Self-confidence is characterized by: assertiveness, optimism, eagerness, affection, pride, independence, trust, the ability to handle criticism, emotional maturity, and the ability to accurately assess our capabilities.
What is Self Confidence?
Self-confidence primarily refers to us having a positive and realistic perception of ourselves and our abilities. A lack of self-confidence, on the other hand, is characterized by: self- doubt, passivity, submissiveness, over-conformity, isolation, sensitivity to criticism, distrust, depression, and feelings of inferiority and being unloved.
How Does a Lack of Self Confidence Develop?
- Experience: We often develop feelings of inferiority and hopelessness through various negative life experiences at home, school, on the job, etc. For example, when you were growing up your parents might have been unable to provide a healthy and supportive environment. They were critical, demanding and/or overprotective of you. As a result, you develop negative perceptions of yourself.
- Loss of a family member or close friend. For example: your parent's divorce, moving away from home for the first time (you are away from your friends and family), and breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Dwelling unnecessarily on negative events such as failures and disappointment, instead of using the event as a learning experience.
- Judging or criticizing yourself and your abilities too harshly. For example, you criticize and blame yourself for your failures and disappointment.
- Evaluating the outcome of situations as much worse than they really are.
- Experiencing too much pressure from your parents and/or peers to meet the demands and expectations that they set out for you deprives you of the opportunity to develop your own identity, independence and autonomy.
- Setting unrealistic goals.
- Fear of failure. For example, if you get a "F" on an exam you may think that you are a failure rather than that you are a perfectly ok person who has failed an exam.
How to Increase Your Self Confidence
- Think positively about yourself.
- Set goals that are realistic and will meet your expectations. For instance, set your goals at reasonable level so that what you accomplish is equal/almost equal to what you set out to accomplish. This can boost your self- confidence and self-satisfaction. William James , the father of psychology, said: "Self Satisfaction = What We Accomplish/What We Set Out to Accomplish"
- Reward/praise yourself when you have done well.
- Whenever something upsetting or disappointing occurs, be aware of your thoughts. Think logically about the situation instead of reacting merely on the basis of your emotions.
- Dwell on your strengths not your weaknesses.
- Realize that there are certain things that you are more adept and competent in than others, and that it is impossible to expect perfection in every aspect of your life.
- Do not attribute your achievement and accomplishments only to luck. Instead, give yourself credit for your own personal achievement.
- Learn to be assertive. That is, learn to express your feelings, opinions, beliefs and needs directly, openly and honestly, while not violating the rights of others. For example, learn to stand up for your rights and say "no" to unreasonable requests.
- Assertiveness training can be very helpful in building self- confidence and discovering areas of negative self-image.
- Make a list of what you feel are the major problems in your life. Then list ways to improve or change them. Chances are that not all of your problems can be dealt with easily or quickly. However, there are some areas where you can take immediate action.
Things to Remember for Improving Self Confidence
- Count the good things, not the negative
- Think positively about yourself
- Learn from your experiences
- Set realistic goals
- Be courageous
- Keep learning
- Live usefully
- Value simplicity
- Welcome change
Help! Where to find it.
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