We are not only the products of our thoughts but also our emotions. Our thoughts and emotions give us the definition of who we are in the larger society. Buddhists often say that the self is an illusion. It’s fragile and subject to change. You are one academic test away from believing you are the smartest person alive to you’re quite dumb. But in this article, instead of a profound philosophical discourse on the existence of the self, let’s instead focus on pragmatic ways to enhance your self-confidence. How does self-confidence differ from self-esteem? What about self-control? What is more important?
Defining self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy
Self-confidence is harder to define because it is used so often and often confused with self-esteem and self-efficacy. But, we need to define it properly before we can talk about how to enhance your self-confidence. Lexico.com, an online dictionary by Oxford, defines self-confidence as “A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.”. It is a belief that a person has on herself that she can face everyday challenges thrown at her. It is broad and stable and is concerned with an individual’s estimation of their overall capability. It is based on our past experiences and future prediction of how likely we are to get things done.
Self-esteem is related to self-worth in that it relates to how positively or negatively we regard ourselves. People with high self-esteem feel that they are fantastic, worthy, and everybody loves them. People with low self-esteem feel that they are not enough and less worthy than others around them. It is an amalgamation of self-efficacy, self-confidence, feelings of self-worth, self-respect, etc.
Both high and low self-esteem seems to be detrimental. A balanced, realistic, but optimistic view of oneself is ideal. Too much self-esteem results in narcissism, and lack of self-esteem results in low mood and worthlessness.
Self-efficacy relates to an individual’s beliefs about their ability to handle future obstacles. Self-efficacy is future-focused as contrasted with self-esteem, which is more present-focused. The difference between self-confidence and self-efficacy is that self confidence takes both past and future into account whereas self-efficacy is more future focused.
Are self esteem and self confidence even worth it?
There seems to be a correlation between high self-esteem and high self-confidence with better physical, mental, and social wellbeing. High self-confidence makes children perform better. It is linked with job satisfaction. Confident people are generally happier. Self-confidence also seems to boost the chances of survival after serious surgery.
Too much of a good thing
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. During the West’s self-esteem movement, children were made to feel very special for little to no accomplishment. It didn’t seem to cure depression but instead seemed to enhance narcissism and arrogance. Children considering themselves to be superior may have contributed to a lack of motivation and drive to work hard to achieve a goal.
So, shall we ditch self-confidence altogether?
Enhancing self-confidence in the right context can enhance performance. Praise can be given to children to boost their confidence but only for socially desirable behavior. Instead of praising everything children do and trying to shield them from every hurt, letting them deal with failures and disappointments might be the right thing to do.
Fear and Courage
Fear has a utility. It exists to protect us from physical danger. However, in the modern world, we are left with unwarranted stress and anxiety in the absence of physical dangers. Past guilt, failures, and negative feelings make us stay in our comfort zone and not take any action.
Courage is the ability to do something that frightens oneself. Courage is embracing fear. Courage understands why fear exists. Courage is doing what’s right despite the presence of fear. Confidence comes from practice. You need to practice, practice and practice to be able to enhance your self-confidence.
So, what are these 8 ways to enhance your self-confidence?
There’s no magic pill that you can take to enhance your self-confidence. Although there are some things, you can start doing from today that will make you better than you were yesterday. So let’s list some ways with which you can enhance your self-confidence starting today.
Body language matters
Whether or not Amy Cuddy’s research is right about significance power postures to enhance your self-confidence but, appearing confident is part of learning to be confident. Keep your body relaxed and open, free of tension. Back straight, stand tall.
Be here now
Learn to be present. Practice mindfulness. It’s been studied that mindfulness has a positive impact on self-esteem.
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any moment. All you need to do is to become aware of your awareness. You can be mindful of your breath, bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions. You can practice mindful eating or walking. Whatever you do, all you need to be is aware of your awareness. And in case you notice your mind wander, gently, without any force, go back to becoming aware.
Exercise release endorphins, which brings us into a positive state of mind. Exercise not only boosts mood and confidence but also is an excellent method to train our brain. Sleep and exercise are often attributed to a boost in intelligence.
Nervousness and excitement have similar physical symptoms. So, whether we think that we are nervous or excited is merely our perception. So, we could change our frame of mind and convince ourselves that we’re just really excited.
Visualize the process
Law of attraction. Visualizing outcomes doesn’t work. But, visualizing the process seems to work. Visualize yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. Imagine yourself giving a speech in front of an inattentive crowd if you fear public speaking. Imagine how you would tackle such a situation in much greater detail.
Let yourself make mistakes and take risks
Get out of your comfort zone. Do things you usually wouldn’t. Strike a random awkward conversation at a library. Make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Making small mistakes and learning from them is a lot better than never making one and committing a disaster.
Coldplay said, “If you never try, you’ll never know.” The Comfort zone only keeps on shrinking, the more we hide in it. It expands the more we explore out of it.
Be compassionate to yourself
You are not perfect. You should not expect yourself to be. You can strive to be better, grow, and adopt a growth mindset and be mindful that perfection is an unattainable goal. Perfectionism is the crucial reason behind mental health issues among the current generation. Instead of expecting oneself to perfect all the time, it is better to learn to be a bit nicer to self. Give yourself a little space, a little time. Practice self-care. Love yourself. Enough though love is a bit weird.
Learn to ask for help and to help others
Asking for help takes a lot of courage. We want to do everything on our own. Sometimes we need to let go of that ego and reach out. It’s also an excellent exercise in forming social bonds.
Gratitude. Helping others also boosts our confidence. Collaboration is a weapon towards a more remarkable result. Kindness uplifts not only our social well being but also our mental and emotional well being.
Lesson to learn
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You aren’t likely going to gain massive confidence overnight. It’s an ongoing process. It’s a practice. Look for your life areas where you would like to be more confident and work on them regularly. A person can be very confident in one aspect of their life and lack it in another. A professional actor might be very confident about their acting abilities but not confident about their singing abilities.
Too much self-esteem can lead you to be like the former orange president of the United States. Self-confidence grounded in the reality that comes from your hard work, persistence, perseverance, learning, and insight would be ideal.