I was contemplating on ‘confidence’ words that describe it, pictures I see in my mind and the feeling of confidence. While contemplation my eyes caught sight of the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. I thought this may give me some words to enrich my idea of confidence. I found not what I expected, hence, wondered the reasoning behind Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (2009) not including a definition for confidence. Further, when I examined words such as esteem, assurance, respect and honour they were missing too. However, confidence and esteem were coined with ‘self’. Hence, this gave me the idea to explore confidence within the concept of self. Self-confidence; it is believed that depending on the amount of trust put in oneself action is taken for the better or worse.
I was interested in the question ‘How much confidence is of benefit?’ This question has an underlying assumption that confidence can decrease and increase and have consequences. Hence, the terms no-confidence and overconfidence needs to be reflected upon. Before delving to these two terms there is a need to analyse how we relate self to our confidence. The self is what we need to understand. Once self is understood then we can relate to other aspects of life in this case confidence. We need to know the links between confidence and self. To realise self it is important to know our relaxed and happy state. In other words a calm state of self. To achieve a state of calmness we need to be in control of the self and the environment. The state of sureness generate the level of confidence. The amount of control we have in an environment also can increase o decrease confidence and our zone comfort.
T he Circle of Life below shows us the components that has an impact on self to determine our worldly experiences. The inner circle represent the self ‘I’ that each of us are hopefully in full control. Meaning what we think, feel, say and do are within our control. A confident ‘I’ is portrayed when we are in our comfort zone. The comfort zone is where I can be ‘me’ and not be concerned about what others may say or do. This gives us confidence. To increase the level of confidence in each of the areas we need to examine our inner state. The question we have to ask ourselves is; How comfortable am I within myself in any of those areas? OR how happy am I about myself, when with family, at work, in the community, as a citizen of a nation and in relation to the whole world? For each individual the perception we hold will uniquely be ours and if we compare with another it is of no benefit. We need to answer these questions very honestly if we want to improve our confidence and in turn also be happy. With training we can become confidence in some areas but not necessarily happy. The other questions is; Is confidence with training worth at the expense of happiness? We must develop authentic confidence that will enhance our experiences. If we start with self honesty both confidence and happiness is possible. It will take to time to master the language, skills and thoughts to accomplish both confidence and happiness.
To be confident the key concept to understand is ‘acceptance’. Accepting ourselves as we are and knowing the strengths and weakness we have is the first step towards being confident. Dierking & Fox (2013) states that knowledge (more information) and power to choose increased confidence in teachers. Having autonomy and control is different from accepting. An increase of information has to be coined with acceptance to have a genuine impact on our confidence. As we are social and emotional being collaboration at many levels is required to nurture and maintain confidence (Dierking & Fox; 2013; Hanson & Poston, 2011) Collaborative works are within the frameworks of humanistic and interpersonal theories. I must also emphasis that the people who are considered believers are able to accept the reality with hope are more inclined to be confident (Chen, Brown & Kotbungkair; 2015). This is rooted in acceptance and trust n a higher power. Confidence is a complex concept when we examine deeply and holistically in the human social context. I believe each aspect that is related to a human will have to be looked from the perspectives of ‘The Circle of Life’ one holds. This will be the beginning of increasing our confidence with hope.
What can we do to be confident? Below is a strategy that you can follow;
1- Be honest – assess the situation starting from the self. On a scale of 1-10 how confident do you rate your self.? Once you have given a number then ask the serious question. Why have I given that particular rate to myself? To answer this question you need to do a simple Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWAOT) analysis. The SWOT analysis will give you information and an insight for you to plan and practice your confidence.
2- Be kind – If you find you have either no confidence or your are overconfident this needs to be addressed as well. Non of these two is healthy. You need to have confidence that is grounded and well balanced.
3- Be realistic – plan and practice confidence. We are not born with confidence. Therefore, we need to identify our achievable areas, plan with inbuilt critical reflection and practice in every opportunity we get. Must follow the plan vigilantly.
The above strategy seems simple. However, remember we are emotional humans. Due to the strong emotions we have, to engage logically may becomes challenging. If our emotions are controlled with logic and reasoning only, we may find our confidence to be dry and lack compassion and hard to connect with others. The right amount of confidence, emotion and reasoning create the connection to transmit our message with understanding.
I do hope this article gives you some insight to the idea of confidence. I have presented some views around confidence and I left the term ‘confidence’ to be defined by you for yourself. What does confidence mean to you? How do you see confidence? How do you feel confidence?