Three steps to authentic self-confidence

Three steps to authentic self-confidence

JOSH SCHIRCH

Contributing Writer

joshuas2@goshen.edu

Con•fi•dence

noun

      The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

  The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.

  A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

It is important to understand the difference in appearing confident and materializing a truly confident self in front of other people. If your goal is to only appear confident to other people, this can be achieved easily enough through a Google search and a change in body language habits. Radiating an authentic confidence on the other hand is a much more complicated and demanding project. I won’t pretend to be an expert in the matter, considering I myself still wallow through pools of self-doubt and anxiety from time to time. Still, through all of my toil and turmoil so far, I’ve found that there seems to be three major steps that need to be taken in order to find that inner peace our hearts yearn for.

The first, and possibly the hardest of the three is coming to terms with and accepting the parts of yourself you can’t change. We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to other people, wishing we could be more attractive, or athletic, or intelligent, or charming. Basically, we wish we were less ourselves.  We need to understand that we need not to change these things about us, but we can improve the parts of ourselves that we can’t accept. But for many of us, those changes never seem to be enough. If you can’t accept yourself for who you are now, you’ll never be happy with the person that stares back at you in the mirror. If we live our lives comparing ourselves to others, we’ll never be able to understand that we can be someone worthy of admiration as well.

The second step is to begin working towards becoming a person that you can be proud of.  This isn’t going to be an easy one-step solution; I’m guessing most people spend their entire lives deciding what it means to be good, but the best time to start is now. Obviously, the parameters of this topic are going to be blurrier than most, considering morality is human-made and right or wrong is a relative concept that changes from continent to continent, country to country, state to state and person to person, but remember that it is going to be incredibly hard for anyone to authentically believe in themselves if they’re not sure they are someone that deserves to be believed in. You need to remind yourself of the great things you have achieved and the great things you are yet to achieve.

And the last is understanding your own humanity. “Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall can I get up again,” said Vincent van Gogh. This last one I’m sure is one that most people struggle with on a day-to-day basis. How can we learn to forgive ourselves in a society that constantly demands perfection? It’s important to become aware of our own humanity and extend grace to ourselves when we stumble, because God knows we will.

It’s important to understand that our mistakes are not what define us, but instead, how we learn from them. True inner confidence shapes itself into iron, not diamond, because iron will bend and yield under pressure, instead of shattering into a thousand pieces.

Let us not confuse confidence with conceitedness or with arrogance. It’s not a bad thing to love yourself and neither is it a bad thing to be confident in who you are.

Confidence is a mix of understanding your worth, understanding your power, loving yourself and showing love to those around you.

Confidence is speaking your mind and accepting the opinion of others as well. Confidence means growth and success. Self-confidence shines, conceit blinds.

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