It may feel like some people are just born confident, and there is no doubt that your upbringing and life experiences can increase or decrease your confidence level, but no matter your age, you can begin cultivating confidence with this fairly simple strategy I’m going to share.
Let’s explore, starting from the beginning.
What is confidence?
Confidence is a feeling or belief that you can have faith in or rely on someone or something, and in this context, we are talking about confidence in yourself.
This means that you have a good level of self-belief, you acknowledge your achievements and progress, and you recognise your abilities.
Are extroverts more confident than introverts?
You might associate extroverts as being more confident than introverts, but being louder does not indicate higher levels of confidence, just as being quieter does not indicate lower levels of confidence.
Extroversion and introversion are distinguished by how people feel energised. Extroverts thrive when surrounded by many people, whereas introverts prefer solace and their own space. But they can be equally as confident or talented, even if they present themselves differently.
Is confidence a masculine trait?
Socially constructed views of masculinity and femininity can represent stereotypical traits or behaviours. However, confidence comes from an internal feeling, which is not dependent on how masculine, or not, someone feels or is perceived to be.
Saying that, there are studies which show that men often demonstrate more physically confident cues than women in specific situations and that those who are more confident tend to have higher levels of testosterone, which can be correlated with masculinity.
Where does ego come into it?
People who display behaviours like outgoingness, rudeness, or dominating a group situation sometimes actually lack self-confidence.
They mask it by using coping strategies and defence mechanisms to protect themselves which can show up as aggression or frustration. Basically, their ego – or sense of self, tends to take over. You might have experienced this in meetings, particularly at work.
The person behaves this way either unknowingly or with some sense of their behaviour, but without the understanding or tools to change things. Counselling can really help people in that situation.
Are confidence levels fixed?
Your level of confidence is not fixed, and you might be able to recall times in your past when you were more or less confident than today.
Confidence can naturally ebb and flow over time, but we must appreciate that past experiences and trauma can have long-lasting negative impacts on confidence and self-belief.
That said, we can do things to increase how confident we feel, such as a simple exercise called a power pose.
How to increase confidence
Social psychologist and university professor Amy Cuddy delivered a TED Talk [link to: ] in 2012 which has been viewed almost 66 million times.
In the talk, Amy explains that body language not only affects how others see us, but it also changes how we see ourselves.
Standing in a “power pose” for 2 minutes, even when we don’t feel confident, can boost feelings of confidence. It’s so powerful, that it can actually change our hormone levels, increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone).
All you need to do is stand tall with your legs slightly apart and your hands on your hips, like Superwoman. That’s it. Just two minutes of that in private can help you experience more confidence before interviews, meetings, and important conversations. And if you aren’t able to stand in that position due to disability, there are other power poses shown in the video.
Cultivating confidence takes just two minutes and requires no equipment or resources. Anyone can do it. You can do it.
Challenge yourself today to give it a try, and repeat it as often as you need.
Getting support to be more confident
If you are struggling with self-doubt, low confidence, or being able to speak up for your own needs, please know that you are not alone and professional counselling can help you to be more confident.
As a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, I offer a form of counselling that concentrates on you as a whole person – mind, body and soul.
I look to create an environment where you feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed, giving you the opportunity to explore any obstacles you are facing. By talking regularly, we can work together to overcome challenges and move forward in a positive light so you can make the changes you want to.
If you would like to find out more about counselling or book a session, contact me for an informal chat.