Ask the Readers: Are you Self-Confident?

Our success and happiness depends very much on how we view ourselves. You could be the President of Universe, and still be miserable if you think you aren’t good enough. That’s why you often hear stories of super models and famous Hollywood actresses whom the world worships for their beauty, and yet they suffer from low self-esteem because of the way they look or feel.

There are also so many degrees of confidence. You may be completely confident in one thing, but not in something else. But that is about skills and experience. My questions today is about you – you as a person. Not about what you are good at, or what your skills are. It’s about how you feel about your self worth. I see the difference between those who have confidence and those who lack it. It’s all in the attitude.

What do you do when you walk into a room full of strangers? Do you cling to the walls and avoid eye contact? Or do you stride in the middle of the room, as if you have every right to be there?

Self-confidence is not arrogance. Self-confidence comes from inside. When you fully believe in your worth, you don’t sell yourself short. You behave like a person who has a right to exist. You behave like a person who has the right to being in places and talking to interesting people.

Would you describe yourself as a confident person? Or would you say you have low self-confidence?



Please share your answer in the comments, with as much or as little detail as you like. Are you self-confident? If you don’t want to share your answers in the comments, you can email me at dolly [at] kaizenjournaling [dot] com.


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46 thoughts on “Ask the Readers: Are you Self-Confident?

  1. Good question, Dolly. I’m very confident in some situations, but not so much in others. I think, even though I’m an extravert, there are still situations in which I can become shy.

  2. Self-confidence has always been a struggle for me. These days, I’m a lot more comfortable with myself than I used to be – I used to beat myself up for being so introverted, for not fitting in with my peers.

    I accept my introversion now, mostly, and am starting to really own my passion and who I am. :) I do still struggle though – there are days where I’m totally insecure and fearful..Days where I feel like I’m not good enough. But I’m far from where I used to be, and I know I have more work ahead of me.

    Great question, Dolly. How about you? Are you self-confident?

  3. Bobbi,

    Thanks for sharing :-) Shy is an interesting word. Do you think you simply stay quieter in situations where perhaps you are not an expert, or don’t have particular affinity with, or is it actual shyness?

  4. Kaylee,

    That’s great. Well done on getting to that comfort level, and now that you are aware and working on it, I’m sure you will get further on your journey.

  5. Kaylee / Jan,

    In answer to your question, Yes, I’m self-confident. I have never actually been shy, but when I was younger, there were times when I wasn’t entirely confident though I never showed it. Fake bravado worked well. But with years of experience, focus on awareness and personal development, self-confidence has been there. For me, it’s natural part of my personality, and like I said, it’s all about the attitude :-)

    When I’m in large groups, or any groups, I’m never the quiet one in the corner!

    I’m actually both ENTJ and INTJ depending on what mood I am in when I take the test, but it’s pretty consistent. So I’m an extrovert who also likes solitude.

  6. Thanks Dolly. :) I appreciate the encouragement. And also you sharing about yourself – your confidence shows even online. I see you everywhere! Guest postin’ like crazy and putting your work out there – it’s awesome.

  7. I’m definitely not the most confident person around. I think, for me at least, you need to achieve something to really feel confident about yourself. For me, earning my black belt gave me such a sense of achievement and confidence, I am very confident when I think about it and especially when I am in uniform. But, there are other things I am extremely nervous about, and not confident enough, such as playing my violin in front of people. I am a fairly well playing violinist, but when I get up in front of people, I shake, I’m cold, I get goosebumps, etc.

    Self confidence, I think, is achieved by achievement. What do you think?

  8. That’s an extremely loaded statement. I’m too hungry to give a thoughtful response, so I will respond later :)

  9. Okay, so now that I’m well fed…

    You suggest that self-confidence is a product more of attitude than accomplishment. I don’t think it’s that simple. Yes – there are plenty of highly accomplished people that have low self-confidence. Yes – there are plenty of low-accomplishment folks who have high self-confidence.

    But there are also many people whose base of confidence comes from the many things they have achieved in their life. I think self-confidence is a function of both accomplishment (which includes experiences, skills, possessions, etc…) and attitude.

    Let’s take the example of a highly grateful person. Gratefulness is highly correlated with self-confidence (gratefulness is the act of recognizing a kind act from another – someone who perceives more gratefulness also perceives more kind acts, which in turn causes their brain to assume they are more worthy, as they are supposedly receiving ‘more’ kind acts). Someone with a grateful attitude will require less accomplishment to have self-confidence, but I believe they still need some base of accomplishment.

    The reason I went into this discussion of where self-confidence comes from is because I can’t really answer your question without understanding the definitions.

    Now that I’ve typed it out I’ve got a better sense of the variables and their interplay:

    1. I do not perceive that I am worthy from others. That is, I have an extremely poor disposition towards recognizing gratitude. (e.g. my emotional response to an act of kindness would be to rationalize it away and not really feel it).

