How confident are you?
Is this something that you’ve consciously thought about before or is it the first time you are considering the question?
The way that each of us judges ourselves will be different.
Are you very confident in your work? You hold meetings with people who are at the top of their game. Important and influential people. You take that in your stride so of course you’re confident.
Are you the life and soul of the party? You’re the one telling the jokes and keeping everyone entertained.
You love the limelight ‘Of course I’m confident’
It’s great that you have the confidence to do these things.
But what about other areas of your life?
You may be confident at work but what about at home? What about in relationships?
If you’re the life and soul of the party, how do you feel in smaller groups or when talking one-to-one?
Do you have the same level of confidence then?
If the answer to having confidence in other areas of your life is that you don’t, that doesn’t take away from the confidence that you do have.
However being able to do something in a confident manner isn’t necessarily the same as ‘being confident’.
So what does it mean…..?
What does it mean to be confident?
True confidence comes from the inside.
What do you see when you look into your own eyes?
True confidence starts with how you feel about yourself.
If you love yourself, like yourself, respect yourself and have belief in yourself, you will be feeling pretty confident!
It’s possible to appear confident, and even feel confident sometimes, when it isn’t real.
If you’re really good at something then you may feel happy to express this in front of other people. As you are happy to do this, you deem that to be confidence.
You’re good at singing. You’re at some event where everyone stands to sing God Save the Queen. No-one is really sure of the words and neither can any of them hold a tune. You’re happy to sing loud with your gorgeous voice so that others can muddle along with the words and ride on the wave of your tune.
“Wow that feels good! I’m leading everyone. I’m confident!”
The test of that confidence would be when someone makes a negative comment.
“Who does she think she is?”
Suddenly that euphoria you felt turns to horror.
The confidence that you felt wasn’t confidence as such but you knew you were better than everyone else at doing that particular thing and so it felt safe to put yourself forwards.
A nice, safe environment where you couldn’t go wrong. You knew your ‘craft’ and were happy to demonstrate it.
True confidence is when you feel good about yourself deep inside.
If you want a real scientific look at self-confidence then this paper, whilst a serious and heavy read, may interest you.
False confidence isn’t necessarily when you’re consciously putting it on and pretending. It can be such as the examples above where you are good at something and can therefore do that specific thing in a confident manner.
False confidence can be in the sense of pretend confidence, or in the sense of imagined confidence.
Pretend confidence is easy to understand. And pretending that you’re confident does serve a good purpose.
It can give us the courage to do something if we think that others don’t know how scared we are.
We put on a confident front and go ahead to do this thing, despite how we are feeling inside.
This can open up a whole new world for you. You can find yourself going to parties, acting in a play, meeting bosses at work and all with a smile.
It will have given you opportunities that you might otherwise have missed.
The downside to pretend confidence is that you don’t enjoy these events as much as you could.
You may also go home and tear yourself up with what you did or said. “Oh no, I laughed too loud.” “Oh dear, what I said to so-and-so was stupid”.
So is false confidence a good thing?
Yes and no. It has great things and not so great things going for it.
The other type of false confidence is:
One level of imaginary confidence is along the lines of the false confidence examples that we spoke about before.
It can be when you are good at something and therefore don’t feel the worry and inhibitions that usually go with you doing something.
You know you’re good at singing / accounts / telling jokes / running a department, and therefore are happy to do this knowing that there’s little danger of someone challenging you and embarrassing you.
The other level of imaginary confidence might be when there are different versions of yourself in different situations.
Probably the most common example of this is looking at the person that we are at work compared to the person that we are at home, and again the person we are when we’re out with friends.
Are you a different person depending on where you are and who you’re with?
If so, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and isn’t necessarily to do with confidence.
In any group of people, you will fill a certain role. In one group of friends you are the leader. With other friends you are the organiser. The reason for this will be that in the first group you are the best leader out of everyone there. In the second group someone else is a better leader than you and so they naturally take that role and you fall into another role that you are good at.
So in that sense, most of us will have a different hat on depending on who we’re with and what we’re doing.
Wearing a different hat to fill a role, and wearing a different hat to hide your true self are two very different things.
If you recognise that you are different at work and at home for example, you will probably have an inkling as to what it's about.
Do you feel yourself putting a ‘face on’ when you walk into the office at the start of the day, or do you put that ‘face on’ when you arrive home?
In either case, the mask represents someone that isn’t you.
There can be many different reasons for this but here, we are talking about confidence.
