Self-esteem... This is a huge topic. There are also a lot of misunderstandings around this term.
Have you ever heard: you are not confident enough? Or you need to work on your self-esteem.
It is a massive mistake to have this one word: SELF-CONFIDENCE as one word, and as one concept. It is a mistake to have it all in one word because this concept contains so many parts, and it can be better to look at each piece separately.
What do I mean by that? What is self-confidence? Is it about feeling enough? Or maybe about self-esteem? Perhaps it is merely thinking good about yourself ? Or maybe about accepting who you are?
I do not know a single person who would have that all, at one time.
What does it mean to be self-confident?
You can be self-confident in one thing or another but not self-confident in everything, and it is normal, and it is OK.
I am self-confident when I drive a car, but I'm not self-confident when I am cooking. Why am I confident in driving a car? Because I did this thing so many times that I gain self-confidence. You weren't self-confident in driving when you were a small child. Self-esteem is not a general thing. It is something you build with practice and with time. And the good news is: it stayed with you ones you gain it.
My friends say – I am not good at sports. What a general statement... How do you know? Did you try every game and you failed? Did you try enough to feel confident in at least one sport?
Let's say you can ride a bike comfortably, but you can not swim. Could you ride a bike from the moment you sat on it? Did you feel confident from the moment you started to ride? I don't think so. Same with swimming and other staff.
We gain confidence with practice and with TIME. And when we are confident in doing something, we feel confident as a person, or we start to feel confident. As confidence is something, you can build.
How to practice self-confidence?
- Try new things. And if you are afraid, that's good because it is normal. That how people feel when they try something new. Stay there and practice until you feel comfortable.
- Experiment. Step out from your comfort zone and stay there for a while. You can always come back and rest from new emotions caused by different situation. But do not hide again.
- Last but not least: do not focus on yourself so much. When I do present in front of people, I try to think more about them, not about myself. I say to myself they need me, so I will not run away or refuse to speak as maybe I can inspire them for a moment.
- Do not take criticism so profoundly and so severely. Everybody has a write to have an opinion. So people can have an opinion about you, and you can have a different idea about yourself. You can take from other people words only what you want to take to grow. You can also reject what they say about you. It is as simple as it is. I was told when I was a child I have long nouse, I have never paid attention to it as I believe I have a typical nose and I have never even focused on my nose so I hardly ever notice it. I see my face as a whole. And I like it.
- Do not let people words define you or put you down. It is your choice to make it happen or not. Yes, it is.
That's your formula:
Do something new and step out from the comfort zone -> stay there and get familiar with new sensations -> try again = with time the unfamiliar becomes familiar (natural for you).
Feeling confidence in one area in life teaches you to feel confident in another area. As the path to self-confidence is similar. When you feel satisfied in sports, you switch to the next section, e.g., work. You are confident with one thing, then practice second thing until you feel confident in this new thing. For example: If I am self-confident in sports, I can also be confident at work. With your belief of being self-confident in one area of life, you build self-confidence in other. Do you get the concept? Not many people are born with confidence. I hardly ever seen a child having this self-confidence 'general thing'. It is something you build by practicing.
By gaining confidence in new things, we become more self-confident as a person because we add fresh ingredients to our lives. We become better in small areas of our lives. Hence we feel more confident in general.
We have so many roles in our lives. I can feel self-confident in one role but opposite in another. Am I feeling confident as a person in general? We can feel confident in one role, and at the same time, we feel not confident in another role. I remember I always felt confident at work, but when I become a mother... I felt that I am not a good mother – I felt completely lost... Why? Because with time and practice, I gain confidence in being a better mother.
Now I can say I am confident at work and home with me being a mother. Still – I am entirely not confident when it comes to cooking. Do I feel ok with that? Yes, I accepted the fact that this is not my skill, and because I don't like cooking at all (tried and tried) I will focus on something else;-). It doesn't make me feel like the worst mother to my child. And the story can go opposite - my friend is a mother of 4 kids, and she is very confident in this role. Now when she wants to work as kids are older, she doesn't feel enough confidence event to look for a job - that's what she tings. People say to her this is because you were sitting home for so long, you lost your self-esteem and self-confidence... Bullshit.
She has excellent skills: organizing skills, hard-working - the only thing she needs to do it to try and practice. She needs to stay in discomfort for a while and unfamiliar (working outside the house) will become familiar (like working home as a mother before). So if she goes for a few interviews, she practices, and learn new skills until it will become familiar. And then she can work in a new workplace and every day will bring her more and more confidence in the new role - which is an employee. The critical insight here is: do not define yourself by negative beliefs. Stick to believes, which makes you successful, e.g., I am good at work as I worked home a Mather of 4 kids so I will also be okay while working outside of my home.
I believe in you. The key to your self-confidence is that you believe in YOU – step by step, by doing, by expensing, by experimenting and by talking to yourself positively. With time - by collecting pieces of self-confidence - you feel you have enough to say: I AM SELF-CONFIDENT. I have the skills and mindset to create a fulfilled life in every area of it. And I start to build it now, with every hour and every day. This way, I grow.
Have a great life.