Self Confidence Definition
Imagine staring at your reflection in the mirror and knowing you can do anything. If you want to be a doctor, you can. If you desire to retire at age 35, you will. If your goal is to play varsity soccer, your strength and determination get you there. Imagine looking at yourself and liking every part of you; even your big feet, as you know they have a purpose. These self-confident feelings are the result of a supportive, positive and uplifting environment, which usually begins at home.
The self confidence definition, according to the psychology dictionary, is a feeling of strength and trust in your own abilities, capabilities and decision-making. It is your belief that you can do what is required of you and then be assured that what you have done is acceptable.
When you feel confident, you feel empowered. Sometimes referred to as self-esteem, a self-confidence definition covers a range of levels. You may feel a low-level of confidence, or have strength in some of your abilities, but not all. At the far end of the scale, self-confidence crosses the line into cocky and arrogant in which you feel no one can do anything as well as you. Confidence without cockiness is the goal and can be achieved with practice.
Part of the self confidence definition is accepting your choices without wavering or letting others talk you out of them. For example, if you choose to live at home and attend a community college to save money before transferring to a university, feel strong in your decision. Others may tell you that you are missing out on the “college experience”, but if working, going to school and living at home feel right to you, remain confident and sturdy in your choice.
This ability is often taught by your parents. When Mom and Dad let you make choices and deal with the consequences, good or bad, your self-confidence improves. Instead of relying on others to make decisions for you, you choose. In contrast, however, if your guardians make life decisions for you and insist you follow them because they know best, your self-confidence decreases and you may feel you cannot make good choices.
Identify Low Self-Confidence Thoughts
The Mayo Clinic identifies certain, negative thoughts that can lower self-confidence. These include:
- Negative thoughts– If you find yourself focusing on the negatives of each situation. For example, you fail a test at school and think you won’t pass the class.
- All-Encompassing– Thinking that one mistake changes your future. For example, failing the school test and thinking you won’t graduate.
- Discouraging self-talk– These are the things you say to yourself before, or after a test. For example, telling yourself that you deserve to fail the test.
- Turning feelings into facts– Turning your failure on the test into thinking you are a failure.
- Negative thoughts of future– Visualizing that bad things that can happen at school, work or in a relationship. For example, before you take the test, you imagine yourself failing it.
- Changing praises into negatives– Even if the teacher praises your work, you feel you could do better.
Turning Negative to Positive
Although it’s not easy to change your thoughts, focusing on the positives and having hope for the future greatly improves self-confidence. To counteract negative thoughts, the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- Positive thoughts of future- Thinking hopeful about work, school or relationships. For example, telling yourself that even though the test is difficult, you will do your best.
- Let it go- If you’ve made a mistake, or a bad choice, forgive yourself and move on. For example, if you didn’t do well on the test, stop focusing on the past and remind yourself you’ll do better next time.
- Reduce the pressure- If you find yourself saying you “should” do better or you “must” pass the test, change your thought-process. Remove those words and remind yourself to do the best you can.
- Concentrate on the good- Instead of focusing on small mistakes, concentrate on things you’ve done well. For example, if you didn’t pass the test, but you studied hard, made flash-cards and learned something, give yourself a pat on the back for your efforts.
- New thoughts- If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, change the thoughts into a positive; even if it is something small. For example, concentrate on your completion of the test instead of the failure. Or, use this set-back as a learning tool to change your study habits, or to get additional help or tutoring.
- Speak life- Even if you do not receive encouragement from anyone else, motivate and support yourself. Find the good in the small moments and hold onto those. For example, if the teacher gave you partial credit for a creative answer, praise yourself for being original.
“How Do I Look?”
A high, or low self-confidence is based on thoughts and these thoughts are affected by the way you view your body. Keep in mind that your brain only knows what you tell it. In other words, if you tell yourself you are strong, beautiful or handsome, your brain perceives this as truth. It is also the same in reverse. If you look in a mirror and see someone weak and not very pretty, you begin to believe this.
Your self-image either improves or lowers your self-confidence. The self confidence definition says that you need to feel strong in your ability to accomplish tasks. These are not all mental tasks, some are physical and your belief that you can run a mile, climb a rock wall or dunk a basketball contribute to your confidence.
A healthy self-image is one in which you focus on your physical strengths instead of seeing the excess weight, or lack of strength, according to the American Council on Exercise. For example, during exercise or physical education class, focus on the things you can do, such as jump rope or push-ups.
During exercise, use self-talk to boost your self-confidence. Positive self-talk improves the way you perceive exercise, according to the May 2014 edition of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Researchers show that by using motivational self-talk, subjects reduced the feeling of difficulty during cycling exercise. Subjects were able to improve their endurance because they were able to exercise for longer than the others who didn’t use positive self-talk.
Regular, daily exercise of at least 30 minutes, improves your heart, lungs and muscles. It also improves your self-esteem and your mood. Exercise releases into the blood stream, hormones known as endorphins. The endorphins are “feel-good” hormones that help reduce negative thoughts and make it easier for you to focus on the positives. Exercise also helps avoid destructive behaviors such as drinking alcohol and smoking, as you feel better about yourself.
Improving your self-confidence does not happen overnight. Here are a few simple changes you can make to boost your esteem:
- Keep eye contact when talking with others. Know that what you have to say is important and you are worth listening to.
- Use a firm hand-shake to signal you are honored to meet the other person and they will show you respect.
- Make a decision and stick with it. Even if you second-guess in your mind, do not change your decision.
- Stand or sit with a straight back and good posture. This position signals self-confidence.
- Surround yourself with friends and family who support you and speak positively. Remove yourself from negative-nellies.
- Speak in a tone loud enough to be heard and speak clearly so you do not have to repeat yourself.
- Make a list of the things you like about yourself.
- Exercise daily for 30 minutes. Perform full-body movements such as walking, cycling, swimming, stair climbing and dancing.
A Watchful Parent
As a parent, or even as a friend or partner, there are ways you can boost another’s self-confidence. Dr. Sears, a trusted child-rearing expert, suggests things parents can do, but these actions can be applied by anyone in any relationship:
- Be Consistent– Respond to your child’s needs quickly and with consistently. Your child learns to depend on your response and feels that his needs and self-worth are important.
- Reflect The Positive– Smile, maintain eye contact, listen and spend time with your child. Tell her the things you like about her such as her kindness or her humor.
- Use His Name– Everyone likes to hear the sound of his own name and your child is no exception. Follow your greetings with your child’s name or when you ask how his day was, use his name.
- Provide Encouragement– Suggest activities for your child to try and praise her when she does well. Place her in situations that will help her succeed.
- Require Chores– Chores help the entire household and make a child feel his contribution is important.
- Listen Respectfully– Allow your child to express herself with respect so she feels her voice and opinions are important.