Self-Confidence: What is it, and Where does it come from?

A few weeks ago, I asked you: Are you self-confident? Your answers were fascinating. It showed a spectrum of perceptions about confidence, how we define it, and how it affects us. Some of the comments showed some questions regarding what I wrote about self-confidence.

That’s why I decided to write this post. This is my view of self-confidence. I speak from both experience and observation, but when it comes to your confidence, it’s about your definition and what makes you feel confident.

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

Attitude is about behaviour. It’s about how you 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.

It’s a product of achievement and attitude, but that’s 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 those things but not others. But the inner confidence is about who you are. It exudes out of you, no matter what situation you are in. Even when you are not in control of a situation, even when you don’t have as much knowledge as the next person, when you have inner confidence, your self-worth remains intact despite temporary doubts and fears. That inner confidence is at the root of it all. It is what gives you that aura of self-confidence.


What does self-confident mean to you? How do you feel about your inner confidence?


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28 thoughts on “Self-Confidence: What is it, and Where does it come from?

  1. I am only able to exude that aura of confidence when I am dealing with something I know and am familiar with. If I am in unfamiliar territory, that confidence is lost.

  2. Dolly,
    This premise of confidence and believing in yourself is such a vital part of life and my message of refreshment. I so agree with what you said here: “Even when you are not in control of a situation, even when you don’t have as much knowledge as the next person, when you have inner confidence, your self-worth remains intact despite temporary doubts and fears.” Oh, absolutely! And that inner confidence is something no one else can instill in you because it comes from within. And Journaling can help us get and build that confidence as we focus on who we are and our purpose in life.

    I have chosen your post, Self-Confidence: What is it, and where does it come from?, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 7/31/12 for all things journaling on Twitter;
    I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal, my weekly e-journal.

    #JournalChat Live is every Thursday, 5 EST/2 PST, for all things journaling on Twitter; our topic this week is Your Journaling: Tuning In. Bruce Black join us!

    Thanks again for sharing this post on self-confidence, Dolly; the message truly resonates!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter
    Author of The Birthday Wall: Create a Collage to Celebrate Your Child

  3. I think that you have a great definition. I agree that it takes the balance of the success and failures that really grow your self confidence.

    Right now, I feel that self confidence is knowing that you could just as easily succeed or fail, but you are still willing to take that step out there and do it anyways. You feel the fear, get to know the fear and you still move forward.

    Most days, my self confidence is pretty darn good, but I am human so there are some down days. Every day I can decide how I am going to feel so I get another chance tomorrow!

  4. Priska,

    Thank you for sharing your situation/feeling about confidence. I think feeling confident due to your abilities is great, but perhaps you could journal about your inner confidence and about your self-worth which does not rely only on your particular abilities.

  5. I think you’re spot on in identifying that true self confidence comes from deep within, and it is really a knowledge of your own worth. Although can project an attitude of confidence, that real sense of worth comes from understanding who we are and the strengths and gifts we bring to the world.

    I’ve struggled with confidence a lot in my life. This definition is so helpful to me – instead of comparing myself to others and coming up short it’s time to look within!

  6. Dawn,

    Thanks :-)) I appreciate the work you do with Journal Chat. Inner confidence is extremely important, because if our confidence relies solely on abilities or skills then that might hinder us from openly embracing change. So I think it is important to work on it, and as you said, journaling helps a lot with that.

  7. Lori,

    Thank you. Of course my definition is very subjective, but it is in my opinion based on logic of how people work. Self-confidence has such a huge impact on not only how we behave, but how we interpret the world around us, and so I think it’s essential to work on it, and develop it, without getting egomanical about it :-)

    You are absolutely right in saying that a lot of it is about willingness to try, because success is never guaranteed.

  8. Sarah,

    Thank you. It’s always a good feeling when one’s views resonate with others. It is the real sense of worth that matters, because when you have that cirumstances might take you down for a while, but they can’t keep you there.Nor can other people. Because you know deep down that you are worth it.

  9. I have been studying, reading and writing about self-confidence for 7 years now. I have Google alerts setup to track who writes about self-confidence and what they say about it – you are the FIRST person in 7 years whom I have come across that actually has a real understanding of what self-confidence actually is. May more of us raise others awareness of not only what self-confidence is really about but how to go about developing it.

  10. Ann,

    Thank you. I appreciate the positive reinforcement. You are right that there is too much focus on developing self-confidence. It’s useful thing. It’s necessary in fact. But without first understanding what self-confidence it, that development is superficial. It’s like memorizing theories to ace an exam, without having a thorough understanding of the concept behind it. If you understand the concept, you don’t need to memorize.

    Same here. You understand what self-confidence is, and you can work on root cause, and the issues that actually hinder you. It makes developing confidence habits if not easier, then at least thorough.

  11. I like this post and I think you have redefined for me that I am a confident person. I do have a strong self belief but sometimes I allow myself to think I am not confident, to allow doubt to sneak in. I now realize that I don’t need to do that any more. Thanks Dolly

  12. Dolly,

    Thank you for your feedback. A thought provoking topic. Its not only abilities but other external factors that give me confidence. I am talking about a situation such as wearing appropriate attire to that occasion. I am talking about fitting in, being accepted. Being accepted by others gives you confidence. Is it possible to journal, to develop enough confidence and genuinely be resilient to external factors which sometimes undermine ones confidence.

  13. Great definition. Am sooo glad that I am self confident according to it. Made my morning in terms of reinforcing the confidence feeling.

  14. Great definition, Dolly. I think it is vital that we realize that self-confidence means embracing our whole selves, including the flawed parts. Good stuff!

  15. I like your definition, Dolly. I think that element of self-worth is a really important one: do you think you’re worthy of love, care, respect? That, for me, has always been the struggle. For some reason, I always felt less than worthy of those things. It’s definitely getting better with time, and as I discover my worth, my self-confidence increases.

  16. Dolly – interesting post. Especially because I am working with children with dyslexia and they have been beat up in the schools, called lazy, dumb or put in special education. We work with them to learn to read and their success they gain self confidence. So I completely agree with you that confidence comes “achievement”. We cannot raise our children to all believe they are “gold ribbon” atheletes, etc with providing them the tools to actually achieve. Great post.

  17. Not only do I really love it when you say, “when it comes to your confidence, it’s about your definition and what makes you feel confident,” but I fully agree with you.

    On the other hand, I must say that I perfectly resonate with your personal view of self-confidence. You have assembled quite an insightful and profound definition!

  18. Ciara,

    You are welcome, and thank you for your kind feedback. I’m glad this post gave you the feeling of confident. So often, people underestimate their own value, so reassurance is always nice.

  19. Bobbi,

    Thank you. Yes, it’s essential to accept flaws, because perfection is unattainable and if we wait to be perfect, we could never be confident. Confidence is not about being flawless….it’s about having the strength and self-belief to keep going despite our weaknesses.

  20. Jane,

    Thank you. Measuring everyone by the same standards is one of the major failings of today’s society, whether it’s parents measuring their children, schools measuring students, or companies measuring employees. So while others forget our uniqueness, we must remember it :-)

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