Why do we need Confidence?
Research has confirmed that low confidence levels increase your potential of experiencing paranoia and other mental health issues, Atherton (2014). Low confidence can also significantly increase the likelihood of you experiencing stress related illness. Therefore, it’s in your long term health interest to understand and implement ways of improving and maintaining your levels of confidence. Doing so could reduce the likelihood of experiencing these harmful affects. Shall we begin by taking a look at what confidence actually is and how we could define it.
What is Confidence?
The dictionary definition describes Confidence as, “The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. In terms of self-confidence, Psychology Today define it as, “The belief in one’s ability to succeed”. So if we consider both definitions, we could conclude that the key to confidence is simply belief in ourselves. An internal feeling that we can get for ourselves! Lickerman (2013), from the conclusion of his studies, expands on this and suggests that we should have belief in 3 key areas of our lives to build confidence:
1. Belief in your competence
Know yourself, your capabilities and selling points as well as your opportunities for improvement. Then focus on using the things you are good at regularly-feel good about being good! Definitely don’t beat yourself up over things you have yet to master. Nobody is great at everything, yes you are your own individual, amazing self.
2. Belief in your ability to learn and problem solve
One of the beliefs of NLP is that we all have the resources we need inside ourselves that we can access at any time. That means when we come across something in life that challenges us, we have the capability to master it. By using our learning and problem solving skills to get over it and move on with our lives. My mantra comes in handy here, “You can and you will!”.
3. Belief in your own intrinsic worth
There is only one of you in the world! Nobody has seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelled the things that have shaped you into the person you are today. Those things may have been helpful and supported the achievement of your goals or not. Either way only you experienced them as you did. You are therefore totally, 100% unique !!
Woo-hoo!!! achieving those things should be not that difficult for us then, should it?
The science bit……………
Well maybe not, although if it was that easy then everybody would be confident wouldn’t they? We would have no problem just making ourselves confident by believing in ourselves. Unfortunately this is where our unconscious minds have a big influence on how confident we perceive ourselves to be.
The NLP communication model above explains how we delete, distort and generalise our life experiences. Forming internal representations that our unconscious mind uses to code our life interactions and ultimately influence how we behave. When we as human beings experience something in life, could be something good, scary, exciting, emotional etc, this is referred to as an external event in NLP.
As a result of the decisions, opinions, beliefs, values and perspectives our minds have established through previous exposure to external events, we develop internal filters that screen the information we receive from our sight, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. Resulting in a set of filters that reform how we perceive the original event. In this way we all develop very unique ideas of how we view reality, referred to as your model of the world that shapes how you think about yourself.
Using NLP we are able to review and modify this process in order to change our representations and therefore our behaviour, where it’s currently not serving our purpose, empowering us to enable our future success today!
What action can you take today?
“Whether you believe that you can or you believe that you cannot, you are right”.
Let’s take a look at some positive action we can take today to start improving our self confidence.
1. Present yourself with confidence
Wear clothes that make you feel good, dress appropriately for the occasion and let the clothes represent you and what you are all about. Use clothing as an external expression of yourself.
2. Smile and make eye contact
When you are confident and happy with yourself smiling comes to you natural. If you are not quite there yet then put a great big grin on your face and embrace the day! Eye contact is essential for building good rapport and conveys confidence to others. Make every effort to make comfortable, natural eye contact.
3. Complement yourself and those around you regularly
Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening (Lisa.M.Hayes). When it is deserved, recognise yourself and those around you, keep them valid by restricting use to when it’s really deserved then enjoy them. Listen to how you speak to yourself-would you speak to your colleagues or family like that? Then why is it OK to speak to yourself like that? You could change that now, couldn’t you?……
4. Focus on your strengths and always do your best
When you use your strengths the output tends to be great, this will increase your self belief and confidence enabling you to try new things. When you try new things, if you approach the task or event with confidence, honestly apply yourself the best you can, that is all you or anyone else can ask of you. There will always be learning to take from every experience, when you take the learning you also destroy any tension or anxiety you may have around an experience. Win-Win!
5. Accept your imperfections
When you decide that you, as a human being, are fine just as you are, your life becomes so much more enjoyable. Yes, you will have things you would like to improve or change and you will continue to work on those. In the meantime let’s appreciate what you have and be grateful for it. Positive appreciation is so empowering and is a confidence building practice so be sure to try it out regularly.
6. Embrace what you love
Not the hearts and flowers type of romantic love, the things that nourish your soul and feed your spirit. You know what they are:
- smelling the bluebells in the woods
- feeling the sand between your toes
- listening to that beautiful piece of music,
- looking at that amazing view
- tasting the food or drink that excites you.
The things that remind you how fabulous life and you are-confidence building stuff!
7. Set goals and plan effectively
Imagine yourself in the future when you goals have been achieved. Describe the situation, what do you see, hear and feel. What is around you, who are you with really take time to fully get the feeling of having achieved those goals. Now list them positively as things you can work towards. Next make milestones that you can achieve periodically until the larger goals are met and celebrate the small successes as you progress.
8. Keep your mind & body healthy
Movement and exercise produce feel good chemicals within the body that help us combat stress and depression. We’ve all heard it before take the stairs, walk at lunch time etc. When you are serious about caring for yourself, you will make time to schedule activity. If you don’t already then why not explore meditation and mindfulness? Both are ways of calming the mind and improving the mind-body connection for a holistic approach to health and well-being. Highly recommend this book Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, who talks about this in more detail, great read. Perfect Health
I really appreciate you taking the time to read the blog and if you found it interesting please feel free to share with anyone you may know that could benefit from the content.
You could also contact me to let me know your thoughts or find out more about the specialist NLP coaching services I am able to provide that help you to empower your future success today!