no longer “I’m sure because I trained.” We go to another level: “I am sure that there is something inside me that will help me, even if it is complete chaos, even if everything does not go as I expected, even if I do not have the necessary knowledge. I still have sufficient internal resources.”

You get this kind of confidence when you say to yourself, “No matter what happens, I will find a solution. I can trust myself, not just what I've rehearsed."

It is interesting that people who succeed only because of the first type of confidence can achieve exceptional results. But when things go wrong, they get lost.

Therefore, when faced with unexpected situations, remind yourself: “Yes, this is not planned. But I have everything to find an answer and resources. And even in relation to a problem that I do not yet know, I have inner strength. I can do well." This is how you gain that type of self-confidence.

The third type: confidence in life

It is extremely useful when the first two are not enough. This is what happens when you face a really serious problem. When it is so huge that you definitely have not “rehearsed” it before and very much doubt that you have at least some internal resources to solve it.

For example, you are faced with a rare disease, the existence of which is generally not known to anyone in your environment. Or you suddenly get fired. That is, you are in a situation where:

- you were not prepared for this;

- you doubt your abilities.

The third type of self-confidence will help you here - confidence in life.

If this seems to you something from the field of esotericism, let's turn to science. Researchers have found that people who believe that everything that happens in their lives happens for their benefit are much happier than those who think that the whole world is against them.

That is, you have the confidence that with practice you will succeed. Plus, you have the confidence that you have enough internal resources. And at the third level, you say to yourself: "Life carries me." And when you look back at your past, you see that "life brought together the right person."

To be confident in life is to say to yourself one day: “But that disgusting teacher, whom I hated so much, made me become stronger, taught me to position myself, to be responsible for my words. Maybe that boss, manager, or company owner that I hated was a gift from life to me to learn how to respond to such people. To learn to say "no". Build your boundaries. Or just so I don't do it to others."

When you begin to acquire the third type of confidence, you become free. Because you can say to yourself: “Even if I haven’t trained, even if I don’t know what to do and whether I have the resources, I can trust life.

Which type of certainty is more important?

One must have all three types of certainty.

Understand that success is a matter of training and preparation. This is a matter of knowledge and competencies that need to be developed in oneself. And initially, do everything in your power, get ready.

When things don't go according to plan, you still have resources within you to cope. And don't panic. Often they are discovered at the most catastrophic moments and come as a surprise even to oneself.

Even if everything is lost, when you have no idea what you can do at all, and in general “no one managed to get through it”, your confidence that life has put you in front of this problem for your own benefit, in the end, that this the possibility that the world is not against you will help you.

Think about it at your leisure.


Another coach from France talks about the practical steps of self-coaching shyness - David Lefrancois. Using his story as an example, he explains how to help yourself gain confidence through simple, everyday steps: https://psy.systems/post/kouching-zastenchivosti-kak-perestat-boyatsya-obscheniya.

Book by Irina Udilova and Anton Ustupalov “Female self-esteem. Become a self-confident woman” for those who want to learn how to love themselves, like others, communicate easily and enjoy life. The authors propose to consider more than twenty basic principles that allow you to gain confidence, fame, wealth and love: https://psy.systems/post/irina-udilova-anton-ustupalov-samoocenka-pozhenski.

It's hard to impress others as a confident person when you simply don't believe in yourself. And this is not at all about groundless motivational affirmations, but about faith based on real facts. How to gain such faith can be found in the article by psychologist, coach, Gestalt therapist Nina Rubshtein: https://psy.systems/post/gde-vzyat-veru-v-sebya.


Very often we stubbornly go towards our goal, and at the last moment we don’t take a decisive and such an important step: we don’t say the right words, we don’t cross the threshold beyond which everything can change. Why is this happening? What are we afraid of? What frightens us, what stops us, what makes us step back, abandon the cherished goal, towards which we sometimes go for many, many years. Half an hour, a minute, a moment before success. When all you have to do is reach out and...

