What differentiates a confident person from someone who’s not so self-assured? Can you be naturally confident, or is it a skill one develops through practice and experience? If you’re not confident now, do you think achieving self-confidence is possible?
This article will explore the nature of self-confidence and what it means to feel self-assured. If that’s something you struggle with, then read on. We’ll discuss what makes some people so self-assured, why self-confidence is so important in all areas of life, and how to be self-assured and more confident, starting today.
What does it mean to be self-assured?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term ‘self-assured’ as ‘having or showing self-confidence in yourself and your abilities. What is confidence? Psychology Dictionary Online defines confidence as ‘our self-assurance in trusting our abilities, capacities, and judgments; the belief that we can meet the demands of a task.’
To be self-assured is to have self-confidence that you are capable of success. It does not mean that you have an inflated ego or that you believe you are superior to others. It means that you trust yourself to apply your best self to whatever task is at hand, to make sound and fair judgments, and to rise to any challenge that life presents to you.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
People who are self-assured and confident don’t need to show it off. They don’t feel the need to brag about their achievements or make a point of letting others know about their skills and abilities. They do what they need to do with self-confidence and a humble attitude and don’t rely on their words to feel confident. Their self-confidence and belief in themselves shine through their actions and behavior.
Think of the most confident person you know. How do you know that they’re confident? Is it because they tell you and others they are confident? Is it because they are successful? Or is it because you can sense their self-confidence through their attitude and behavior? Most likely, it’s the latter.
How does self-confidence work?
Self confidence, or a lack thereof, is strongly associated with the thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves. If we view ourselves as weak-willed, incapable, or unworthy, then how do you think those thoughts and beliefs will manifest in our life? We’re unlikely to feel confident and assured in ourselves but rather insecure, doubtful, and even anxious about our ability to engage and succeed in the world around us.
On the other hand, how would those thoughts and beliefs manifest if we were to view ourselves as worthy, capable, valid, and strong? Most likely, they’d make us feel excited to engage in life. They’d give us the energy and motivation necessary to take on whatever task is at hand with a positive, can-do attitude and the inspiration and motivation to keep trying even if we fail the first time around.
Signs of self-confidence
You can usually spot self-assured, confident people by the way they speak and behave. They don’t shy away from voicing their opinion but don’t push their opinion on others either. They stand strong in their beliefs and values but are open to change and adaptation when they discover new and relevant information.
Confident people don’t seek others’ approval. They don’t need to please or appease others to feel worthy and valid. They don’t fear mistakes – they welcome valuable opportunities to learn and grow.
Other signs of self-confidence and self-assuredness include:
- The ability to make decisions
- An air of authority and assertiveness
- Bringing others up, rather than putting them down
- Open and assertive body language
- Compassion for self and others
The power of self-esteem
Self-confidence and self-esteem are not interchangeable terms, but the two are closely related. Self-confidence and self-assuredness are affected by our thoughts and beliefs. These thoughts and beliefs are affected by our level of self-esteem.
With a reasonably high level of self-esteem, your self-confidence is likely to also be high. This is not because self-esteem gives you the skills necessary to feel confident about succeeding at a task, but because it puts you in the right mental state to develop those skills.
If your self-esteem is low, you might not even try to succeed. Your success will be inhibited by the belief that you won’t achieve anyway, so you might wonder why you should even bother trying to develop a particular skill set in the first place. As such, with low-self esteem, you’ll likely feel a distinct lack of self-confidence.
How to be self-assured
You might have some doubts about your ability to succeed. That doubt might relate to a specific task or life in general. Either way, understand that it’s entirely possible to become a more confident and self-assured person. And to increase your self-confidence regarding any challenge or obstacle you face.
Many of us get trapped in an inner world of limiting beliefs and convince ourselves that we’re incapable of achieving and living the life we want. Understand that the more we allow negative, limiting thoughts and beliefs to take up space in mind, the stronger they become.
