It’s time for another mental health check, and today we are going to cover something that I think is a struggle for almost everyone who exists on planet Earth… self-confidence. We got a message the other day that went like this, “My daughter is so worried about what other people think. Trying to get her to realize how little other people actually think about us and what we’re doing is a struggle, basically confidence in her choices and path.” SO. Self-confidence: why we lack it, underconfidence vs overconfidence, and how do you find this elusive euphoric feeling? Let us converse, shall we?
WHY DO WE LACK SELF-CONFIDENCE?
There are a great many things out there making you as a singular human being feel insignificant… be it the waves of oversharing and “look at me!” you see on social media, trolls, impostor syndrome, trauma, it really can be caused by almost anything.
- First, what is confidence by definition? “Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge.”
- Seems simple enough, right? But why do some of us lack it more than others?
- Psychologists say that a few of the ingredients that determine a person’s confidence level include genetics, temperament, cultural background, and early life experiences such as parenting style or a past trauma. Although those elements are generally out of our control, there are still plenty of ways to gain confidence throughout our lives.
- You’ve heard us talk about flipping the script on yourself before, and here we are to touch on it again. Having self-confidence matters because it’s basically driving all of your internal dialogue. Psychology Today says: “Being confident means knowing that you can handle the emotional outcome of whatever you’ll face. Begin by acknowledging every emotion, including difficult emotions, rather than avoiding them. Speaking up for yourself, limiting self-criticism, and other strategies can help build emotional strength and confidence.”
- Where do you fall on the scale of confidence – under, over, or right in the cozy place in between? Let’s see!
UNDERCONFIDENCE VS OVERCONFIDENCE
There are two sides of the coin of confidence, just like most things you deal with in life… you have underconfidence and overconfidence.
- Under confident people usually will back away from a new opportunity or a challenge; jobs, hobbies, relationships, etc. because they’re afraid of feeling embarrassed or afraid of failure. Hello, impostor syndrome, my old friend…
- Overconfident people can be perceived as know-it-alls or narcissists. Overcompensating for your own abilities can also lead to issues like failing an objective or not hitting a deadline on time.
- NARCISSISTS. Let’s talk about ‘em! Narcissism is defined as, “excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.” It can be due to insecurities and defense mechanisms. The difference between confidence and narcissism? Confidence will give you a personal sense of capability and competency, while narcissism is all about having a sense of superiority over others. We will attach an article or two about narcissism in the show notes.
- Why do narcs draw us in? Because we like those who are higher in narcissism better than those who fall lower on the scale… it’s because people overestimate how much self-esteem narcissists actually have. Narcs come off as experts and the authority most of the time, and that’s how they pull you into their web.
HOW DO YOU FIND IT?
This… can be tough. Coming from two people who hated themselves and were perfectionists in an attempt to outrun our impostor syndrome or past trauma… finding self-confidence is fucking hard sometimes.
- Practice makes you better. Notice, we didn’t say “perfect,” because that’s an impossible standard to chase. Practice and hone your skills so that you know your shit so well, nobody can question it.
- If we are talking about mastering a certain skill, study it. Get a mentor if you can, and bounce ideas off of them. Creating a collaborative environment with your peers is fuckin’ dope and you should definitely be doing that if you’re not already.
- Psychology Today has some great input on how to build your confidence: “Being confident means knowing that you can handle the emotional outcome of whatever you’ll face. Begin by acknowledging every emotion, including difficult emotions, rather than avoiding them. Speaking up for yourself, limiting self-criticism, and other strategies can help build emotional strength and confidence.”