Confidence, at least healthy self confidence, is something most people would like to have more often. In seeking to become more confident though, it can be useful to explore what self confidence may or may not be.
So what is confidence?
Is it feeling superior to others? Is it being single minded or stubborn? Is it about being unaffected by other people? Is it about being self-centred?
A dictionary definition of confidence may be a helpful place to start. The Oxford Reference Dictionary states confidence is..
“firm trust, a feeling of certainty, sense of self-reliance, boldness”
Regarding the expression ’self-confident’ it states…
“having confidence in one’s own ability”
I think we all have our own idea about what self-confidence is and how we experience a sense of our own self confdence or lack of it. Your own ideas may be different from the above descriptions.
Why is it that some people seem to have more confidence than others?
This is a big question and yet it is relatively easy to offer a plausible answer. It really comes down to how a person perceives the world and in particular how they perceive themselves.
If someone has a sense of themselves as being a person of low confidence, then they are more likely to retain that feeling of low confidence. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their thoughts about themselves will influence their actions. Their actions will provide feedback to their perceptions of themselves.
A person who lacks confidence may avoid challenging situations. They will want to stay within their comfort zone. In doing so, they are not learning anything new because they stick to what they already know. Their life can become routine and they feel like they are in a rut but fear jumping out of their rut. This “trap” increases their perception of lacking confidence.
How does a person get low confidence?
Well, if you accept the fact that no one was born with low confidence then you must also accept that low self-confidence must be a learnt response and behaviour. What can be learned can be un-learned.
Some possible reasons for low confidence are:-
1) A mother or father had low self-confidence and passed this way of being onto their children
2) Past achievements have been belittled by someone of influence
3) A mistake was made and the consequences (loss of job, relationship, money, home) made them feel bad about
4) A repetitious bullying experience at home, school or place of work
5) Mental, physical or emotional bullying
6) Unhealthy psychological processing of events (always seeing the negative side of everything)
7) Unrealistic goals that are never achieved
8.) Living in the shadow of a parent, sibling, friend or colleague who are consistently successful
9) Always being compared by a parent, sibling, friend or colleague to another person
10) An experience of being a victim that has been accepted permanently.
How do people who have good self-confidence keep it?
These people continue to do many things, consciously and unconsciously to keep their self-confidence in a healthy state. Yet, it is important to realise that although confident people may always appear that way, they too can also suffer doubts to their confidence.
A temporary period of low confidence can occur when some events do not go well for them. These could be:-
1) A personal relationship issue (separation, divorce etc)
2) Loss of a loved one through death
3) A demotion at work
4) Not getting that expected promotion at work
5) Loss of the home
6) A sudden shock (near-fatal accident)
7) An illness
After this difficult experience has moved into the past and been dealt with, they will recover their self-confidence. In fact going through an upsetting experience can lead to stronger and more resilient self confidence because they were able to handle it.
There is an expression that highlights this …
“What doesn’t kill us has the potential to make us stronger”
Is it possible for someone with low confidence to gain super self-confidence?
Absolutely, however, a better aim would be for healthy self-confidence. You see that over-confidence may be just as bad as low confidence.
I am sure we have all met that person who says a lot but when it comes to delivery, they are generally unable to live up to their hype.
In fact, an externally over-confident person may be a person who suffers from chronic self-doubt and low esteem. They just try and mask their low esteem by a display of over-confidence. You may recognise them as being that person who was the loudest in your peer group. They may have been the bragger who said they could do so much and yet there was little evidence to support this.
A healthily confident person doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone, least of all themselves. They do their best. They aim to stretch themselves and are able to accept responsibility for success and failure.
The idea or experience of failure to a confident person is just feedback. It gives them more information enabling them to make a better decisions and increases their chance of success the next time.
Another aspect to a person with healthy confidence is that they are themselves. They do not need to pretend to be something they are not. There is no need to brag or boast or talk-up their life. They are what you see and they can admit to being wrong.
Hypnotherapy and Better Self Confidence
Hypnotherapy is often used to help people with low confidence to feel better about themselves. This is acheived through putting to bed any past experiences, relationships or events that may have undermined the natural growth of the person’s esteem and confidence. The regular practice of self-hypnosis helps to reinforce the new way a person views themselves.
Healthy self confidence can make an enormous and positive impact on your life. If you have ever suffered from a lack of confidence, take control of your life and do something about it. A hypnotherapist can help you feel better about yourself and to then go after your life goals.
Steven Harold BA(Hons) DCH DHP
Clinical Hypnotherapist – Heanor, Derby, Ilkeston, Ripley