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Friday, March 30, 2007 

Components of Confidence

It's been a while since I posted so I decided to give you these two posts by Colm O'Reilly, enjoy!

8 Components of True Inner Confidence

Confidence really is thrown around the place as something that everyone needs to have and should develop. “Be Confident” is the main piece of advice given to every nervous guy in the world. But confidence is this ethereal, intangible thing that's so vast it makes it almost impossible to just “be confident“. Despite the well meaning intentions, “be confident” is usually bad advice because the follow up question is always “How do I be confident?” Well, if you don’t know what exactly confidence is, focusing on the how won’t help you much.

So what exactly is confidence, then? Confidence is multi faceted; there are components that need to be mastered in order to have true, lasting, unshakable inner confidence. I break confidence down into eight areas, which cover the all the quadrants of living: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical (actions). These areas are not completely discreet and separate, but overlap each other. Working on one area will have a knock on positive affect on all the other areas of your confidence.

1. Self Acceptance means understanding who you are and accepting your faults. It’s only after you begin to accept yourself that you can begin to change and grow into the person you want. If you don’t initially accept yourself, you’re constantly feeling ashamed of who you are. Self acceptance also means accepting the level and pace of your growth, and giving yourself permission to be you, and permission to fail. Self Awareness forms a large part of self acceptance, as you develop the ability to notice which other areas of confidence you’re lacking, accepting that, and then working to rectify them.

2. Self Respect: Taking care of yourself and treating yourself right. This includes not just the actions you take but also how you talk to yourself, which is so important it cannot be understated. You’re going to be talking to yourself all day, feeding your self image and subconscious with messages of who you are. Are you going to beat yourself up all day, or treat yourself with respect?

3. Self Esteem is the value you place yourself. Recognising and affirming that you are good enough, worthwhile and valuable. As a part of self esteem, it means not accepting what you consider substandard or second rate behaviour of yourself and others.

4. Self Belief: Trusting yourself and having faith in your judgement, skills, and yourself as a person. Self belief is the thought that regardless of the outcome, you’ll be able to handle it. No matter what happens, you’ll be okay.

5. Self Love: If you think about the euphoria of falling in love a large proportion of that is the same with confidence. You feel energetic, excited, and like you could take on the world. With practice, building these feelings inside of yourself will really boost your overall confidence. Confidence and happiness are usually synonymous, just like love is a powerfully positive and blissful emotion. Loving yourself includes liking yourself. This concept might be difficult to grasp at first, as the phrase “he loves himself” is usually derogatory in today’s culture. I’m not referring to egotism here, but genuinely living and loving yourself.

6. Self Assurance: This is what most people with say when you ask them what a confident person is, self assured. Being aware of your purpose and being the one to validate yourself, rather than looking to others to validate us is a major part of self assurance. A difference between self assurance and self belief is akin to the difference you feel when you say you know something as opposed to you trust something. Knowing includes absolute certainty in yourself. Without belief, however, your resilience to setbacks and loses will crumble. Self Assurance is just knowing that you’ll succeed at what you do, self belief is knowing that regardless of the outcome, you’ll be okay. Both are necessary and complimentary. Self belief is what keeps you going, self assurance is what gets you there.

7. Self Determination is freedom, being in complete and total control of your reality. With Self Determinism you are the ultimate authority in your own life, deciding what your values and beliefs are, and then acting in total accordance with them. You make the rules of your own reality.

8. Self Admiration: It might go against the grain to suggest that people become proud, but I’m not suggesting egotism. I chose the word admiration over pride because of the negative consequences usually associated with the word. It’s okay to be proud of who you are, to acknowledge and celebrate the great things you’ve done and the fantastic person you are!

I’m not entirely sure whether some aspects of confidence are higher than others. I definitely belief that only focusing on one aspect without working on all areas will leave you vulnerable and your confidence incomplete. Self Assurance, Determinism, and Admiration are definitely what people think of as being the key components of confidence, but without accepting, valuing and respecting yourself you can’t possible hope to develop them. I think that loving yourself and believing in yourself permeate all areas of confidence, can be worked on all the time as you can always develop greater levels of love and belief.

This model of confidence can be used as a diagnostic tool to gauge your own confidence. When you feel unconfident you can look at what specific area of confidence you are lacking in, and then work on it.

So if, for example, you feel nervous and unconfident about talking to a stranger, you can ask yourself “what specific area of confidence do I need for this?” Do you think you’re not valuable/worthy to talk to her (Self Esteem)? Are you nervous in case she doesn’t like you (self acceptance)? Can you not see yourself being happy after the conversation (self assurance)?

