We all have confidence at times and could do with a little more at others. Confidence is an important and learnable skill that enables us to use all our others skills, enjoy relationships and get the job done. Confidence can be contrasted with aggression, passivity and being passive aggressive. Confidence relies on emotional and embodied intelligence as well as thought and language patterns.
- Aggressive – bullying, judging, pushy, bulldozing.
- Passive – a pushover. Not asking for what you want or being able to say no.
- Passive Aggressive (indirect) – secretly resentful, sarcastic, insinuating, vague or sabotaging.
- Assertive – asks for what is wanted and sets standards clearly and politely. Responsible, honest and accepting.
Confidence comes from knowing your strengths. What are yours?
Self Esteem Building Activities
Meaning and contribution, pleasure, competence – how do you help people, what do you enjoy and what are you good at? Keep building on these.
- The Star – “Reaching out” in every direction
Other aspects of body language relevant to confidence include:
- eye contact
- facing and body positioning
- gestures and hand movement
- overall relaxation
Other physical aspects such as health, diet, sleep, exercise and appearance are also important.
ABC Centring Practice – Instilling confidence in the body
- Aware – Be mindful of the present moment using the five senses, especially feeling the body, ground (chair and feet) and your breath
- Balance – In posture and attention. Expansive feeling
- Core Relaxation – Relax your mouth and stomach – breathe deeply into your belly
Saying No and Asking for Help
These are both critical life and work skills that relate to confidence. They take practice and are embodied emotional capacities.
Thought Patterns That Reduce Confidence
LACK OF CONTROL
e.g. “there’s nothing I can do”
e.g. “It always goes wrong”
“I’m a Failure”
“They are misbehaving because I’m a bad volunteer”
BLACK AND WHITE THINKING
“You’re either with us or against us”
JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS
“That one time means it will always happen”
“It’s the end of the world!”
DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE
“That was a fluke”
“I really should give up/turn up on time”
“I bet she hates me”
“I feel bad so I must be bad”
SELF TO OTHER THINKING
“I think I’m an idiot so he must too”
In conflict we have four choices:
- Judge and blame them (causes conflict)
- Judge and blame ourselves (causes low self esteem)
- Listen to their feelings and needs
- Connect to our own feelings and needs (+ make doable requests)
Virtues and Gratitude
Research in the field of positive psychology shows that awareness of one’s virtues, and cultivating gratitude contributes strongly to happiness and confidence.
Feel the fear and do it anyway – Susan Jeffers
Taming Your Gremlins – Richard Carlson
The Assertiveness Pocketbook – Max Eggart