To accomplish anything, you need confidence. Confidence comes with self-awareness. Simple, you say? You wish, I answer. It is hard enough to be that honest with others; it’s even harder with yourself.
Christopher D Connors says that a “major component of confidence is the value you place on yourself. Confidence is about the faith you have in your abilities, the person you are, and how you view your most important relationship — the one with yourself.”
I have my moments but mostly I think I am self-aware. Do I behave accordingly? No, more often not. In the face of day to day life it is very difficult to maintain that confidence. What pulls me into line is the idea of being a role model. I have children, I work, I socialise and with this certain responsibilities are called for. My parents were role models. They left their homeland for the unknown. They may not have known they were confident but they were. How else could you go to a place where you had no language, no cultural similarities and very little knowledge of the terrain?
Confidence is about using common sense. Self-awareness plays a major role in common sense. It dictates what is easy, what is possible and how to approach your challenge. A good relationship with yourself (aka self-awareness) will allow the confidence to shine and lead you to accomplish. The trick is maintaining that confidence. Christopher summed it up in five points, points which inspired me to add my own bent.
Trying to rationalise the past: (DON’T): We went wrong. It’s done. Dwelling on what was, should be, could be erodes the little confidence we may have left. I have made many mistakes. I can make excuses, even valid ones but they won’t change anything. We can’t go back. Justifying prevents us from moving forward.
Hissy fits about not realising your potential: (DON’T): You’re not alone in this. Life gets in the way and forces side streets. It doesn’t matter, does it? If you are confident then let that can act as the impetus to get back on the main road. Go climb the mountain, go back to school, go stand on a red carpet with your Oscar but do it because you want to, not because you have a skewered idea of what you should have been. Side streets are interesting, learning vehicles. Potential doesn’t have limits; clocks do. Using that you can work with the now, realistically putting failure into the educational section of our mental library for research purposes.
Be surrounded by inspirational stories: (DO): Media gets a bagging for some very good reasons but on the plus side it gives us access to inspiration and motivation every day. A great example was reading this article. When I read an inspirational quote my imagination goes crazy and it brings out a boldness that surprises. Be your own inspirational story by confidently leading your life and showing love and caring in all you do. Adventures will follow.
Keep a journal of sorts: (DO): I keep a written one but am unfaithful far too often. I do however have a monogamous relationship with my internal dialogue centre. Christopher says we “become what we say and do, but one of the hidden factors of success is our ability to manifest positive thought encouragement to ourselves through the power of autosuggestion”. I freely admit talking to myself (sometimes even aloud). “I can do this” has been a relentless mantra particularly over the last few weeks. It kept me going.
Celebrate your win: (DEFINITELY DO): I am guilty of not doing this. Believe it or not I am quite shy so I run around excited when something good happens but then go silent because my non confident persona makes an appearance. Can anyone relate? It’s ironic considering this post which is all about confidence but insecurity is a wicked enemy. This is when we need that internal dialogue, the inspirational stories and the celebration. My dearest friend Julia bought me flowers when I published even though it needed work and probably still does (editing sucks) and it made me feel like a queen. I go back to that moment whenever I hesitate and tell the endorphins they can come out to play. Feeling good is something we want to repeat. Celebrating and endorphins hold hands.
I have my fingers crossed for you to have confidence. Can you please send some of it back to me whenever you can spare a little?
All excellent advice. Rationalizing the past is a particularly insidious thing to do, and something I fight against constantly. Better to treat your mistakes as a learning experience and move on.
I love the word insidious. It fits exactly. Great to hear from you.
Needed this right now! <3 I liked the connection between confidence and self-awareness – never thought of it that way before. Keep it up Barb! 🙂
Thanks Rosie but it is hard at times despite what we know. We just have to keep moving. 🙂
Wonderful article! And so many good points. I like them all, but I especially like the last one. I think we need to permit ourselves to be proud of our achievements. Not in a boastful way, of course, but in a celebratory one. If we work hard and achieve an important milestone, we should be able to enjoy it. The flowers on publication of your book, Barbara, sound like a wonderful way to celebrate.
And I also believe we shouldn’t only celebrate just our own achievements, but we should celebrate our friends’ achievements, too. Pass it around.
Thanks for a beautiful post, Barbara!
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Anna, what a wonderful comment. And you are right, celebrating should be for everyone.
Love it. I also think lack of confidence can come from not knowing who you are or where you’re trying to get to – so I agree with you Barb, self-awareness is a big factor.
No hissy-fits you say? 🤔 Well I’m getting that wrong!! Totally agree we need to re-conceptualise failure, so vital for our learning and growth.
I’m really good at hissy-fits but I’m Italian. It’s my excuse and I’m keeping it.
Wonderful post, yes it is best not to dwell on the past. I always ask myself will this matter a year from now or in two when dealing with present failings. I find that helps too. Ah, and I am always my own worse critic. Even in success I look for failure.
Thank you, it means a lot to have you say that. It’s hard not to be that critic.