Self-confidence is the belief in your own ability when doing anything, by viewing yourself positively and realistically about yourself and your environment. (Densky 2006) In addition, you also need to believe that you have the ability to succeed. (Kent 2007) Self-confidence is also when you feel certain about yourself, your actions, decisions and opinions, and self-reliance. (Hawkins, Swannell & Weston 1998, pg141) Yet, self-confidence is a very useful and powerful tool for everyone to achieve goals and fulfill wishes. Everywhere you go and everything you do, self-confidence is needed for your accomplishment of what you did.
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For all these while, many people think that they know what and how self-confidence is, but why some of them could not succeed in what they did. This is because they do not fully understand what self-confidence really is and know the proper and effective ways to improve it. Actually, improving self-confidence is very much depending on one’s own self. Moreover, the ways to improve self-confidence are easy as long as you have a strong will to follow and never give up. Hence, self-confidence can be improved through inner of yourself by thinking positively, believing in yourself, setting realistic goals and learning.
Upon understanding what self-confidence is, it is encompasses to know how a self-confident person is. A self-confident person is an optimistic, loving, independent, assertive, eager, self-respect and self-control person, and believe and know well about own abilities. (Mitchell 2007) Physically, a self-confident person looks confident with positive body language and good posture. That are, standing, sitting and walking with straight back, grasping hands in front or back of body, walking with wide steps, firm handshakes, making eye contact and smiling are signs of self-confidence. (2 Know Myself 2007)(Raudsepp 2007) Your viewers will see you confidence and they will have trust in you as you are telling them that “I can do it”. When you talk, walk, think behave and feel, self-confidence is shown. (USA Swimming 2004)
In contrast, a lack of self-confidence person is a pessimist, passivity, distrust, perfectionist, sensitive to criticism and failure, inferior, isolated, self-doubt and depressed. (Mitchell 2007) Lack of self-confidence person always put on a sad, worry or confuse look, slump or bend shoulder when sitting and walking, and folding arms, sometimes with crossing legs. (2 Know Myself 2007) These positions labeled you as uncomfortable, unfriendly, annoying and not interesting which caused people around feel the same as you too. Your family members, friends and people around you will unlikely to approach you as you are telling them “Do not come near me”, “I can not help you” or “I can not do it”. Hence, you should not blame them for ignoring you.
The first and main way to improve your self-confidence is thinking positively. Thinking positively is being happy, healthy with optimism and powerful with hopes. (Lopper 2007) You have to be positive even though you are feeling negative. This is because thinking negatively is very much affecting your self-confident. You may have P’s with you when you want to do something, that is, positive because if you always think about negative things, it is sure that you will fail. (USA Swimming 2004) However, this does not mean that you are ignoring the negative events but you accept them, look for the best in the events, and obtain ways to turn them into positive. There, you will see opportunity and hopes to restart again. (Lopper 2007)
Moreover, for an example, you have lost in a competition. No doubt, you were feeling depressed, disappointed, angry, embarrassed, regretful and hopeless, or even worst, want to die. Initially, calm down yourself and recall some happy or past successes in your life included during the competition and success that you desired. When you are recalling, of course, the sad moments of the competition will make you more depressed and emotional. Then, you will keep on asking yourself, “Why am I so stupid?”, “I should have done that” or
“Why did I do that?” as these are negative questions that make you feeling negative. Now, you look for way and opportunity by telling yourself, “Yes, I can restart. I shall prepare for the coming next competition. I will try harder this time.” Hence, you will feel relief and happy and able to stand up again. Some events such as competition have second round but some events seem like no hope such as lost of family member. However, no matter how, there is always hope and you should forget the past and face the future happily. This is because your family member wants you to continue your life happily.
Firstly, you need to think positively by accepting and loving yourself. If you treat, judge or criticize yourself too cruel, you are lowering down your self-confidence. You should accept, be thankful upon what you have and feel proud of yourself, as there is meaning and value beneath it. Then, you should love yourself by taking care of your health, relaxing, awarding yourself when you have done well and advising yourself if you failed. Hence, you are feeling happy, good and positive with yourself. That is, you have your self-esteem and self-confidence. The most common negative view about oneself is the physical look, that are, not beautiful, not charming, fat body, too short, small eyes or flat nose. You must not compare yourself with others because it is a bad habit where you will forget what is good about you as you comparing you poor criteria with others will put yourself at the weak end. As a result, you will lose your self-confidence. (2 Know Myself 2007) Refer to Dr Sandra Scott, you must not chase after unattainable ideals but feel comfortable with the shape you are. (BBC UK 2007) According to Dr. Joe Rubino, accepting and being grateful of what you have, you can eliminate the feeling of incompleteness and dissatisfaction and peace your inner self towards confidence.