It's all about elementary self-doubt, which many people try to fight in order to gain real self-confidence.

There are such types of confidence: genuine, emotional, bodily, behavioral.

True confidence is independence from the opinions of others, the ability to overcome one's doubts and fears, it is an unconditional faith in oneself and one's strength in any life situation. Agree, getting out of your usual comfort zone is always difficult. But this is necessary, only in this way you will gain true confidence, which will come from your inner qualities and not depend on external manifestations. Psychologists say that you need to set only significant goals for yourself, which you can achieve only with work and perseverance. This is how self-confidence is developed. In order to gain true confidence, you need to develop three main types of confidence: behavioral, physical and emotional confidence.

Behavioral confidence is how others perceive you. If you immediately take action and take decisive steps, are surrounded by successful and self-confident people and clearly know that you are doing exactly what brings pleasure, you are on the right track. To develop or improve this area, you can take a training on gaining self-confidence, as well as start reading more specialized literature.

Confident gait and gestures, good posture, sparkle in the eyes and a smile are the main signs of bodily confidence. Appearance is an important point in acquiring such a quality of personality. Therefore, daily improvement of oneself, one's body is another key to the success of a self-confident person.

Emotional confidence is best manifested in a developed intuition and the ability to correctly express one's feelings and emotions. How often do we set ourselves emotional barriers, just because it is accepted in society. A truly self-confident person always knows when and what to say and is not afraid to show his feelings in public, knows how to start any conversation and easily makes contact.
The main goal that insecure people need to work on is learning to control the fear of failure. It will never be easy, so you need to act here and now, despite doubts and anxiety.

A feeling of confidence, along with confident behavior and determination, is a sign of the absence of certain doubts and fears in a person. It is this feeling that manifests human faith in oneself and one's own strengths, capabilities, and rights. In order to master a complete sense of self-confidence, it is only necessary to add decisiveness to the existing sense of confidence. This combination eliminates fear in making and direct implementation of important decisions.
How to increase faith in yourself, your strength and your capabilities? There are several ways to support and develop self-confidence. First you need to understand the main thing - confidence should not be temporary, but basic and serious. Set yourself up for the fact that you are strong and can cope with any difficulties.


1. Develop a positive attitude towards life and dispose of the negative. To do this, activate your body - turn on the activity. Sluggish things can be done much faster. Do not be afraid of speed, including in decision-making. The feeling of leadership is felt when being ahead of others, you need to remember this.

2. Play is an important component of developing confidence. Playing confidence and taking its poses, even when there is no feeling of confidence, is very necessary for a person. Never be afraid to put yourself in the right state. To do this, you just need to be able to present yourself in it clearly and clearly. This will help to catch that feeling of confidence that is appropriate for a particular time. This behavior is easiest to develop in a new environment.

3. Also, do not forget about verbal self-hypnosis. To support yourself morally when achieving any goal is a successful business.

4. Relaxation helps relieve anxiety that interferes with self-confidence. Feeling at ease and at ease is very important. Help yourself, it's not hard.

In order to gain and maintain adequate self-esteem, you will need to create it by self-hypnosis. For those who want to acquire favorable components of the personality are often subject to internal conflicts, which makes it difficult to gradually, naturally increase self-esteem. Without a specific plan that allows you to develop a structure of activities aimed at correcting self-esteem, you are simply doomed to failure. However, the principles of self-hypnosis, which are a quick and effective way to change some personality parameters, are very effective.

Here are some techniques that will help you create and maintain a suitable image of the new you. Such methods are quite simple, but very effective. After all, a normal level of self-esteem is so important that it’s hard to even imagine, thanks to it, your behavior and actions are formed. You become confident in your abilities and have no doubts about making decisions. To understand how important normal self-esteem is, let's give one comparison: let's take, for example, a person who has achieved material well-being. There are not very many such people, but they still managed to break through the barriers of conventions. Why is it so hard for people to break through? There are a lot of reasons, it makes no sense to enumerate, let's focus on the main one. And so: the main reason why people began to change their lives is that once they expressed their inner protest, expressed in their unwillingness to merge with the masses and live life in oblivion.