Equally, the more we focus our minds on growth, positivity, and capability, the stronger those thoughts become. Of course, self-confidence is not easy to build and cannot be developed by thinking alone. We need to practice, make an effort, and engage in tasks and goals, then see ourselves achieve and succeed in those tasks to learn that we are, in fact, capable.
We can train ourselves to feel and behave with more self-confidence and self-assuredness through the right mindset and positive action. This is the basis of neuroplasticity – an exciting and developing area of neuroscience. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reshape and rewire itself. The field offers an exciting future for a broad range of fields, including trauma and addiction recovery, but anybody can reap its benefits.
Addiction researchers have found that through expert-led therapy and consistent effort, people suffering from addiction can rewire the neural pathways in their brain. That perpetuates their addiction and instead forge new pathways that help them engage in more health-positive behaviors.
Survivors of psychological trauma often struggle with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence, especially if that trauma occurred in childhood. Research shows that these people can restructure their neural pathways through neuroplasticity to reduce the power of negative and limiting core beliefs and instead take a more positive, growth-oriented approach to life.
The best thing about this exciting field of neuroscientific research is that it applies to anybody. You don’t need to be in addiction recovery or struggling with past trauma to reap the benefits of neuroplasticity.
Tips to become more self-assured
Below we’ve outlined some tried and true methods to help you boost your self-confidence. Consider and apply these tips and pay attention to how your attitude and behavior changes. Understand that building self-confidence is not an overnight phenomenon. It takes time and consistent effort, but the payoff is more than worth it.
1. Identify and apply your strengths
Identify your strengths to build your self-confidence. Too often, we focus on our weaknesses and use those as the yardstick with which to measure our likelihood of success. We focus heavily on past failures and mistakes and think that just because we failed in the past, then we’re sure to fail again.
Spend some time reflecting and introspecting on your strengths, achievements, and successes, rather than mulling and ruminating on your weak points. The more you focus on what you can do, the greater your self-confidence in those abilities. Identify your strengths and engage in activities and tasks in which you can put those strengths to good use.
You’ll succeed because you have the necessary skills. As a result of success, you’ll feel good about yourself no matter what kind of success it is. The more you do this, the better you’ll feel about yourself. You’ll learn that you are capable, and you’ll encourage your mind to take a more can-do attitude in the future.
Set SMART goals
Once you identify your strengths, apply them to achieve SMART goals. It’s no secret that regularly achieving goals is a great way to establish and perpetuate self-confidence. SMART is an acronym for goals that are:
Be specific about what you want to accomplish rather than setting a vague goal, such as ‘get fit’ or ‘save money.’ Do you want to lose or gain a certain amount of weight? Do you want to save a set amount of money? The more specific you make your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
How are you going to measure your progress? If weight loss is your goal, set weekly or monthly milestones to reach. If you want to save $5,000, how much are you going to save every week, every month, or out of every paycheck? Setting milestones keeps you focused and accountable.
Do you already have the skills to achieve this goal? Or will doing so require the development of new skills? Does the opportunity to achieve your goal already exist? Or do you need to relocate, shift your priorities, or collaborate with others to reach success?
How does this goal relate to your other goals in life? Will achieving this goal boost your skill set in other areas? How will it impact your life? Will it help you become more experienced, wise, and ready to move forward?
Choosing relevant goals is important because it helps you stay focused on the task at hand and motivates you to work towards it. Irrelevant goals tend to lose their novelty over time or if they become frustrating.
When would you like to achieve this goal? Do you want success in a week? Or a year? Setting a timer on your goals helps you stay focused and lets you know how much you need to in a given time period.
2. Accept imperfection
How many times have you not even tried to achieve something because you were too concerned with doing it perfectly? Procrastination due to perfectionism is something many of us are guilty of, whether it’s a college assignment, a project at work, or simply getting started on a personal goal.
The need to be perfect might be preventing you from ever getting started and is a maladaptive approach to life. Nobody is perfect, and no one can do things perfectly all the time. Therefore, if you try to always do things perfectly, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, and your self-confidence will keep falling.