Secondly, you also need to think positively about the predicted outcomes. People who are lack of self-confidence are tending to predict the negative outcome before they start doing anything although the reality is not that bad. (Mitchell 2007) You must focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. For instance, you want to take part in the competition. Before the competition started, because of certain obstacles such as difficulty or feeling threaten by competitors, you predicted that you are not going to win the competition. The reality will not be worst as if you think if you have tried. There are some people claimed that by thinking positively, they even worst, that is, they failed and by thinking negatively can be more successful than thinking positively. These are explainable because they are too focusing on thinking instead of concentrating on what they were doing and they are some people who can use negative thinking to stimulus and challenge themselves. For example using self-talk, “I am scare to lose” or “You have to do it or you will regret”. Actually, thinking is your mental preparation before you start to do something. (USA Swimming 2004) Before you start your ‘engine’, thinking is the fuel to the ‘engine’; hence, you have the power to work for your goal as mental preparation provides you with confidence. As soon as you start, you must concentrate on making your goal alive.
Furthermore, you can generate positive thinking by listen and witness positive materials. (Zaak O’Conan 2005) You can see and model others’ successes can enhance self-confidence. (USA Swimming 2004) You can read from books and articles about success people, watch their performances and identify their hard work. That would be your idol. From them, you are not ask to intimate them but be motivated and inspired by them. Hence, you can improve your self-confidence.
The second way to improve your self-confidence is believing in yourself. That is, you need to think that you have the good in yourself. Hence, you figure out your abilities, strengths, intelligence, achievements or special skills through your interest. (Raudsepp 2007) The lack of ability does not necessary mean that you are lack of self-confidence. (Densky 2006) Therefore, you must believe and discover that you have something more special and powerful than others do, as every human is different. (The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC), US 2007) There is no one will always be the best. If you believe that “I can” and not “I can not”. If you believe “I am losing”, “I can not do this” or “I am out”, then you are really out as it is sure that you will not succeed. You must believe that you can be the best of you too.
As you believe in yourself, hence, you must know yourself by discovering who you are on your own as no one can understand more than you do. This is mean that you are being independent in improving your self-confidence. You are on your own and not controlled and influenced by other person on what you do and unwilling to be under others’ obligation. (Hawkins, Swannell & Weston 1998, pg346) You can be yourself and do what you want to do without having to wait for others’ approval. (Rybakov 2007) You do not have follow what others say or do, or let others create you, but you refer and create it in yourself with your own way. You do not have to be someone else although you admire to be that person. You can not force yourself or forced by others to make you become a person. You can be about something of your own. You can discover yourself by involving in community events, clubs and society in school or college or meaningful activities such charity or help someone. (Roker 2004) You will feel ‘contained’, useful and have hopes to live. You also realize that your life is meaningful.
As you believe in yourself, you must be assertive as you are sure about your judgments and you have you own opinions and thought. Therefore, you must be able to voice out your opinions to others. You should not let anyone treat you like a doll, taking and playing you around. If you know that you are fooling by others and you are very angry, you should not keep and cry inside of you because you scare to let them know your real feeling. As you being assertive, you are able to express your feelings and desires non-aggressively to let other knows. (2 Know Myself 2007) You assert in what you want and do not want, you do not hide yourself in the behind, you step up to pursue your desire. In addition, there most common expression that most people are afraid of is saying “No”. If you are sure that you could not do, tell them “No, sorry, I cannot do it”.
