Successes and failures in life almost never have to do with a person’s personality, but with what that person does, his strategy, approach, motivation, knowledge, circumstances…
Self-confidence is the key to success on every level!
A saying that is an integral and almost inevitable part of everyday life. Numerous thinkers have emphasized self-confidence as a powerful weapon, and it seems to be at an even higher price today.
The assessment of our own value depends on the criteria we take into account, the moral values we have, as well as the assessment of the significance of certain characteristics and achievements. Thus, for some, the basis for self-confidence and self-esteem can be material wealth, for others, academic achievement, status in society, physical appearance, or self-realization. Self-confidence and self-esteem, which is based on good knowledge of oneself, one’s qualities but also one’s shortcomings, which relies on one’s own strengths and values, is much more stable and resistant to changes in conditions and quality of life.
It can be said that today we are bombarded by the phenomenon of self-confidence in the media. It is presented as a sine qua non (a condition without which one cannot live) of every activity and striving for success, even the quality of life. Numerous methods, tips, courses are offered… Self-presentation, highlighting, proving and self-promotion are brought to the fore. It seems that only what is in the foreground is important, the prominent SELF that is presented as important, strong, valuable, and desired. The basic question is whether this media and general offer really speak of the development of true, stably based self-confidence or the construction of a mask, form, image with which we present ourselves in the world, but behind which is not the same quality. The same media, on the other hand, have a strong influence on creating a bad image of themselves and feelings of inferiority in most people, because they force success, image and lifestyle as well as physical appearance that most do not have and will not have. In a modern consumer society, self-confidence is seen as a product, sought after and offered as something that has a high value and price, and can be bought and mastered through a two-day course or book. Numerous self-help books offer advice on how to reach the holy grail of positive psychology – high self-esteem – self-confidence. It presents itself as a powerful tool for success and happiness.
Let’s consider it a little.
What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is not something we are born with and inherited. It is being built and developed. The very concept of self-confidence is related to our cognitive assessment of ourselves. Assessment and opinion are formed in accordance with the information we receive primarily from the primary family, and then from the wider social environment. Based on all this, we create a healthy or dysfunctional image of ourselves. Personal assessment (self-assessment) is not an isolated process but is in constant interaction with our feelings and behavior. And just as our thoughts manifest on our emotions and behavior, so do they affect our thoughts, that is our self-esteem and thus the development or reduction of self-esteem.
Through the process of growing up, without experience, we make uncertain steps. Parents, as the most important support in the beginning, play a decisive role in building a personality. The idea of ourselves is how we see ourselves, how we describe ourselves, including our inner states, where we begin with cognition in the first months of life. The relationship with oneself is built mostly on the basis of parental reactions, comments they send us, how they think and verbalize about us, when and how they praise us… These parental comments, compliments, insults, opinions, and remarks, are actually decisive for the child’s view of himself. They are decisive for creating the very foundation of self-confidence. We build a picture of ourselves through our experiences with other people, the way we were treated, in addition to parents, and by the wider environment: relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches, colleagues, friends… Also, we build a picture of ourselves through activities we engage in because the level of self-confidence depends on our early successes and failures.
When a child accepts himself and loves himself, has a healthy and positive image of himself, he actually knows himself. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, as well as his strengths and limitations, what he can and cannot do, what he is good at, and what he has yet to learn…
In general, a positive attitude towards oneself brings self-confidence as well as self-esteem.
Our mood is a changing category and changes in accordance with everyday situations, while the issue of self-confidence is a much more stable and complex thing.
True self-confidence implies the absence of anxiety, self-depreciation, and rigid self-examination as a person, which leads to the person behaving spontaneously, authentically (as he really is), without fear of others, potentially negative evaluations (criticism, ridicule, or insults). That a person behaves naturally, that he feels calm (without anxiety and shame), and instead of being primarily focused on what others think, he is mostly focused on the task (action) he is performing at a given moment.
Consequences of poor self-esteem
As we have seen, we carry through life the programs we received during our early childhood. Due to too many repetitions, we have adopted them as the truth, and the consequences are negative feelings that over time create unpleasant manifestations, which we call self-doubt or lack of self-confidence. What is essential at a low level of self-confidence is the tendency to construct a chain of frustrating thoughts that actually block people from doing constructive things for themselves. It is created through dysfunctional, irrational beliefs about one’s own value. In the focus of thought, constant self-criticism is in force, which is directed to various aspects of one’s existence, from abilities, appearance, possibilities…
Self-assessment leads in the direction of complete inadequacy of the person, where achievements are minimized, while mistakes are exaggerated. The complete thought construction is negatively directed, and thus conditions the appearance of various negative emotions. This is most often followed by the lack of an assertive way of communicating, which creates problems in relationships with other people, and the consequence is passive, passive-aggressive as well as aggressive communication. Low self-esteem has very undesirable consequences, increases emotional vulnerability, leads to fear, shame, anger, hurt, feelings of loneliness… leads to underestimation of personal abilities, increased anxiety and depression. In any case, the quality of relationships with others decreases.
