Self-confidence is important for moving through life in a pleasant way. How exactly does self-confidence come about? And why does it sometimes falter?
"Am I asking a stupid question?" "Am I doing a good job?" "Do they like me?
Uncertainty can play a role in many aspects of your life - at work, during education, and in friendships. And while it's very human, insecurity can be damn tough. Shannon: "Self-confidence is about: do I dare to take things on; do I trust that I can do things? And that's not a static thing, but a changing process that continues throughout a lifetime.
How does self-confidence work?
In psychology, we distinguish between two essential pillars on which your development is based, namely your innate predisposition - nature - and the experiences you gain in your life - nurture. Both of these influences also determine how confident or insecure you feel in certain situations.
Did you receive a strong personality from your parents? Then that has a favorable influence on your self-confidence. Have you been laughed at once during a presentation at school? Then that affects your self-esteem.
Sometimes this happens structurally - for example in cases of bullying. Avoidance can then occur: you avoid situations in your work or social life in order not to be exposed to that bad feeling again.
Social media or not?
The use of social media is up for debate when it comes to self-confidence for good reason. Shannon: "We are group animals, we want to belong. Realistic or not: it is human for us to want to conform to the ideal standard presented on social media. If you notice that you already naturally struggle a bit with your self-image, then using social media will likely reinforce this.
"Realistic or not: it's human that we want to live up to the ideal standard presented on social media."
Culture also plays a role in self-assurance. In our society, for example, individual performance is central, while in Asia the collective is predominantly considered more important. So individual failure also carries more weight with us: if you don't know what to do or if you don't succeed, it feels like your own fault.
The adage 'let's keep it fun' is also very prevalent among us. This is not very helpful if you feel ashamed or vulnerable. Good to know: often these feelings diminish as you get older: our ability to put things into perspective grows with age.
Increasing your self-confidence
Does it matter for your self-confidence whether you are at home or at work? 'To a certain extent. Of course, company culture and a good job match affect how safe or unsafe you feel in a job.
But the experiences that made your self-confidence - for better and worse - you always and in every situation carry with you like a backpack. Fortunately, that backpack is not closed: it is always possible to add relatably and strengthening experiences to it.'
1. Realize: it's normal
Everyone feels insecure at some point in their lives. Even artists who are performing in front of millions of people for the umpteenth time. Being insecure is not weird or stupid.
2. Focus on the positive and celebrate your success
Every night write down 3 points for yourself, focusing on what you did well or what went well because of your actions. (For example: 'I cooked healthy for myself today').
3. Ask people around you for your positive attributes
Often the image you have of yourself is unfairly a lot less rosy than how other people see you. Ask, "When you think of me as a person, what comes to mind?
4. Don't compare yourself too much to other people
Don't look at other bodies, careers, achievements or houses: focus on yourself and neutrally assess your own situation. It is not realistic to compare yourself to a top athlete when you have just started exercising. Training your mind is the same way you train your body: practice a lot and routinely, and it will become easier and easier for you.
5. Look at yourself with leniency
Do you regret something you said? Do you think you made a mistake? Think about what you would say to a friend who would be in your shoes. Write it down and say it to yourself in the mirror.
6. Take a critical look at your social media
What does social media do to you? If you find that using it sometimes leaves a negative aftertaste, consider what can go out the door and what you really enjoy. Set a maximum usage time for yourself and consider: what all could you do in the time it leaves you?
7. Set the bar a little lower
Even performing a few percent less is still more than enough. You don't always have to be the person working the overtime. Don't always try to improve your sports times. The house doesn't always have to be spotless. Good is good enough.
8. Replace "I must" with "I may.
And see if you still feel like doing something then. Also allow yourself not to do something when you need a moment to yourself.
9. Try talking to a psychologist
Psychologists are there to ask you constructive, critical questions - to see which ideas about yourself are correct and which are not, and how best to deal with your insecurity.
10. Give yourself time
Insecurity doesn't arise overnight. It also means that it doesn't disappear overnight. Allow yourself time and space to deal with it. Focus on the steps you take and the progress you make, not so much on the end goal.
Share it at The Gram on the BYOU app or book a no-obligation consultation with one of our BYOU psychologists. They will be happy to help you with your personal challenges and go deeper into what works for you and what doesn't.