The reason why people are afraid to open up to others may be low self-esteem. In such cases, they are filled with doubts about the correctness of their beliefs, they are afraid that they will not be understood and appreciated, because their personalities are so deep and valuable that it is even difficult to imagine. Here, a catastrophic lack of self-confidence is clearly expressed, and if it manifests itself, then only in actions in public, because you cannot deceive yourself. Everyone strives to be a self-confident person, because such people can perform in public, can allow themselves to be naturally led, knowing that they are charismatic.

The need for confidence manifests itself in almost all areas of human life, so literate people who lack this personality parameter work long and hard to acquire it. After all, low self-esteem drives a person into a vicious circle: the goals put forward seem incomprehensible, and uncertainty does everything to keep this conviction.
But no matter how sad things are, there is always a way out. In fact, confidence can be gained and self-esteem increased. Of course, this will require a lot of effort and time, but believe me, the joy of a fulfilling life overshadows any difficulties. After all, how great it is to realize that you are truly appreciated, you are not afraid to publicly express your thoughts and what you do causes only respect. It is also known that self-confidence is expressed by the assessment of others. And here the main thing is not to forget about working on your own appearance, behavior, take care of your speech and actions.

The question of how to increase low self-esteem is of concern to many scientists, educators, psychologists and ordinary people today. And this is quite understandable, since such a characteristic significantly affects their well-being and success.

From time to time every person has a feeling that his life is not successful. I want to change it, but I don't know how. Here the wizard would fly in, wave his wand and the long-awaited changes would instantly come! But from the understanding that it is pointless to wait for magic in life, a person feels hopelessness, because he does not know what can be done.

He is used to acting by inertia, unconsciously using the same ways of responding to various situations, including defense mechanisms. They are partly useful, as they protect the psyche from its destruction. The possibility of a catastrophe is provided by the attitude of a person towards himself. And there is a cure for this "disease" - the development of self-esteem.

What is the reason for such a situation, in which a person begins to treat himself negatively? It would seem that many parents love their children and take care of their proper development. It is certain. They want their child to be successful and one of the best. More precisely, not the way he is now with his feelings, thoughts, experiences, but others are better than Petya from the next entrance, Vasya's classmate, the son of his best friend, etc.

The child gets used to being constantly compared to someone different from him, and for the worse. Self-worth is called into question and his self-esteem begins to slowly but surely fall. In addition, parents “wrap around” the image of the child with such ideas and expectations that they sincerely do not understand why he is not the way they see him.

From this contradiction, loving fathers and mothers are horrified and, in order to correct their erring child, they begin to criticize him. Thus, at first, a person is evaluated by parents with a “minus” sign, then the process of internalization takes place and the child begins to do this on his own. In a similar way, the self-esteem of people develops, who subsequently become worthless, of no particular value in their own eyes, and for others - insecure and unable to succeed failures.

Don't indulge your child's whims - this can blur the boundaries of his reality

There are other parents who admire every action of the child, every breath he takes, believing that he is already the best of all, regardless of whether they are good or bad his actions. Developing in a similar scenario, self-esteem and self-confidence also have negative consequences. A person who has grown up in an atmosphere of constant exaggeration of the merits of his personality begins to think that the whole world owes him only for the reason that he was simply born.

Such people, on the contrary, have an overestimated self-esteem, or rather, an over-the-top self-confidence. It's hard to consider yourself the most wonderful person in the world, deserving of any blessings, without doing anything special, and not understanding why life does not give you what you expect just like that. These people are also not very successful, because they cannot adequately assess either themselves or the situation in order to positively influence their lives.
You can successfully make changes in the world around you and in your life only on the basis of reality. What is the world around and what am I in it? - an objective answer to this question will help you move towards any real goals and make your dreams come true. The key to this is adequate self-esteem and self-confidence. An objective attitude to one's person consists in the absence of exaggerations of both one's shortcomings and virtues. It is enough to understand what traits there are and accept them without evaluating them as “bad” or “good”.

