What is confidence, and why is it important?
The word confidence comes from the Latin word confidere, which means to trust fully. A confident person trusts himself or herself fully and completely. Furthermore, confidence is speaking and behaving in a way that communicates assurance in one’s surroundings with other people and most importantly with oneself. Confidence is an important aspect of humanity. With confidence, one feels a sense of fulfillment; one has good feelings toward others and most importantly toward oneself. Without confidence, one’s well-being and outlook on life are bleak.
It is important not to confuse confidence with arrogance. While confidence is feeling good about oneself and others, arrogance is feeling and acting superior to others. Interestingly, arrogance contributes to bullying. However, confidence can deflect bullying.
What is confidence, what is bullying and how does one act to deflect a bully?
As defined earlier, confidence is trusting in oneself. A confident person trusts that he or she will be all right no matter what situation arises. Even if one does not believe this, one can act in a confident manner.
Bullying is defined as using force or strength, be it physically or emotionally, to make others do what one wants. Bullies are like hawks, constantly looking for mice on which to prey. With sharp eyes and quick reflexes, bullies look for other kids who display mouse-like behavior. These mouse-like actions may include: having bad posture, walking around with one’s head down, not looking around, and avoiding eye contact. In essence, making oneself appear small and invisible.
Unfortunately, sometimes this can have the opposite effect. A bully may see someone exhibiting these actions and think that this person would be a perfect addition to his or her victim list. Statistics indicate that more than 20 percent of children are bullied in school. Over 50 percent of children say they have seen a classmate being bullied. Bullying is a huge problem; there is no doubt about that. However, it is a preventable problem.
There are skills that can help prevent bullying, increase confidence and enable stronger interpersonal relationships. Practice makes perfect. Try the following actions in front of a mirror. Ask a parent or trusted friend to watch and give feedback to increase success.
- Walk briskly with strong, big steps.
- Walk straight with an upright posture.
- Stand straight with both legs firmly on the ground.
- Do not slouch.
- Be aware of one’s environment by looking around and making eye contact.
- When making eye contact, do not stare and give a brief smile.
- If possible, avoid people and places where bullying occurs.
Most of the time, people will initially judge someone based on body language. If one denotes an air of confidence through body language, then others will perceive a confident person and not a potential victim.
A common misconception of bullies is that they feel badly about themselves and take their frustration out on a weaker person in order to make themselves feel better. While this argument may be true, the reality is that bullies are also often narcissistic and prey on less confident people simply because they can.
The thing to do in this situation is to make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated. Turn the tables on a bully by taking charge and standing up and being assertive. For instance, if a bully turns to public humiliation, the person should immediately say something like, “That’s inappropriate, please don’t do that.” This will make others aware of the problem. Often, pubic confrontation makes a bully back down immediately. Remember that bullies are like hawks looking for quiet, mousy victims. Bullies don’t want people who can, or are willing to, fight back. The truth is that most bullies are cowards under the swagger.
Encourage the child to ask for help
School can be a very emotionally difficult time for children and teens. There is constant pressure to fit in and be one of the crowd. It is also difficult if a child or teen feels alienated with the belief there is no one to confide in. That is why it is important for parents to foster a relationship with principals and teachers at their child’s school. Encourage the child to seek help from trusted teachers and other school officials. If a child feels safe in school, she or he will be less apt to accept bullying knowing there is a trusted adult to confide in.
Parents should encourage their child to confide in them. No matter how busy parents are, it is essential the child knows that the parent cares and will be in his or her corner. Don’t just assume a child will automatically know this. Parents must sit down with their children and discuss bullying. Make certain the child knows that under no circumstances should they be reluctant to communicate fears concerning this or any topic. Parents should NEVER downplay or ignore a child’s concerns no matter how small. This will encourage children to bury their feelings.
Consequently, the child’s bullying problem will only get worse. Children must have an outlet for sharing their emotions and fears. If not, it could lead to dangerous or deadly outcomes.
Some bullies are not deterred by loud and public confrontation. Worse yet, the bully can be physically aggressive. In addition to telling an adult , the child may need to learn physical self-defense. Violence should be a last resort, but if a child is bullied to the point of physical abuse, there should be allowances for self-defense.
What is confidence, and why is having it is so important for life in general?
Being confident allows one to explore new things, create and reach personal goals, and be independent. The more interests one has, the more things one can excel in, and the more confidence one will possess. Children should be encouraged to seek after-school activities that interest them. Parents should encourage kids by showing a constant interest in the chosen activities.
Having confidence is important in not only school, but also life beyond. The University of Melbourne performed a study that determined that confidence plays a significant role in how successful someone is in the workplace. Confidence in the workplace often brings more responsibilities, higher pay, and promotions.
In order for children to be more confident, they must start by thinking better about themselves and their lives. Those who believe themselves worthy of happiness and who are content within themselves will be more resistant to bullies, whose primary objective is to tear down others. Bullying is a preventable problem, but it will take awareness of the problem and a bit of bravery and a willingness to stand up for oneself.