The missing link to confidence
I believe there is a missing link required to guide and support you in your own personal development, growth, and route to expressing yourself confidently.
Seeing the unseen
This missing link can be compared to a tree, it requires strong foundations and roots to enable its later growth and to maximise its potential. The same principle is true for people.
The right conditions and foundations are required for development and growth. Without it, having the confidence to take any action to achieve your goals is a lot more challenging and will be shown in your actions, health, physical outputs, and success in life. It can also be presented in your relationships, job, or anything you do.
Accessing this missing link starts with having self-awareness of the situations in which you are struggling to express yourself confidently. Identify the unseen foundations such as your emotions, self-esteem, self-worth, trust in your abilities, and courage and which need to be worked on the most.
Indeed, it’s about what you can’t see. It’s seeing the unseen and how you get to see the unseen is through self-awareness. Without the strong foundations and development of various unseen elements, achieving your goals and taking action and a tangible direction in life is a lot more challenging.
I have learned that being aware of, and developing, these unseen elements is essential to moving forward and accessing the resources you need in order to step into the confident version of yourself.
The fundamentals of the key unseen elements
Let me briefly explain some of the fundamentals of these key unseen elements to help you understand how the missing link fits in.
Self-esteem is so important and is the manner in which we evaluate ourselves, our qualities, and attributes to do different seen activities, for example, how capable you feel you are in your job or in your relationships, two obvious examples.
When we have healthy self-esteem, we value our abilities while being honest and realistic about these. We generally know what we’re good at and what we can improve on and there is a balanced in how it is approached. So, it’s no surprise that people with healthy self-esteem tend to feel positive about themselves and about life in general.
Unhealthy self-esteem, on the other hand, can present itself in a number of ways, almost like different points on a spectrum. Towards one end of the spectrum, you have unhealthy self-esteem where you can have an inflated opinion of yourself and exaggerate your positive traits believing your opinion matters more than others. This way of thinking can also lead you to deceive yourself and even ignore your faults and weaknesses!
Towards the other end of the unhealthy self-esteem spectrum (one I resonated very much with), is where you underestimate – or flat-out ignore – your positive characteristics, viewing yourself through a harsh and negative filter. For example, maybe you tell yourself you’re not good enough in a variety of ways, you don’t know enough, you’re boring, lazy, and inconsiderate, any compliment received isn’t true. You know this is not the reality and trust me when I say it simply isn’t true, I know how it feels and you can move away from that way of thinking.
Another unseen foundation is self-worth. It means that you are loveable and valuable regardless of how you evaluate your abilities, an innate feeling no matter what that you are good enough. For example, when you don’t feel good about yourself or don’t do something well, having a sense of self-worth means you still believe that you are valuable. A high sense of self-worth means you still believe you are valuable and enough regardless of whether you are upbeat, talented, or successful. In essence, you can have high self-worth even if you make mistakes or don’t do something well.
To be mentally healthy, learn to trust yourself, your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and the correctness of your behaviours. This will help you to be in a place where you can grow in confidence and go for what you want. Mark Twain put it so well when he said, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
Courage is another example of the unseen. Courage is the ability to act in the face of great fear or danger or when starting to do something new and uncomfortable.
All of these unseen elements can be perceived as muscles - the more you develop and use them, the stronger they grow.
What does true self-confidence look like?
When we look at what true self-confidence means, we find that it includes both feeling and doing. As you may know, developing your unseen foundations, which was previously explained, makes it easier to have the confidence to take action. This is particularly true when stepping outside your comfort zone or learning something new or challenging.
Firstly, a truly confident person accepts and expresses who they are no matter what and lives for what they value and what’s important to them. Can you remember a time when you felt totally confident doing something you enjoy? Time went by so quickly and what you did seemed effortless? I guessing you can.
Secondly, self-confident people find the courage to step outside their comfort zone to embrace opportunities, learn something new or face a challenging situation. Importantly, this also includes taking responsibility if and when things don’t go the way people want them to. There is also a sense of focused ease and well-being which will invariably enhance performance in whatever they are doing.
For example, can you remember when you learned to ride a bike or drive a car? There were so many bits to grasp and learn, the clutch, the brakes, changing gear, awareness of other drivers, it is easy to be panicky! But for me, driving a car now feels natural and I’m very confident doing so, it's like an unconscious programme. I don't even think about it, and of course, I trust my abilities 100%. Ask yourself, are you the same driver you were when you first passed? I'm guessing not!
Strengthening these foundations
As you strengthen your foundations and naturally grow confidence, you’ll begin to notice how you stop thinking about your mistakes and look more at what you actually accomplish because that’s how people become more confident. And the truth is, the more you start looking at what works, the more you’ll find it and the better you’ll feel.
The more you feel and grow your self-confidence through taking action, the more you tend to strengthen your foundations and trust in your abilities, very much like the muscles we referred to earlier, the stronger they get. Confidence tends to build momentum and breed courage, and you realise it really is a case of feel the fear and do it anyway!
Let me leave you with a quote by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"
Think about it, if you had the confidence when you really needed it, just think what would be possible. Imagine standing up for yourself, seeing yourself going for and getting what you want. Talking in front of a room of people, and/or achieving success in a confident and energising way. It’s just worth thinking about, isn’t it?