To become a more confident and self-assured person. Try to let go of the need to be perfect all the time in the things you do. Life itself is messy and chaotic, and nobody can do things perfectly all the time.
Letting go of perfection might seem difficult, especially if you’re a chronic perfectionist, but allowing yourself to make mistakes is key to success. Again, it can be hard – perfectionism usually stems from associating success and achievement with validation and self-worth. Assigning truth to this connection is unhealthy. The sooner you can let that go, the happier you’ll be.
3. Challenge your limiting thoughts and beliefs
How do you talk to yourself when no one else is around? Are you kind and compassionate, or do you berate yourself for even the smallest mistakes and shortcomings?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford.
Understanding the way you talk to yourself and the stories you believe about yourself have a profound impact on how you feel. Do you tell yourself that you’re not confident? Is that a story you believe? Do you believe that others know what they’re doing, are capable and confident, and are far superior to you? If that’s what you believe, that will become your reality.
If, however, you challenge those beliefs and instead replace them with optimism, self-appreciation, and trust in yourself, that will become your reality. There’s an old saying that says, ‘the mind is a powerful servant, but a lousy master.’ Self-confidence and self-assuredness are by-products of taking control of your mind and breaking through the limiting and negative beliefs and self-evaluations it tries to make you believe.
So, instead of wallowing in negativity and self-doubt, help your mind become a servant by nourishing it with positive self-talk. You might disregard the notion of positive self-talk as silly or childish, but the fact is that you’re already talking to yourself – pretty much all day, every day.
Research claims that we have around 6,000 thoughts per day. We don’t notice all of them, but they’re happening. The more you can focus on tipping the scales toward positive thoughts and away from negativity, the happier and more self-assured you’ll feel throughout the day.
4. Be ready
A simple but vitally important tool to feel more confident and self-assured is to prepare yourself for what you have to do. Think about running a marathon. How confident would you feel about completing that marathon if you hadn’t trained? Do you think you’d manage to succeed and reach the finish line if you didn’t train regularly in the months leading up to the marathon but instead sat at home all day and binged on snack foods? Or just thought about training but never actually did it, or didn’t do it enough?
No. If you’re going to run a marathon, you need to train. If, instead of lazing about or doing anything else but train, you spent some time every day or every other day running, stretching, and building your stamina and endurance, you’d feel a lot more confident about reaching the finishing line. You might not be completely free of doubt – running a marathon is no easy feat – but you’d certainly feel more confident than you would if you hadn’t trained.
The same principle can be applied to exams, interviews, and life in general. If you don’t prepare, you’re going to doubt yourself. You might even berate yourself for not getting ready and stress yourself out, which leads to even more doubt and low self-confidence. Figure out what you need to do to succeed ahead of time, and commit to taking preparatory action.
5. Understand the power of body language
The way you carry yourself says a lot about how you feel. While self-confidence is something within and should not depend on others’ perception of us, knowing that other people see us as confident goes a long way in maintaining the feeling. Further, conveying self-confidence to others helps them trust us, which has a positive effect on our professional lives, friendships, and romantic relationships.
Your posture, eye contact, and body direction signal to others how open, receptive, and assertive you are. If you engage with others while holding a slumped posture, fidgeting with your hands and feet, and avoiding or regularly breaking eye contact, they’ll get the sense that you’re not very confident about what you have to say and will be less likely to trust you or rely on you.
On the other hand, if you can maintain eye contact, keep your head up, and generally show the person that you are comfortable in yourself and open to hearing what they have to say, the relationship between you and that person will improve significantly.
Building self-confidence doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a switch you can just flip whenever you need to. It’s more about a deep sense of self-acceptance, self-belief, and a willingness to grow through difficulty, adversity, and mistakes. If you take anything away from this article, let it be that you can learn to be self-assured, overcome self-doubt and get rid of the negative self-talk to become a confident person.