I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy looking at confidence itself, and not just the outer actions that will hopefully give you confidence, and I really belief that breaking confidence down into it’s component parts really makes real confidence attainable and achievable, rather than this elusive feeling.

When do you have to accept something?

It was pointed out to me that in my post “The 8 Components of Confidence” that one of my statements under Self Esteem directly contradicted what I’d said in Self Acceptance. I’d mentioned that having self acceptance meant accepting your faults yet self esteem means not accepting what you consider substandard in yourself. Allow me to explain.

Self Acceptance involves accepting everything that’s inside your boundary or sphere of control. So if in the past you didn’t commit yourself fully to an interaction or a relationship or felt like you let yourself you need to accept that. Self Acceptance has to do with accepting who you are and who you’ve been. Self esteem will determine what you do going forward in life.

If you see yourself as substandard, inherently substandard, then you’ll feel worthless. If you accept yourself as you are, your value (Self Esteem) will rise, even though you haven’t changed any outward behaviours. In future social situations, deciding on and committing to exceptional behaviour is fuelled by having self esteem. You’re valuable, so you give your best and provide value to others you meet. Self esteem is the cause of your behaviours, not the effect.

So, when do you have to accept something? Let’s say someone is rude to you. If you get angry with them for being rude, you have to accept your anger. Once you’ve accepted and recognised that you’re angry (and that you chose to be angry) then you can move towards a different emotion and state. Before you react to the rudeness, you have a choice how you’ll respond to it.

Think of the anger (or whatever it is you’re dealing with) like a parcel. You have a choice to accept it or not. But once you accept the parcel (have the emotion) you need to accept it if you want to have another, more positive emotion.

Another example would be fear of some situation, say approaching a stranger and starting a conversation. If this thought fills you with apprehension, you’re already afraid and you need to accept that before you can deal with it. If you don’t acknowledge the fear you can’t overcome it. There’s nothing that states confidence is an absence of fear, or absence of any emotion. Confidence involves acknowledging your emotions and actions, and following your own happiness regardless – that’s the definition of bravery.

What about someone being rude to you, do you have to accept that? Yes, and no. Yes, you need to accept that the other person was rude. If you get flustered and get indignant claiming that they shouldn’t be rude and should treat you nicer you’re failing to accept that they were rude you’re suffering because the fact was they were rude to you. By denying the truth you aren’t doing yourself any favours. You can’t change the past, you can’t go back in time (even 5 minutes) and change what they said and did. Another person’s behaviours are ultimately outside your control and by allowing their behaviour to influence your moods you’re giving away your power and making yourself a victim of circumstance.

Once you’ve accepted that the person is rude, I don’t recommend you stick around a let them continue to be rude to you. You don’t have to tolerate the bad behaviour from them. Depending on the situation, you can punish them by walking away and refusing to interact with them, or by telling them their behaviour is out of line. This is not the same as getting upset and complaining to them. It’s simply telling them that you’re not going to tolerate them disrespecting and undervaluing you by treating you in that substandard way.

This can be frightening, particularly if you’re worried about losing that person if they have a lot of value for you. But allowing someone to undervalue you just to keep them around lowers your self esteem. If a relationship isn’t good for you it isn’t good for the other person either. They might gain a short term win from it, but ultimately you’ll both lose. This is not just confined to romantic and sexual relationships, but to all our relationships.

What if it’s not explicit rudeness or bad behaviour, it’s just substandard in your opinion? In that case you’re still accepting their behaviour, you’re not judging. Once you’ve accepted that that’s the way they are you can make the choice as to whether you want that or not. I accept that’s who you are. That’s cool. I’m after something different. Imagine you were shopping for a blue shirt. You see a black shirt. Now imagine you got upset because this shirt wasn’t blue and should be blue. Seems pretty ridiculous doesn’t it. Would you do it? I certainly hope not!

A good question to ask is: What are my standards? What do I want in my life, in my relationships? Spend some time thinking about what’s the ideal behaviour you want to exhibit to the world and who you want to be.

(There are ways of modifying people’s behaviour around you through the use of intention maps, but that’s not the point of this entry.)

Now, here’s the real kicker, the interesting part. If you’re constantly bringing substandard people, behaviours, or situations into your life, you need to accept that you brought them into your life in the first place.

Through your intentions or actions, these things happened. Use it as an opportunity to see how you’re attracting these things into your life. Two things can help: either you were/are unclear on what you were asking for, or somehow you’re blocking what you want.

To sum up:

1. Accept everything inside your boundary/already in your life. Only then can you change and master it.
2. Accepting does not mean resigning, judging or tolerating. It simply means accepting.
3. Self Esteem drives behaviour, it’s not a result of it (like every form of inner confidence)


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