We all seek happiness. Some seek it from people (take a look here for part 1 of this series) and things outside of themselves, and others seek it from within themselves. In this article, we will look at how gaining confidence can boost our sense of happiness and fulfillment.
What is confidence and what does it have to do with happiness?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin? Perhaps, you were at a party and everyone seemed to have a great time, but you felt out of place? Or you were giving a presentation and felt the eyes of your audience as a heavy burden upon you, increasing your nervousness and anxiety?
Even though we spent our whole lives in our own skin, few of us feel completely comfortable in it. We lack confidence and self-esteem. So we pretend to be who we are not and imitate others to feel a sense of self-worth and belonging. In this way, our worth becomes a public matter – others decide whether we are worthy or not. The same goes for our sense of happiness. We are not going to feel happy if we don’t like ourselves, and we only like ourselves if others like us. At least as long as we lack confidence in ourselves. Our inner whole of insecurity needs to be filled by something else if we don’t have the confidence to fill it with. So we seek praise, try hard to be liked, and compromise our identity and values for the sake of appreciation from others.
Yet imagine what it would like to feel confident? To feel comfortable in your own skin:
- you would care less about what other people think about you
- you would live in alignment with your values and principles
- you would follow your dreams and not be afraid to fail
Doesn’t that sound awesome? For this reason, self-confidence and inner happiness are tightly connected. Having self-confidence feels like coming home and carrying your home with you everywhere you go.
So how do you gain it? How do you build enough confidence to build an inner source of happiness? Well, the emphasis here is on build. Let’s take a closer look at it.
How to Gain Confidence
Confidence is not something you either have or you don’t have. It is something you gradually have more or less of. How much you have may depend on what you’re doing. Perhaps you feel very confident in your football skills, but not very confident in your math skills. The confidence we’re talking about here, however, focuses less on skills and more on your identity. Do you have confidence in who you are? It is, of course, also great to be confident in what you do, but the greatest sense of happiness arises when you feel confident in your identity.
The process of gaining confidence – whether it is confidence in skill or confidence in identity – essentially is about shifting your mindset. Because confidence is a mindset. The only thing you have to do in order to gain more confidence is to change your mindset and your belief system about yourself. So how do you do that? There are many ways, but here are a few steps that we recommend to guide your process:
- Become aware of how confident you are – where is your zone of comfort and where you feel comfortable in your own skin?
- Write down the thoughts that arise when you have left your zone of comfort and when you feel uncomfortable. What do you tell yourself? (e.g. “I’m not good enough”, “I’m so boring”, “I’m not worthy of love”, etc.)
- If possible, try connecting a person or an experience to those thoughts. These thoughts don’t appear out of nowhere. We learn to tell ourselves these things because of experiences in the past. Becoming aware of the source of these thoughts may help you distance yourself from them.
- List your strengths and weaknesses. Be aware of your weaknesses and put emphasis on your strengths. You can fill out the SWOT sheet if you need some structure.
- Set goals for how you want to grow – is there a specific setting you want to become more comfortable in being you? Is there a specific skill you want to become more confident in?
- Find ways to measure your growth and celebrate every milestone and when you do, celebrate yourself and your courage of working on yourself. Celebrate that you’re taking yourself seriously and are worthy of the effort you’re putting into your growth.
- Remember to look back every now and then and see how much you have already progressed.
Another great idea to support yourself in your journey is building a support network of people who appreciate you or who are working on gaining confidence themselves. Celebrate each others’ successes and boost each others’ motivation.
Here is a video on how to become less unconfident if you want to dive a little deeper:
You are amazing, pirate. You are unique and you have so much to give to the world. You might not feel like it, you might not believe it, but it is absolutely true. You are amazing. Tell yourself that every day. You deserve it. Thank you for being part of our community.