It seems obvious that self-confidence might be a necessary ingredient for greater happiness and personal satisfaction.
But according to Psychology Today, self-confidence is the essential ingredient when it comes to living a happy life. It’s tied to reducing fear and anxiety, and creating the resiliency to handle life’s rocky moments.
So, why is it that most of us spend so much of our life wrapped in worry, feeling unsure of what we think, feel and believe? Most of us even dismiss our gifts or attribute them to luck, or good choices.
The truth is that we were all born with self-confidence.
It’s astonishing, though, that our self-confidence and self-esteem peak at the age of 9 and then plummet 56% by the time we are merely 12 years old, according to the New York University Child Study Center.
We peak at 9 years old!
It’s hard to imagine, but most of us recognize that we aren’t as confident as we could be, but also don’t really know what to do about it.
We read articles, try meditations, or even leave post-it notes on our bathroom mirror – hoping that something will finally reignite our self-confidence (and our happiness).
Yet, if you’re anything like me, those solutions are only temporary. Certainly the reminder to feel more confident is nice, but it doesn’t last and it doesn’t bring long-term happiness.
When it comes to building self-confidence, my personal journey was led by a few friends and mentors who supported and helped me midwife my own true happiness. One of them included my mentor, the late Debbie Ford, whose last book was appropriately titled, Courage.
In Courage, Debbie shared that self-confidence often begins with the recognition that courage and confidence were always ours to claim. When you learn to look at your life through the lens of possibility, you start to see multiple examples of your own confidence and courage. By recognizing that you’ve been able to exhibit confidence in the past or in particular areas of your life, you’ll begin to build a foundation of confidence upon which you can expand.
In addition, Debbie also taught me that true self-confidence stems from faith.
In truth, most of us tend to put our faith in our fears, our disappointments, our negative qualities and our mistakes instead of having faith that something bigger truly holds us.
When you begin to build the muscle of faith, you begin to trust in bigger ways – allowing you to take chances and develop new competencies that help you feel good about yourself.
Think about it for a moment – just like a baby learning to walk. She trusts that with every move, she’ll be able to support her weight so she keeps testing and pushing, until one day she sees that she’s able to do it! And then with each new step she builds the confidence she needs to get across the room.
She has faith that she’ll be held and that trust begins to propel her out into the world.
The same is true for you, my dear.
The more you’re able to take new steps and build upon your successes, the more confident you’ll feel.
Now, I know that seems simple, but it really can be.
All too often we wait for a sign or absolute assurance that the steps we take in life will come with a guarantee. It keeps us playing small and, as a result, beats our confidence down so that we never take action.
What I’m suggesting is that you fight against that urge to run and hide and instead remember that sweet child you once were – the one who, before the age of 9, was ready to take on any new challenge with excitement.
I carry a picture of my young self with me on my phone, and clients carry theirs in their pockets, wallets, car or purse, to remind us of the innate confidence that lives within. And unlike the post-it notes on the bathroom mirror, this particular reminder connects us not to some mantra or message, but rather to something that already exists inside of us.
Confidence is available to us all. It’s our birthright.
And because statistics show us that having more self-confidence is the single-most important ingredient for happiness (something most people seem to desire), then it makes sense to focus our energy and efforts on building it.
For me, self-confidence has led to some pretty beautiful things. It’s allowed me to ditch my people-pleasing, overachieving ways and instead learn how to set boundaries and get my needs met. It’s also allowed me to fully claim my worth without always seeking validation or approval from others. It’s also allowed me to embrace my life’s true purpose – all which have made me a happier person overall.
As you move through your week, I invite you to build your self-confidence. Remember to look for the examples of when you truly owned your confidence and then build the faith that, no matter what step you take, there will be something or someone there to catch you – it might even be you!. Notice the impact this shift in perspective, and perception, has to offer.
Want to continue this conversation? Join me tomorrow, July 18, on my Hay House Radio Show as I interview special guest and self-love junkie, Irene Elias as she talks about how to feel more confident in who you are!
P.S. One of the best ways you can grow your self-confidence is by learning how to set boundaries. I’ve created Boundary Badassery, The Pocket Guide, to help you get started! This is the complete guide to having the tough conversations, and navigating difficult situations, so you can set effective boundaries with ease! And, since you can keep it right on your phone, it’s like having me with you in your pocket! Grab yours today!