For this, there must be a sufficiently high level of self-consciousness. Thus, self-consciousness and self-esteem are related to each other: the higher the level of self-awareness, the more adequate the idea of ​​one's own personality. If unpleasant events happen to a person who objectively evaluates himself, then he can cope with them without harming his personality, even without resorting to the unconscious activation of defense mechanisms, which are a strong brake on personal growth.

Learn to analyze conflict situations and develop relationship tactics.

Conflicts with colleagues, relatives or just passers-by, so painful for people with inadequate self-esteem, can be a powerful stimulus for the development of self-esteem and self-confidence, since it is thanks to them that self-assertion occurs. Self-awareness and self-esteem is an important factor that determines the attitude towards failure. A person who is aware of and evaluates himself adequately includes them in his experience without changing his attitude towards himself.

After any failure, more skills and knowledge appear that are able to advance a person on the path to the ideal and make him stronger and more experienced, opening up new opportunities for changing the world around him, but if the impact on it is unrealistic, for optimal adaptation to reality. This is facilitated by the awareness of one's own significance, values ​​in this world, unconditional self-love and acceptance. Such self-worth and self-esteem, at least close to adequate, will help to achieve success in all areas of life.

Thus, for personal growth it is necessary to determine the level of one's own self-esteem. There are many tests and methods, but to get a more objective result, it is better to use several. Knowing the “enemy” of your success, you can work productively on yourself. It is important not to stand in one place and constantly develop - this is the only way positive changes in life can come. Self-awareness and self-esteem allow you to comprehend your own life and develop a competent strategy for its improvement.

Don't be discouraged if you can't reach your goal quickly, especially if you're determined to succeed. Life itself will give you clues and direct you in the right direction. Calmly and confidently look for your path, without ceasing to believe in the right direction. If it doesn’t work out, you shouldn’t blame your surroundings for what is happening to you, having decided that life is not fair to you. After one problem goes away, another one immediately follows, winding yourself up and blaming yourself for helplessness, you will not achieve anything.

Learn to deal with your problems as they come, and don't torture yourself with blame for what happened. Try to look to the future, but at the same time solve the tasks that you have set for yourself today, thereby striving for that same future, but without the mistakes of the past. Learn how to make a to-do list, highlighting the important and secondary, and to the extent possible successfully deal with them. Never despair, even if it is very difficult, do not stop halfway, and then you will reach your goal by becoming a successful person.

To despair means to give up, lose faith in yourself, hope for the future, and give up your dream. It’s good if you have a real friend who will help you in difficult times, give good advice or tell you what to do next. After all, it will be very difficult for you to cope with this feeling alone, almost impossible. If there is no such person, then try to find strength in yourself and overcome despair, concentrating on what gives you positive emotions. Having done this, you will always see clearly and clearly the prospects of life, and not when you will not fall into despondency and depression from hopelessness, because you know for sure that there is always a way out.

There are no hopeless situations, so any sadness should be treated as a temporary nuisance and a way out should be sought. Tomorrow you will be better than today if you believe in success, in yourself and your future. It is also worth understanding that despair is not an innate defect, but acquired by us in childhood and perfectly accustomed. In childhood, with our desperate cry, we called on our parents for help and received it without fail, at school age, desperately lowering our heads over a problem from a mathematics textbook, we thereby silently ask for help in solving and immediately helped us. That is, despair is like the position of a victim.

Anyone can become discouraged, including an adult. What now to shout again? No, in no case, a strong and successful person knows that one should not fall into despair at the slightest failure, betraying his idea, and even more so to force someone from his environment to deal with it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking for help, but you should not be offended if it is refused. Try to understand everything yourself and find a solution to the problem.

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