    2. Perhaps in response to #1 (and other things), I have developed an extremely strong mechanism for self-generating confidence. That is, I believe in my ability to accomplish whatever the ^$#@ I set my mind to. BUT I believe this because I have already accomplished much in my life – I know the limits of my capabilities. I rarely approach those limits, but I know that within me I have great power.

    My self-confidence also varies considerably depending on the psycho-social domain.

    For example, not only am I comfortable giving a speech in front of thousands – I thrive under conditions like that.

    In most other situations, it really varies. In general, I’m more likely to have self-confidence if the group is smaller and contains more females than males, but it really depends. A la your paradigm, I guess I don’t really have the attitude.

    I’m also highly conscientious. When I started ballroom dancing I would often leave halfway through lessons because I was just too embarrassed of my mistakes. But months later, when I had finally mastered the basics, I was a highly confident amateur competitor. Most people would get less embarrassed in the beginning, but because they were less motivated to understand the technique (because they had less embarrassment), would have less confidence than me later on.

    The same applies to blogging. I’m sure I have less confidence than most beginning bloggers. But I’m also sure that months down the road, the situation will be reversed.

    Or perhaps this is the attitude you were talking about?

  10. Interesting question, Dolly! I find that as I have gotten older, I seem to have become more confident (gotta be some advantages!)

    I still probably struggle a bit walking into a room full of strangers although I really feel that my self worth is pretty good.

    The good thing is that low self esteem is something that you can choose to change.

  11. I’m am self confident one on one and in a small group. in a larger group, I’d rather hang out and observe. It becomes impersonal to me. I’m not interested in small talk sort of things, and generally it just is not fun for me!

    I learn to things all the time and take many new things on usually with the intent to become a master at it. I think that takes confidence.

    So I guess it depends upon the context, but for the most part I am confident.

  12. Depending on where I am or whom I’m with determines my level of confidence. Being over weight and missing teeth that show when I smile has me not wanting to make eye contact with people who are not close friends. I live in TX and my family are in VA, and I fear going home for a visit as they do not know about the missing teeth.

  13. It’s amazing how much our own self-worth can be opposite of how other people see us. For me, I’m very comfortable in my own skin, but it took 40-something years to feel this way. Once in a while I’ll get that old doubtful feeling in a room, but then I remember that I really do like myself. (It’s not hubris or being arrogant like you said.) You are so right that it’s a matter of feeling like you matter in the world and that you would be missed. Self-confidence wasn’t something I was born with, but I’m grateful to finally have some! Thanks for your post, it reminds us all to stand up and let people see what we all bring to the world.

  14. Just as others have stated, there are times when I’m very confident and others when the answer is, not so much.

    But, for the most part I feel confident. I’m the one making the rounds and introducing people, or trying to make new comers feel welcome even when it isn’t my party. :)

    I enjoy visiting with people from all age ranges. And at my “advanced” age I feel very comfortable in most situations because I’m allowed to be a bit wacky.

  15. As a child, I was raised in a very strict and authoritarian way – to be been but not heard, so to speak.

    You’ll understand that that was far from being a proper environment for me to learn the art of self-confidence.

    It took me years to turn this around and develop self-confidence… but today, I can proudly say that I have become a “master” at this.

    It doesn’t mean that I am never afraid, though. Very far from that. However, wometimes with much efforts, other times with less, I always manage to transform my fears into self-confidence.

    Practicing the principles of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) on a daily basis, for the past 14 years — and teaching these remarkably, effective concepts to my clients — has been a major factor in my developing healthy self-confidence.

  16. Jan,

    I think the true self-confidence is achieved by knowing yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, your abilities and being comfortable with who you are. To get to that level of awareness, a person would’ve had both achievements and failures.

    The comments here have been amazing and thoughtful, but one question they have raised is how people have different view of what self-confidence is and where it comes from. So I’ll write a post about it, as to what I think it is, and where it comes from. Stay tuned!

  17. Amit,

    Trust you to pick up on word! :-) Let me clarify….no, the self-confidence does not come from attitude.

    Attitude is about behaviour. It’s about how your project yourself. The attitude is in walking in the room with your head held high, smiling at people, and making eye contact.

    Self-confidence goes much deeper. As per my reply to Jan’s comment above I’m going to write a post about it as to what I think it is, and where it comes from.

    I agree that it’s a product of achievement and attitude, but that is just one part of it, and an external part at that. There is the whole inner element. Of self-worth. When we are confident based on our skills and abilities, we are confident about one thing but not others. But the inner confidence is who you are. It exudes out of you, no matter what situation you are in. You may not know about a topic in question, but that doesn’t make you a person with low confidence.

    I will try to get the post up either next week or the week after and go into this in more detail.

  18. Claire,

    Yes, usually that’s what I notice that as people get older their confidence grows. But I also know a few people where it’s reverse. When I look at them, I see their skills and strengths and the life they’ve lived, and I see no reason for them to not have confidence.