When we have a sense of inferiority, we tend to value others more. This leads to meeting the expectations of others, we are obedient, submissive. However, it can also manifest as competition and boasting, then the tendency to provoke admiration from others by surrounding yourself with less successful people, or quite the opposite – socializing exclusively with successful people, because it creates the illusion that we are like that. Also, a low level of self-confidence is manifested through a tendency to focus too much on ourselves, where we become blind to others, which automatically disrupts communication. And there are too many expectations from others… Feelings of inferiority, it is widespread and there are many ways to try to hide.
Thinking all the best about yourself and glorifying yourself is not self-confidence, it is narcissism or a false belief in our own superiority, in the idea that we are better than others and that we are worth more. Behind this narcissistic facade, there is a lack of self-confidence.
As we have seen, low self-esteem is often manifested and its manifestations are manifested in different ways. And one of its key features is the need to deceive others, to propagate self-confidence that it really isn’t (and it’s not always easy to recognize).
Misconceptions about self-confidence
Self-confidence is not some invisible fluid that can fluctuate and vary depending on what a person is doing or experiencing. Stressful situations and events can spoil the mood or can lead us into a depressive episode, but that is by no means a drop in self-confidence. These are the phases and reactions that happen to everyone to unpleasant situations and circumstances. Mood swings should not be associated with one’s own personality. It is important to keep in mind that self-confidence is not mixed with a good mood, which is actually a common misconception. Namely, our mood is something that is a changing category and changes in accordance with everyday situations. And discontent is something that occurs to everyone. The issue of self-confidence falls into a much more stable and complex category, as we have seen.
Paradoxically, many companies encourage a sense of inferiority, because the only thing that matters is the success, image, and lifestyle that most people will not have, as well as the appearance of the models on the front pages. Therefore, it is very difficult to be at peace with yourself and all your qualities.
The tendency towards prosperity and success in life is a model of Western society and is the aspiration of all of us. And self-confidence in the whole story is presented as an inevitable element for a successful and satisfying life. People with a low level of self-confidence are traced in the direction of anxious, insecure, and vulnerable people, while the opposite increases the likelihood of successfully “coping” with stress in life-unfavorable situations.
However, one should know that successes and failures in something sometimes have nothing to do with a person’s personality, but with what that person does, his strategy, approach, motivation, knowledge, circumstances, etc. It is often a matter of confusing this notion (self-confidence) with the certainty and ease with which an action or skill is performed.
An individual who successfully performs a certain action or skill, confirms his focus, as well as persistent repetition and practice. He may be highly confident when performing that skill, however equally insecure when performing another, which is not sufficiently automated. This example indicates that self-confidence or lack of self-confidence in performing a certain action or skill is associated with practice and experience. A person may be self-confident when performing one action, and insecure when performing another action that he or she has not practiced enough.
However, a truly self-confident person knows the level of training, dedication, or training in a certain field and, accordingly, expects the results of his own activity, as well as the reaction of others. Possession of certain skills (communication, organizational, commitment to goal or success, etc.) does not automatically mean that there is stable self-confidence and real self-esteem, but at the same time, developing these skills not only for formal progress but also for personal development and development our values, abilities and hard work, really leads to the development and strengthening of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Essentially, there is a cognitive conflict between false and true self-confidence.
Once a well-built mask, position, self-image that we show to others, as well as blindly following the values and criteria of greater transience on the ladder we set out on, can have form, and even a true experience for the person wearing it, real, constant self-confidence, if it depends on the role, criteria, and criteria of the current situation, with the passage of those conditions and that situation, it falls like a tower of cards. True self-confidence, based on real abilities and characteristics, as well as a willingness to make an effort and overcome obstacles and circumstances, is much less influenced by changing external conditions.
The solution to the dilemma is not in the approval and acceptance by others, but in the unconditional acceptance of oneself. And often in the time in which we live by society, it is implied that self-confidence comes from outside, that is, from how others evaluate us. People often feel inferior or superior in the opinion of others, and rarely give themselves that power. And unconditional acceptance of oneself is actually the key to true self-confidence, which means knowing one’s own values and shortcomings.
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