Most of us know self-confidence when we see it in others, but when it comes to feeling self-confidence in ourselves, some of us struggle.

Ironically, not appearing self-confident can be something that those with less self-confidence criticise themselves for, as they may feel they are holding themselves back from success. They may think ‘I can see how confident people behave – I just need to do the same actions’.

Watching how other people behave, and copying them to appear self-confident can help. However, if you really wanted to learn how to play a sport, e.g. football, you would need to do more than just watch other people playing it.  You would need to :-

  • Practice the skills
  • Learn the rules
  • Understand the rules
  • Understand why the players do what they do (e.g. move into certain areas of the field at a specific time)

The good news is that self-confidence can also be learnt and acquired, but it is most sucessful if you are prepared to put some effort into it.

How Confident Do You Appear?

As confidence shows in your behaviour, your speech, your tone of voice, and the way you move (body language), you can check the lists below to see how confident you may appear to others.

ConfidenceLow Confidence
Willing to praise othersReluctant to praise others and prefer to draw attention to themselves
Standing up for what you believe in, and being willing to ‘back yourself’Behaving in a way that you think will please those around you
Weighing up the likely risk involved, and being willing to take moderate emotional risks (e.g. asking someone for a date, sitting an exam that you might fail)Being fearful, and avoiding taking low or moderate emotional risks
Not easy to offendEasily offended
Admitting your mistakes, and learning from them.Trying to cover up your mistakes, and perhaps disowning them when asked (“It wasn’t me”)
Being content to know of your own accomplishments, and not requiring frequent praisePublicising your accomplishments as much as possible to as many people as you can
Appear composed with an open body postureAppear unsure, or alternatively brash and overly confident
Accepting compliments graciously.Dismissing compliments, or explaining them as being due to something or someone else (e.g. “Mary helped me bake the cake – I couldn’t have done it on my own”).

What Is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is made up of: self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Self-efficacy is the confidence that we (and people like us) can achieve what we want and learn important skills. Thus, even if we have not achieved in a particular area, if we see people like us (same skin colour, same ethic group, or same socio-economic background) achieving what we want to do, we can have the confidence that we can also reach those goals or learn those skills. Self-efficacy encourages us to strive to achieve our goals, and withstand the inevitable setbacks that everyone faces from time to time.

Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. It is the belief that we can cope with whatever life throws at us, and that we are entitled to basic rights, such as being happy, safe, loved, etc. It involves feeling that you are a worthwhile person. This can come from the feeling of being accepted and approved of by the people around us, but also comes from a feeling within ourselves that we are good people, regardless of what others think. 

It is important to realise that low self-confidence (i.e. self-efficacy and self-esteem) is not a factual assessment of your abilities. It can be affected by a great number of things – e.g. your health (physical or mental illness), your experiences in the past with authority figures such as parents or teachers, your current situation with authority figures such as your boss, and relationships with your friends or family, etc.

There are four steps to self-confidence, and I will cover the first one in this article. The other three will be covered in next week’s article.

Step 1: Taking stock of what you already have

List what you already have achieved

Make a list of what you have achieved so far in your life. Perhaps you have passed your driving test, raised children, held a job for several years, or emigrated and made a success of your life in your adopted country. 

Include your hobbies, and personal attributes. Perhaps you are  a keen swimmer, or stamp collector. Perhaps you are known as a kind and caring person, someone who will listen to others. Whatever your hobbies and personal attributes, make sure that you write them down.

Make a list of these achievements, and refer to them every morning!

List your strengths

Use a technique called SWOT Analysis to list your:- 

  • strengths
  • any weaknesses (you can improve on them !)
  • opportunities that you can see for yourself
  • any threats to your desired goals in life

You are unique, so it is not usually useful to compare yourself with others, especially in a negative way.

List what you value

Start thinking of what you really value in life. This is important as you can ensure that your goals fit your values, and thus you will find it easy to work on your goals.  As an example, if your goal is to qualify and get a job as a long-distance truck driver, but one of your values is you think it is important to be home with your family, this may create conflict in your mind.

Talk to yourself positively (in your head!)

We all talk to ourselves in our heads! It’s important that this self-talk is positive and encouraging. Speak to yourself like you are encouraging a close friend, and practice positive self-talk. This is like having an optimistic coach inside your head.

Examples are:-

‘I am doing really well’, ‘I can make it through this event / exam / interview’, ‘I have succeeded at this before, and I can do it’, ‘I’ll do the best I can, and be proud of myself’, ‘Well done!’.

Concentrate on the present

There is little point in ruminating or worrying about what happened in the past. If you feel that you can learn a lesson from the past, then learn what you can, and move on.

Worrying or negatively anticipating what events could happen in the future is also best avoided. Of course this does not exclude sensible planning for events in the future.

In my next blogpost, I will cover how to plan your goals, monitor progress, and steer yourself towards your goals.

If lack of self-confidence is bothering you, please feel free to contact me at Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy on 0403 932311, or email for a free phone consultation.

Hypnotherapy can be especially useful for helping you:-

  • look differently at events in your past
  • practice positive self-talk
  • concentrate on the present (rather than worrying about the past and future)
  • motivate yourself towards your goals.

We can discuss your specific requirements, and there is absolutely no obligation to proceed with hypnotherapy unless you choose to do so.

© Lisa Billingham, 2018

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