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Self confidence is knowing that you can do something and do it well. We all have areas of high and low self-confidence. There are literally thousands of points of self-confidence, large and small, that affect you everyday. For example, you may feel self-confident about your career, but not at all confident in your love life. Self confidence is a self reinforcing system. The higher your confidence, the more likely you are to engage in that behavior….and the more you engage, the more confident you become. On the other hand, the less confident you are, the more you avoid the activity….and the more your self-confidence sinks.
Self confidence is totally different than self-esteem, although they intersect and effect your whole life dramatically. Self esteem is how you feel about and value yourself, even when you fail. Self esteem is created in early childhood. It is like an orange peel in the sense that it protects the personality from falling apart. Low self-esteem is healed by emotional experiences and usually requires psychotherapy. On the other hand, self-confidence is a force that propels you forward and develops later in life. If you were ridiculed by peers, teachers or parents in your endeavors, it lowers your self-confidence. Low self-confidence can frequently be improved just by springing into action!
In other words, your level of self-esteem answers the question, “Am I worth it?” Your level of self-confidence answers the question,“Can I do it?” Let’s look at how these two vectors of self-esteem and self-confidence might intersect with regard to your career and work.
Low self-esteem and high self-confidence: These people tend to be immensely successful. This is because they use their accomplishments to shore up their low self-esteem and make themselves feel better. But, it’s a short-term fix……so they move on to climb the next mountain, becoming more and more successful along the way, always fighting off low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can’t be fixed with achievements. But, achievements lend a temporary high. This group often becomes politicians, successful entrepreneurs, and movie, sports or music stars.
High self-esteem and high self-confidence: This group tends to be moderately successful because they are not driven to feel better. They already feel worthwhile and good about themselves. They are not compelled towards bigger and bigger achievements, but tend to have a comfortable lifestyle. They usually have friends from all walks of life.
Low self-esteem and low self-confidence: These individuals tend to be what we call “lazy”. They’re not really lazy. They just don’t have any expectation or feel deserving of success. They are usually very hard to motivate.
High self-esteem and low self-confidence: This group tends to be happy and content. They aren’t driven to accomplish much, and focus on enjoying life. Sometimes, they develop money problems that they have difficulty solving. They don’t expect much. These people can also be difficult to motivate.
Your self-confidence can be high or low relative to the following basic areas. Rate yourself in these areas as high, low or medium :
work___love___ sex___ parenting___ money making___ appearance___ sports or physical activity___ health____ driving___traveling___ math___ public speaking___writing___ making friends___ technology___dating___reading/studying____
- Pick one area of low self-confidence. Write a summary about the origin of your low self-confidence in that area. It could be that you were ridiculed in your early endeavors by caregivers, peers, parents or teachers. Or maybe you had a string of bad experiences as an adult.
- Over the next month, start doing that problem activity a few times a week. For example, if you have low self-confidence about dating, join a dating service and meet someone every week. Start flirting! If you have low self-confidence about your career, start going on interviews for any job you might like, regardless of whether or not you feel qualified. If it’s hard to get an interview, stop in at a few companies and talk to them about it. Start and complete some small projects. Don’t worry about getting results. This exercise is solely for the purpose of building your self-confidence. Results will come naturally at a later point. Make it a fun adventure.
- Congratulate yourself for every effort! Congratulate yourself for mistakes. They are just part of moving forward. Mistakes mean you are trying. Now, you are essentially reparenting yourself.
- Keep a journal of your experiences.
- Get rid of all the” to do” lists that are never finished. Instead, make a list of everything you’ve accomplished each day, cross those things off and congratulate yourself.
- Watch your self-confidence grow!
- If your problem is self-esteem, refer back to our self-esteem blog.
This article is written by June Peters, Ph.D, CEO. The article is based on reflections on over 2 decades of psychotherapy, thousands of clients, research and reading. If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We are a member of the Better Business Bureau. This article is educational. It’s not written to prevent or treat any disorder. It is not medical advice.