October 3, 2018

Developing a Healthy Confidence

               The process of developing a healthy confidence can be a difficult task. The tricky thing with confidence is that it can be either over inflated or shot down depending on the circumstances. There is a lot of conflicting advice on developing confidence that may or may not always work. This uncertainty comes from the great variety of uncertainties that exist within different people. Before addressing strategies on developing a healthy confidence, it is important to explain the differences between being confident and being cocky.
                There is a misconception of what a healthy confidence can look like, especially when confidence and cockiness are mistaken for each other. According to the Oxford Dictionary, confidence is defined as "feeling or showing certainty in something".1 This certainty can be set in your own skills or qualities that will able you to handle any challenges that may occur. However, it is still possible to admit mistakes while maintaining that confidence. The Oxford Dictionary defines cocky as being "conceited or confident in a bold or cheeky way".2 When a person is cocky, they are being overly-confident in their own abilities without acknowledging their weaknesses. When a person struggles with their confidence, it can be a difficult task. Fortunately, there are small tricks that can help you develop a healthy confidence.
                Many people have a hobby or interest that they pursue in their free time. Spending time on hobbies is a fun way to increase a person's confidence in themselves. Participating in something that you already enjoy will help you to focus on a more positive mood. If your hobby involves some skills (such as drawing, knitting, etc.), taking time to practice these skills can help boost your confidence.
                It is also important to forgive past mistakes. While it may seem simple when pointed out on paper, it is something that is extremely difficult to practice. This allows you to not only learn from those mistakes, but also helps redirect your energy into improving for the future. I am guilty of occasionally not following this particular advice. It is easy to blame myself for screwing up rather than using it as an opportunity to grow. However, my confidence did improve when I remembered to practice this.    
                This can be extremely difficult to do alone. Fortunately, you do not have to be alone in trying to improve your confidence. Building a supportive community with trusted friends and family can be a great help in bolstering confidence during your lowest moments. When it seems impossible to see any  positive attributes, they can point them out at the darkest moments. It takes courage to believe them rather than the negative voices. They can encourage you to improve or be a comforting shoulder when things are difficult.
                Sometimes a lack of confidence can stem from feeling frustrated from a perceived lack of accomplishments. It can be countered by setting personal goals that are a manageable size. These goals can be completely customizable to your personal situation. For example if you are struggling with learning how to cook it may be easier to focus on learning a simple recipe before moving on to a more complicated one. Personal goals allow a gradual sense of accomplishments which will help improve your confidence while learning a new skill. It is important to remember not to judge progress by the time it takes to complete a task.
                Your level of confidence can be negatively affected during times of great stress. Mistakes made in moments of high stress can seem greater. It is important to remember to take mental health days after moments of great stress. This can include meditation, doing some physical activity (hiking, walking, biking, ECT) , exploring a new place or anything that you enjoy that helps you relax best. It is important to take these breaks because they allow you to avoid burning out. The risk of burn-out can make some simple tasks seem like impossible challenges to overcome. These days can allow you to take a step back from everything and re-assess from a different angle.
                Another trick to help boost your confidence is to avoid using negative language when talking about yourself. The terms you use to describe yourself to others or in private can also affect your confidence. This can be a difficult task because it can be tempting to use them more readily. One tactic that may help counter that is to write a list of positive statements about yourself. When it is tempting to use negative language, take a moment to look at the list if you have it ready. Slowly replacing the negative language will help gradually improve your confidence.
                These tactics are not meant  to improve your confidence right away. They take practice and a great deal of time which can make it frustrating. It is important to remember that a healthy confidence does not always mean getting rid of all of your insecurities or doubt. It is okay to have moments of doubt or insecurity because they allow you to be self aware of areas that need a little more growth. The important thing is to develop the confidence to acknowledge these doubts but not to allow them to overwhelm you.




Endnotes

1. Definition of confident in English:

confident
adjective
1.Feeling or showing confidence in oneself or one's abilities or qualities.
‘we require outgoing, confident people able to approach large groups’
‘people who are confident in their identity’
More example sentences
Synonyms
2.Feeling or showing certainty about something.
‘this time they're confident of a happy ending’
‘I am not very confident about tonight's game’
               
From English Oxford Dictionary entry: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/confident

2. cocky

adjective
Conceited or confident in a bold or cheeky way.
‘we were young, brash, cocky—we knew everything’
‘a cocky playboy with a desperado mustache’


From  English Oxford Dictionary entry: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/cocky

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