Another way to improve your self-confidence is setting realistic goals. Realistic goals must be achievable, neither too high nor low. The goals must meet your expectation and demand. Before that, you should understand your ability and create a reasonable standard for yourself. You cannot be good in everything. Too high standards or expectations will gradually weaken one’s confidence and have self-doubt. In contrast, too low standards may cause one to be over-confident as he or she will of course feel so easy to reach his or her goals which make he or she think that “I am the best.” (Stevens 2005) It is no good for you to be perfectionist who likes to set impracticable goals or high standard that hard to achieve for himself or herself and ends up self-confidence being degraded. (2 Know Myself 2007) A perfectionist will say “I want everyone to love me”, “I can not make any mistake” or “I want to be perfect”. (2 Know Myself) You should know that no one is perfect in this world. People will lose their confidence if their goals are not achieved. Hence, you can try to follow on your abilities, strengths, decisions and express yourself as confidence comes from you when you being the best of you and not being others. (Coan 2005) In fact, make good use of your talents and abilities, set your own achievable goals and concentrate in whatever you do. (Wix 2003) As you know what you can do best, you choose to become the “master” of your strengths by mastering the art of focusing your power in the most worthy rather than being perfectionist. From nothing, you increase your strengths which your self-confidence is improving too. (Swindell 2007)
Again, another way to improve self-confidence is learning. In order to have self-confidence, you must be willing to learn from experience and new things and keep on learning. Self-confidence does not come immediately as you have to learn. You will not always be the same that is why you need to enhance yourself. Self-confidence is fragile, hence, you learn to maintain it. This can be illustrated by knife which you need to sharpen it sometimes so that you can cut better and easily. For example, you have learned and practice to dance, hence, you can dance gracefully. Then, you stop and dance again after sometimes. You will not dance as graceful as last time but if you willing to learn and practice again, you will dance well again and if you keep on practicing, you even become better and better. When you learn well, you have understood what you do and you do not feel doubt or fear to do it as you have the confidence to do it already. Although you have learn well a skill, you must not stop instead you practice to maintain and develop it. You need to learn forever.
Specifically, you learn from experiences such mistakes, failures, criticisms and successes. Failure always makes ones feel lack of self-confidence. Failure will cause ones to feel. A self-confidence person learns more by making a lot of mistakes and failures. He or she does not scare of failure instead accept the failure and identify the reason of your failing. Failure is able to develop you and help you to explore the outer world. You are failing when you give up.(Rybakov 2007) As you make more mistake, you have learn more by trying again and becoming better with confidence then you will get what you dream for. (Rybakov 2007) When your family members or friends criticize you, you do not have to feel disappointed. You evaluate the critics, identify whether the critics are true. If it is true, accept and learn from it, and change it. If it is not, you can show them their mistakes of criticizing you.
You also must be innovative, that is, willing to learn new things such as new skills and knowledge. People who are self-confident will not scare to try new things instead like new challenges. As the world is changing rapidly, many things are changing too especially results of great invention and development of science and technology. Hence, we also should go with the trend and change to adapt to the new environment. As every new things or events come, our self-confidence will be lower because we do not know how to deal with them. Therefore, you should learn to handle them by developing yourself with new skills. In addition, you must be able to take risk as challenge, regardless big or small and the results, the process improves your self-confidence. (Zaak O’ Conan 2005) For instance, consider you do not know how to ride a bicycle and you want to ride the bicycle. You need to learn to balance your body when riding the bicycle. Of course, when you learn to balance, you will fell for number of times before you can ride the bicycle well. Here, you must not scare to fell, scare of pain as you take them as challenges.
Self-confidence is the inner self-management towards reality and positive of oneself and the world. People who are self-confidence have positive thinking, understand whom and how they are, trust in themselves, achievable goals, personality and strong will for development. We can maintain and build up our self-confidence by having favourable perceptions about ourselves and everything around us, conviction on your judgment and evaluation, hold on own self-concept, appropriate and real missions of life, and non-stop studying about life to increase standard of yourself. Self-confidence gives your power to live meaningfully. Self-confidence drives you to your dreams of successes. Although, self-confidence does not guarantee success, but, at least you have try to pursue what you wish for, and therefore, there is no regret at the end of your life. Therefore, close your eyes, think who you are and what do you want in your life, fill up your confidence and go after your dreams as time goes by fast and will not stop for you. On the other hand, you must know how to balance your confidence as do not have too much self-confidence, that is, overconfidence which may lead to failure too. It is improving and repairing your self-confidence, and not boost it up high.
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