Many people think these are the same thing, but in reality, they are very different. One can be faked, even if for a short while, to get you through that tough meeting, the high pressure presentation, the job interview; true self confidence or inner confidence cannot be faked. Unless you are lucky enough to have had life influencers that didn’t dampen the genuine inner confidence that is innate in all as very young children; it has to be focussed upon, to be developed and nurtured over time, to bring us back to our original self confident state.
What is self confidence?
I think that there are several elements that need to be developed fully in order to have true, unshakable self confidence. The good news is that by developing one of the elements, it seems to help the others too; they are not discreet aspects, they seem to build upon each other.
Elements of sustainable inner confidence:
Self belief is about trusting yourself and your abilities/skills and your judgement; it’s the believing that you can deal with any outcome to the situation in which you find yourself.
Self assurance is closely linked to self belief. Self assurance is the knowing that you are capable and you will succeed at what you do, without the need to get validation from others. You have total certainty in yourself. Belief is important to your assurance because when something goes wrong, you will be less resilient unless you believe that you will be okay, no matter the outcome. Self belief allows you to keep going; however, it is self assurance that gets you to where you want to be.
Self determination is having independence to determine and control your reality. If you understand and feel that you are in control of your life, that you have free will, you can choose your own beliefs and values, and then conduct yourself in accordance with them.
Self worth is how you value yourself; some people may also call this self esteem. Self worth is understanding and acknowledging that you are good enough and valuable as an individual; that you always strive to be your best.
Self love – This is feeling genuinely happy and positive and about yourself; it’s feeling energetic, excited and like you can take on anything! The more you have these feelings and emotions, the more confident you will feel. Loving yourself includes liking yourself, feeling proud of who you are and celebrating your achievements; which is also linked to my next point……
Self respect is taking care of and looking after you; this has both physical and mental aspects. The way you talk to yourself is as important as the way you treat yourself. We all have ‘self talk’ all through the day and this feeds our subconscious with messages about ourselves, who we are and builds our self image. It is important that you don’t beat yourself up and that you are realistic about your faults or mistakes and treat yourself with respect….This brings me to….
Self acceptance, this is accepting any faults that may have and understanding that they are part of who you are. This is important, as if you don’t accept yourself, then you will feel ashamed of whom you are and this will drastically undermine so many areas of your inner self confidence. When looking at your self confidence this is critical, as being aware of and accepting that you have aspects of your inner confidence that aren’t fully mastered, gives you permission to know on which elements to work.
I think that self acceptance is critical to your journey towards true inner confidence, along with respecting and valuing yourself, because until you have these and accept who you are now, you cannot begin to develop toward who you want to be in the future. In my view, all these elements are important and interlinked, so developing all of them is crucial and achievable.
To strengthen your inner confidence it’s necessary to take the time to build your awareness of situations when you feel less confident by noticing times when you feel nervous, unsure of yourself, uncomfortable or not good enough or when you hear your negative self talk. Understand the situations and then try to identify which specific aspect or aspects of self confidence are lacking. Having a journal of these occasions usually helps. After doing this a few times, you may start to see a pattern that will help identify which are key to focus upon first in order to build your inner confidence.
There are not many people that consistently have true inner confidence; however, they would all recognise that this destination is worth the effort and focus required along the journey towards it.