Self-confidence is a major component of our mental health and wellbeing. Self-confidence involves valuing yourself (as in self-esteem), and it involves believing you have the ability to do things (as in self-efficacy). Self-confidence also is about feeling deeply satisfied with who you are as a human being, with all of your strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and struggles. Self-confidence is knowing that you’re not perfect and being okay with it. When you have self-confidence, you know that life isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. You feel good about your ability to create a quality life in which you are strong enough to hang on for the ride.
Self-confidence would be an empowering thing to have in large quantities. It’s not, however, something that comes naturally to most of us. We’re quick to see our flaws but reluctant to see our strengths. We tend to have a bad habit of comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we don’t measure up. We see what others choose to project to the world and compare it to the stuff we keep hidden away. As a result, we have a difficult time feeling, or sustaining, a sense of self-confidence and our overall sense of mental health and wellbeing takes repeated hits.
Gaining Self-Confidence: Finding Yourself and Keeping Yourself
It’s possible to increase your self-confidence and maintain it so it lifts you up rather than pulls you down. Believing in yourself involves knowing who you are, the complete “you.” It also involves doing things to keep the real you at the forefront of your thoughts and emotions rather than letting it slip away. Finding yourself and keeping yourself are two important components of self-confidence, mental health, and wellbeing.
These come a program for teens I’ve developed that accompanies the novel Losing Elizabeth. In fact, the name of the program is Find Yourself. Keep Yourself. Knowing who we are, believing in our abilities to survive tough times as well as to achieve our goals, is what self-confidence is all about.
The book and program for teens focuses on toxic vs. healthy relationships. Self-confidence is important in remaining strong (but not rigid) in relationships, but it applies in all aspects of our lives. To find yourself, ask yourself some important questions:
- What do I enjoy right now — what are my passions?
- What are my hopes and dreams?
- What is important to me?
- What type of person do I want to be?
- What are my strengths?
These are important components of who you are, and being able to answer them is integral to building self-confidence.
Once you’ve begun the process of finding yourself, it’s important to maintain that and build on it. It is this keeping yourself that solidifies self-confidence. Some things to explore:
- Where can I turn my values, those things that are important to me, into actions?
- How can I use my strengths to help myself live a quality life and to help others achieve mental health and wellbeing, too?
- What small steps can I start taking now to achieve my hopes and dreams?
- How can I add things that I enjoy to my life?
- How can I manifest the person I want to be?
Self-confidence is so important to mental health and wellbeing because it is who we are, and beyond that, it is what we do in our daily lives to shape who we are. When we believe we have the ability to shape our lives, we begin to do it. This belief coupled with action is self-confidence. It creates more action and then a stronger belief in who we are. Explore the above questions as you continue your journey to mental health, wellbeing, and confidence.
In this video, I read a short excerpt from Losing Elizabeth. High school junior Elizabeth had once found herself and had self-confidence. A toxic relationship, though, is chipping away at who she thinks she is. Here, her self-confidence is nearly gone. Will she be able to find herself again?
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