What does it mean to be Confident?
I’ve asked myself this many times over the years. I was constantly searching for it but always coming up short.
It’s taken me years of research, therapy, courses, blood, sweat and an ocean of tears to finally find an answer.
It’s my answer and it’s complicated.
Confidence comes from the root word confide which means to trust and I define it as the belief that I am, always have been and always will be ok, no matter what life throws at me.
There are some facts and myths around confidence that are worth taking note of if you’re on a confidence journey:
It doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. Confidence is about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
It varies throughout our lives, sometimes throughout our day. It all depends on the situation
You don’t have to be born with it, even though some people are born with seemingly higher levels of self-esteem or feelings of self-worth, it can be learned. It’s a behaviour, a habit, something that is strengthened through repeated action.
There are 3 “Confidence Identities” that I’ve theorized from my own and my clients experiences. They are defined by how we feel and how we show up and are part of a spectrum of a variety of thoughts, feelings and behaviours around the topic. I share them only to help shed light on what it looks like to be genuinely confident.
This is defined by feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth and a lack of trust in ones abilities.
Some ways to identify under-confidence:
-You tend to be an under achiever or you don’t like to feel too challenged
-You prefer “safe” situations
-You stay quiet even when you have good ideas to share for fear of being wrong or judged by others
-You see others who speak their mind freely as aggressive, pushy and “attention hogs”
-You tend to blame others for triggering you
-You blames others/outside forces for your lack of action
-Feedback makes you very uncomfortable
-You avoid confrontation
-You aren’t comfortable in a leadership role
-You are too agreeable
-You apologize too much
-you are indecisive
This is defined by the thought that one must out-perform or be better than others in order to feel self-assured or “worthy”. Worthiness must be earned.
Some ways to identify feeling over confident -You would call yourself an over achiever
-You are irritated by feedback and it makes you feel defensive.
-You are quick to pick out faults
-You feel better about yourself when you are performing better than others
-You base your worth on your achievements
-You only feel important or worthy when you have goals
-You aren’t comfortable being led by others
-You must be seen as successful
-You rush into situations too quickly for fear of missing out or someone else taking the opportunity
The last identity is the “sweet spot” and it’s…
This is when you know that no matter what happens in life, you are worthy, your are complete and what matters most is to learn, grow and to choose happiness.
Ways to identify you are genuinely confident:
-You enjoy to challenge yourself
-You believe there are no mistakes, only learning opportunities
-You know you don’t have to achieve or win to be “worthy”
-You know your goals and your career don’t define you
-You speak up when it’s helpful to do so
-you enjoy collaborating with others because you recognize that “two heads are better than one”
-You value other strengths because you know your own
-You understand you are responsible for your actions and reactions to people, in other words, you know you’re “feeling triggered”, not that “someone triggered you”
-You feel good about the decisions you make in life because you know what you want for the future.
-You welcome feedback as a means of growth
-You are ok to have discussions, debates and disagreements because you know that sometimes they are necessary for growth.
-You value others opinions and viewpoints
-You are comfortable being a leader or follower, you are happy to be a part of a team -You have clear boundaries
-You define success as being proud of yourself and your actions
These are not exhaustive lists and I’m sure they could and will be added to but I think it gives clarity to where you may be leaning from one moment to another.
Remember, there’s a spectrum and you may identify with some areas of one type or another in different circumstances but you most likely have a dominant way you are “showing up” in your life currently. For instance, I recognize being more under confident in my youth and more over confident in my twenties and early thirties as I tried to “prove my worth”.
It’s only through awareness that I currently identify as being genuinely confident. I do my best to sit in the middle, where the pendulum is steady, it takes conscious effort to stay there and I sometimes swing a little to one side or the other but recognizing the learning and growth that comes from the sway is what keeps me centred.
To discover more about how to practice genuine confidence, check out the Confidence Boost Course I’m currently offering here https://www.wavesociety.ca/registration
No matter where you fall today, you are enough, you are worthy and you are loved,