If you wear a mask at work it might be to hide the feeling that don’t feel your good enough at what you do. You worry about others judging you and your work.
If you wear a mask at home, you don't feel you can be yourself there. May be your partner puts you down leaving you feeling inadequate and questioning yourself all the time.
So who is the real you?
Think about when you feel the best about yourself.
Conversely think about when you feel the worst about yourself.
When you feel the best about yourself is likely to be the real you.
Likely because it will be the least effort for you. You are the most relaxed because the way that you are being at that time, is coming naturally to you. It flows. You aren't acting.
Consider the various hats that you wear. Which is the real you?
- The confident person at work
- The quiet person at home
- The laugh a minute person with your friends.
Is the confident person at work a front that you put on to get through the day?
You then get home and retreat into the safety and comfort of yourself.
When you’re out with your friends do you pull out all the stops to make sure you are great company. People will like me better then.
Are you a confident person who is very happy and a peace with yourself. You’re confident at work because you have great self-belief and self-love. You may not always be the best at what you do but you give it your all and are happy with your performance.
When out with your friends you let your hair down and have a good time.
When you go home however, you feel instantly constrained by your over-bearing and jealous partner. You daren't comment upon any conversation you’ve had for fear of it upsetting them. It's safer to stay quiet.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are sometimes confident and sometimes not, consider which of the characters that you present to the world is the real you.
You will then have a starting point as to which area of your life needs attention. You want all of your persona's to be a reflection of you but just playing a different role. This is different from pretending to be someone different in order to fulfill the role.
Can you be too confident?
In terms of true confidence, I would say that no, you can’t be too confident.
If true confidence is about loving yourself and being happy with who you are, what you think and how you present yourself to the world, then I don't see how there can be too much of that.
I do think however that we can be seen to be too confident if it’s not real.
Is confidence a skill
- If we learn how to be confident then there is a chance that it isn’t coming from the heart. If it isn’t coming from the heart then by default, it must be put on.
- If we’re putting it on, it's not so easy to know how much is just right.
Difference between confidence and arrogance
If we are pretending to be confident, it is an act. If we are acting a part, can we be sure that we are doing it right all the time?
We don’t necessarily have an innate sense of how to do it. We’re guessing how it's done by watching others that we deem to be confident.
Not always as easy as it looks.
You may assert yourself a little too much. You may or may not notice yourself doing it but even if you do, the horse has bolted and you can but smile and cringe at what you’ve just said or done.
Having banter with a crowd of people – or indeed just one other- with false confidence can be a minefield.
It is often the person running on false confidence that gets mistaken for being arrogant.
This won't necessarily be what they have said but the way that they’ve said it.
Arrogance v confidence is a fine line and can simply be down to tone of voice. If you aren’t speaking through real confidence then there is a chance that you might overdo some aspect of your 'performance' and so be taken the wrong way .
This is where the arrogance v confidence issue may raise it's head.
This is where it may be deemed that someone has ‘too much confidence.
It’s usually the polite way of saying arrogant.
So, tips in not coming across as arrogant:
Remember that the opposite of confident is not a quivering mess. You can be confident without being the most confident person in the room.
Also remember that confidence doesn’t necessarily mean that you're happy to dance on the table. You can be a quiet, confident person who just doesn’t enjoy larking about as much as the next person.
Only true confidence brings inner happiness and peace.
Another word for confidence
Is there another word for confidence?
Not as such, but what other words would come into play to describe your life if you were truly confident?
I think happiness would be a word that would be more easily used if you were fully confident. It’s therefore another word that might indicate confidence.
Success. Not actually another word for confidence but again, it’s a word that’s possibly more likely to come into a description of you and your life if you’re are fully confident.
What’s your level of self-confidence?
Signs that your confidence could do with some work:
- You worry about what other people think
- You question your abilities
- You replay over and over things that you’ve said and done
- A night out carries lots of concerns about how you might interact with others.
- If you recognise yourself in any of these points, you might consider talking with a therapist or life coach
- SCHEDULE A CALL
Talking through what you are experiencing will enable us to discover why this is happening, and change it.
Four Simple Steps to Confidence
I’ll be with you at every step.
Sounds too easy, right?
“How can you help me when I haven’t got any idea where to start?”
You’ve had these issues for a long time and haven’t been able to sort them out by yourself.
I have years of experience in helping people just like you.
Schedule a call now and let’s talk about it.
Look forward to speaking with you soon!
Telephone: 01323 648819