Confidence is a construct – it is not real, it is an idea that we have about ourselves and others and we tend to link that to our feelings – If we think we can’t do something, we feel scared and then we decide we aren’t confident. If this passing thought becomes a habit, then we repeatedly tell ourselves we are not confident and it becomes a reality for us.
Often people label us with this idea from an early age. “He is very confident because he speaks up in class” “She isn’t as confident as him” etc. When we are younger, in particular, we tend to believe what others think, especially our family – we have trusted our family with the notion that they know us well so whatever they say about us must be true. BUT is it? How does anyone know what we feel inside each day, each moment?
We need to be careful what we say to others and the labels we give them and we need to be careful to check our thinking and feelings against others ideas about us.
It is natural to feel confident some days and not others. It is also natural to feel confident with some things and not others, depending on how much we have learnt about them and how much practice we have had. The growth mindset helps us add the word ‘yet’ to our self talk about confidence – I am not confident with that thing yet but I am confident with other things so its not about how confident I am as a person, it is always about how confident I am with a particular activity. If I decide I am not a confident person, it means I am already assuming I can’t do that activity or I might find it difficult and we tend to get results linked to our expectations. It’s much more powerful to talk about how confident we are with different tasks rather than a sweeping generalisation on how confident we are as a person. Do you agree?
If you knew that confidence is not about who you are, it’s about the things you try to do and it can increase with practice, what would change for you?