    Yet, they do have low self-confidence, mostly because they are too busy comparing their lives and achievements to others, instead of looking at what they have. That’s a shame really, as confidence does effect not only person’s behaviour, but their outlook towards life.

    But you are absolutely right. Self-esteem is something that one can work on.

  19. Jt,

    I think what you describe is not lack of confidence, but perhaps that you are more introvert in large groups. Introvert does not equal low confidence. That’s simply a personality style, where people like you said, don’t really like small talk and don’t feel as comfortable in large groups of strangers.

    I would say that doing what you do, and your business, that takes a lot of confidence :-)

  20. Teresa,

    The thing to remember is one that confidence is as much about what you feel about your inner self-worth, as it’s about our outward behaviours and how we look. And also that to a very large extent, it’s in our control to change things that make us feel less confident.

  21. Like many other commenters it’s taken me until midlife to begin to develop some strong self confidence. I spent most of my life demeaning my own achievements and assuming that everyone else was somehow more talented and better than I was. I think this can stem from childhood, and that some of us who were (are) extremely sensitive internalized any negative input and scorn we experienced as children. Through meditation, journaling and other personal development techniques I am learning to own my gifts and be more confident. The hormonal energy of menopause helps too! :-)

  22. Rosie,

    It does amaze me when people – usually people who have low-esteem – see liking one self as arrogance. If you can’t be comfortable in your own skin, if you can’t like yourself, then how can you expect other people to like you? That’s what I have never understood.

    So yes, let’s all stand up, accept that we do have something to offer, and give others a chance to show their worth.

  23. Yvonne,

    Those “hostess” qualities are great. That means you have the gift of making other people comfortable in a new environment. Wacky-ness is good at any age :-)

  24. As a child I was painfully shy, i’m not as bad as I used to be but i’m still quiet and shy, i’m never going to be the life and soul of the party. Growing up this way has really affected my self confidence and at age 37 i’m still not confident. I’m on a waiting list for CBT to try to tackle these issues and find out why i’m like I am. Hopefully one day I can say, yes i’m confident but right now I have a lot of work ahead of me to get there!!

  25. I’m very confident with certain aspects of my life and not in others I think it comes down to belief systems, what we have grown up to believe about our selves and our lives.

  26. Sarah,

    It’s so easy to worry about what we didn’t do, opportunities missed, that sometimes we forget that by worrying about the past we are ruining the present. Well done on growing into a place of confidence.

  27. Alison,

    It’s very useful that you have an awareness of your personality because that’s where growth begins. But I would say that don’t confuse shyness with lack of confidence. It may be related, but it might be that your personality is simply that of an introvert. You might want to focus your journaling to gain some clarity on that. Introverts could be confident too, though they may never be life and soul of the party. The extrovert behaviour required in social situation does not necessarily equate to confidence.

  28. Ciara,

    I think a part of it is belief system, but the other part of is how you learn and grow and how you develop as a person. That means that a lot of it is in our control and we are not limited to simply what we were raised with.

  29. Hi Dolly,

    Gaining self-confidence, for me, has been a slow work in progress that is still going on currently. I’m much more confident than I use to be. Up until just a few years ago, I had extremely low self-confidence that played a much larger role in my life than I ever thought until I started to realize that I had low self-confidence. In my experience realizing one needs to improve his/her confidence is the first step. I can now identify when I’m being insecure and re-evaluate my thinking and actions based on this. Self awareness for me has been a huge help in being more confident.

  30. Jill,.

    You are right. Awareness is the first step. Until you have an accurate understanding of where you are, you can’t really move forward.

    Journaling is tremendous help for self-awareness.

  31. I have never been very self-confident. It was very painful as a child. We grew up with ‘children should be seen and not heard’, and this has had a profound effect on almost every aspect of my life. I remember wanting to meld into the wallpaper or I would go bright red and start sweating when I was put in the limelight. Even now there are certain times that I can’t think straight and become very unsure about the easiest of things. As I have become older I have become more confident, but I am a long way from where I want to be .
    I’m hoping that through journaling I can pinpoint stumbling blocks and reroute my confidence so that it glows.

  32. Self confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s own abilities, qualities and judgment. We feel confident about those things we do well.

    Clearly, we are not all going to be confident about everything we do and
    sometimes we will falter at what we have proven we know how to do well. Then our confidence drops momentarily. It leads to temporary self-doubt and can harm performance.

    Confidence grows with age in those areas where we have learned to perform better. If we haven’t learned to be better at something the confidence certainly cannot grow. Having more experience with something is meaningless unless we’ve learned from it.
    The self concept

  33. Thanks for the opportunity to explore our own self confidence. First I looked up Webster’s definition: “faith in one’s own judgement/ability.” I used to be extremely fearless, adventsuresome, and passionate about many things. For the past several years mental and physical conditions seem to have eroded the lady/girl I once was and am struggling to find her again! I am an ENFI/ENFP and acknowledge these aspects. There are so many enlightening responses which resonate with me and I appreciate these insights.

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