Self-confidence is essentially an attitude which allows us to have a positive and realistic perception of ourselves and our abilities. It is characterised by personal attributes such as assertiveness, optimism, enthusiasm, affection, pride, independence, trust, the ability to handle criticism and emotional maturity.
Confidence is learned, it is not inherited. If you lack confidence, it probably means that, as a child, you were criticised, undermined, or suffered an inexplicable tragic loss, for which you either blamed yourself or were blamed by others. A lack of confidence isn’t necessarily permanent but it can be if it isn’t addressed. Our religion, the influence of the culture which formed our perspectives, our gender, social class and our parents, in particular, are all factors which influence and contribute to our level of confidence and esteem.
Confident people have deep faith in their future and can accurately assess their capabilities. They also have a general sense of control in their lives and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they desire, plan and expect, no matter what the foreseeable obstacle. But this faith is guided by more realistic expectations so that, even when some of their goals are not met, those with confidence continue to be positive, to believe in themselves and to accept their current limitations with renewed energy. However, having high self-confidence does not mean they will be able to do everything they want. That view is unrealistic, one for the perfectionists. A desire to be good at everything we do in order to impress others stems from a competitive instinct and lack of personal reinforcement. Any truly successful life has both rewards and the ability to learn from any setbacks, which increase our resilience, self- belief and determination. Real confidence requires that we face the possibility of failure constantly and deal with it. However, if we consistently lose out on both achievement and validation, even our identity is called into question.