During a divorce or break up, our confidence can take a nosedive. There is confusion about self-confidence. It’s been mistaken for smugness, arrogance, or conceit. True confidence is none of those things. Some believe it can be faked – as in fake it until you make it. Self-Confidence is an acceptance of ourselves and our abilities. It is an unshakeable belief and faith. There is no other characteristic so closely tied to happiness as self-confidence.
Small-scale research from Ireland also unveils that favorable self-assessments are positively linked to happiness and life satisfaction.
Another 2014 study found a significant relationship between self-esteem scores and happiness scores.
Even in casual observation we notice that confident people typically experience less fear and anxiety, are often leaders of people, have a more positive outlook and often make healthier choices to support their emotional and physical state.
What is confidence?
- The belief in ultimate success and/or abilities
- A sureness in a person, about themselves, their talents, and their capabilities
- Trust, assurance
- It can be high in individual areas of our daily life and nonexistent in others
- Trust in a process, or an end result
- It can’t be faked, it’s not an emotion nor a motivation.
- It’s not thinking that you are better than another person
Self-confidence is a trust and deep belief in ourselves, our abilities and our motives. It is rooted in deep self-acceptance.
How do we assess our own level of self-confidence?
There is overall self-confidence and situational self-confidence. All of us are confident in something. Confident we can drive our car, teach our children, or solve the problem of what to do about dinner tonight. There are people, who in their job or office environment, that worked their way up and feel confident in their ability to lead their team and make decisions based on their experience. Placed in a situation that is new to them, and their confidence stumbles. Let’s start with overall confidence: Use the quiz below to get an idea of where you are at. Give yourself a score for each statement below.
1 – Never
2 – Not very often
3 – Pretty often
4 – Most of the time
_____I like my personality
_____I like to learn new things
_____I’m happy with how I look
_____I can do many things well
_____I am satisfied with who I am – I think I’m essentially okay
_____Mistakes are great ways of learning
_____I’m as smart as most people
_____I am at ease asking for help
_____I believe my opinions are worth sharing
_____I am successful
_____I think well of myself
_____I don’t worry about what others think
Under 23 points – Your self-confidence is low, and your faith in yourself falters in new situations. Some of our tips for growing your confidence maybe helpful to you. You might be being too hard on yourself. Take the test again at another time of day, or in another mood. You may find that your overall score is higher.
24 to 35 points – You feel confident in multiple areas of your life, but confidence can drop in challenging situations or after a situation when you feel you didn’t do well. You have room to grow your self-esteem.
36 to 46 points – Your self-confidence is at a healthy level. You can learn from your mistakes and like challenging yourself.
47 to 48 points – This is an extremely high score. Less than 1 % of the population would score this high. Take the test on a couple of other days, reflect, and spend time on each answer. You may the find point total will change.
…we build confidence by remembering our successes, even when the success came later because we learned from our mistakes.
This test is subjective. Your answers may change based on your mood, or interpretation of the questions. Everyone has room to grow when it comes to self-esteem. Read on to find tactics that can help you build your confidence.
How to Build Confidence
Let’s start with situational confidence, times in which our confidence may fluctuate based on external factors.
I had a group of work associates in which whenever there was a new learning experience their confidence crumbled. I could see and hear their fear each time we met to train. Once I saw the pattern, I decided I could boost their belief in their ability to learn. I began to start new trainings with a review of their past trainings experiences, bringing up specific instances and examples. I sometimes asked them to remember Training X. How did you feel? How do you feel now? How long did it take you to get comfortable with the new skills? How about Training Y? Did you make any significant improvements or additions to the skills you learned over time? Each time I underscored that they not only mastered the skills, additionally they built on and improved them. I could see their confidence improve with each example. I’d wrap up their successful history with saying we’re at that learning point again. It may seem intimidating at first, but we know your history. In no time at all I am sure you will make it your own and turn it into something better! Their confidence helped them to increase their questions and their interactions during the training. They learned faster and more comprehensively.
We can all relate to this. Our confidence can falter in new situation, or pressure situations. If you begin to feel stressed in any circumstance, your self-confidence may be taking a hit. Take a minute to breathe deeply in an out. If you can, count your breaths during this exercise. You will feel yourself start to relax.
Take a quick body inventory and shake off any tightness you may feel. Then think back to times you’ve been in similar positions and brought about a positive outcome. If it’s new – remember the times you’ve learned new responses or new solutions, just like my group above. We build confidence by remembering our successes, even when the success came later because we learned from our mistakes. Every time I learn something I consider it a success. Look at whatever it is that is causing you stress, or insecurity. Remember it is an opportunity to gain experience. These opportunities come up again and again. Don’t get fixated on the outcome. There is usually no absolute right answer. You are just as likely as anyone to have or find the solution that works.
Be kind to yourself. If you inner self says, “You are going to blow this,” talk to yourself the way you would a friend. Tell your inner self, “I got this, I can figure it out. I’ve done it before.” Using positive talk to overcome negative feelings can boost your confidence in and of itself. It’s not just the words – it’s asserting your self and calling BS on the negative thoughts that are stuck in the past.
Thinking about future events is another source or stress of worry that can dilute self-confidence. Next time you find yourself worrying about a future event, anticipate what might happen. If you are headed into a meeting, a difficult situation with a friend, doing a new task or project – heck if you’re meeting someone from a dating site for the first time, use your imagination to predict what might happen. Think of the worst thing that could happen and how would you deal with that. Make yourself find a solution. Minimize the negative and emphasize the answer. What if I’m late, what if they ask me a question I’m not prepared for? What if it takes a long time to learn? What if they are intimidating? Preparing in advance is a great way to build your confidence. You’ll either astound yourself with how prepared you already are to manage whatever comes up, or you will become prepared. Either way you will have more faith in your abilities and in yourself when the event happens.
Because overall confidence is related to how we view our history, make a list of all the successes, great outcomes, or times you were able to help others, or figure out tough problems. If your list isn’t very long, ask someone who loves you to help you make a bigger list. Find a comfortable place to review this list. Relive each one of those moments and if you can, connect them to your senses. Make it come alive. How did it feel? What were the sounds you heard? What did you see or hear that confirmed you were successful? How did you feel inside? Did you see smiles, relief, the loss of tension when the answer came? Then for each experience remind yourself, “I did it. I handled this!” Repeat this process until you can easily recall it when you begin to feel insecure or worried.
You can repeat each of these types of exercises or steps for each of the questions you answered in the assessment.
Going forward, listen to your inner thoughts and challenge any negative or judgmental thoughts. If you start to feel sad, scared, or insecure, try to figure out the cause or source. Then look at the facts of your life and how you’ve proven your strength, courage, kindness, and ability to problem solve. If you have a hard time fighting off these feelings, or if you often feel negative about yourself, seek help. Find a person who you trust and who knows you well to talk about your feelings. You can also seek out a therapist. Everyone can receive help from a therapist. The most surprising insight learned in therapy, is that none of us is alone. Whatever you are experiencing or have experienced that is threatening your sense of worthiness has happened to others. Your responses and the way they affect you are likely to be similar to responses others have had. You are not alone. You are worthy, you are good, and you deserve to feel good about yourself.