What is self-confidence?

I’ve always been fascinated by people who are clearly self-confident.  How do you know when you meet a genuinely confident person?  What do you believe they’re like when no-one is looking?  I’ve come across a number of beliefs – or perhaps I should say ‘myths’ – that people hold about those they believe to be confident which used to include me:

They tend to take people at face value and they, therefore, also tend to believe that confident people have got it ‘all together’, that they don’t experience the fears and doubts that we all, on occasion, suffer from.

This is far from the truth.  Yet, there are a number of things that make self-confident people different:

When life throws them challenges they are determined to help themselves.  They totally reject the idea that they are passive recipients of whatever Life sends them.  They accept that things won’t always turn out the way they hoped but – and this is another trait of self-confident people – they accept that sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t without feeling miserable and resentful.  It doesn’t mean that they’re not disappointed.  It doesn’t mean that they never experience self-doubt.  What it does mean is that they don’t wallow in self-doubt or ‘the unfairness of it all’.  Truly self-confident people will do their best for themselves, not to please others.  They also accept that there are things they can control, e.g. their own behaviour and that there are things that are outside their control, e.g. setbacks and challenges big and small that are not of their doing.  They know that it’s not what happens to them that makes a difference but how they react and respond to what happens to them.

Self-confident people also experience bad days and are, therefore, not immune from the Gremlin (the critical inner dialogue) but, because they have a strong foundation of resilience and self-respect, they are in a much better place to deal with it without allowing it to drag them too far down.

An important quality I mentioned above that sets self-confident people apart is their self-respect.  They have clear personal boundaries and are willing to educate  – not hit back or retreat – those who cross the line.  This alone makes a huge difference when it comes to developing healthy relationships.

An unexpected quality of self-confident people is vulnerability, a quality identified by Brene Brown.  Click here to watch her talk on TED ‘The power of vulnerability’.  Her video is definitely a ‘must see’.

In my case, although vulnerability tends to be regarded as a weakness, I have made a conscious decision to make myself emotionally vulnerable.  My way of expressing my own vulnerability means not pretending to have it all together, not pretending I’m in control, not pretending to be what I’m not.  Exposing myself to the extent that I do requires courage and, for me, a sense of purpose.  I don’t think I could do it if I didn’t feel good about myself.  Recognising and accepting that I’m a flawed human being has made me less judgemental, more tolerant, understanding and compassionate.  These are qualities that my clients appreciate the most.

But getting to this place has been a long journey which, with the benefit of hindsight, has been powerful, profound and rewarding.

How confident do you really feel?  Do you really like and trust yourself?  Are you OK if you get it wrong and are you willing to learn from the experience?  If not, you might consider working with a coach or mentor who truly understands you, who champions you and stands by you come what may.  Perhaps you’d like to contact me to see how I can support you in creating a rich and rewarding life.  If you do, let’s chat:

Sue Plumtree

The Life Enhancing Specialist

Tel: 020 8940 7056

Mobile: 07903 795027

Email: sue@sueplumtree.com

Website: www.sueplumtree.com

Twitter: @sueplumtree




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