Why Self-confidence Really Matters
Self-confidence, also known as self-esteem, which is to feel good about one’s self, is something we are all interested in. Everyone wants more self-confidence and no one wants less. In fact, it is arguably the biggest motive behind the majority of our actions. Several great philosophers and psychologists alike, such as Sigmund Freud and William James, proved that people’s biggest need and desire is to feel important. In other words: we all crave feeling good about ourselves.
People will do a lot to feel important. They even sometimes do bad things just to get attention and recognition. Those who shoot people in schools and people who commit awful crimes are a good example — they are all full of ego and do crave attention.
People can even go mad trying to feel good about themselves. They find in insanity the feeling of importance that they lack in the real world. They do believe crazy things that are totally wrong because those beliefs give them a feeling of importance.
And normal people like you and me aren’t different from the types of people mentioned previously in terms of motives — we also want to feel better about themselves more than anything else.
In contrast, we hate insecurity. Because having low self-confidence simply feels bad and limits our freedom in the world and stops us from living our lives to the fullest. It prevents us from doing what we want to do, saying what we want to say, and being who want to be simply because we are afraid of what might others think of us. We start to avoid taking any sort of action that includes the risk of being judged negatively by others.
Since self-confidence is something very important to all of us, we need to understand it and discover how we can attain it in order to live a happy and fulfilling life.
The Problem With “How to be Confident” Content
Everyone who reads this post probably already has good knowledge on how to become more confident, because the Internet is full of this type of content. There is an unlimited amount of videos, courses, and articles that give advice on how to develop higher self-esteem.
However, the vast majority of this content creates more problems than it solves, and it brings about bigger insecurities for the people who consume it. Because when you watch those videos and read those articles, they give you a hundred things you must have or do in order to feel good about yourself.
As a result of being aware of the many different things that you miss and need to have in order to become confident, you feel more inadequate than you were before consuming all that content.
People who create this content do this purposefully. They want you to think that you need to have many things to finally have high self-esteem. They want you to think that you need to buy their book, courses, or attend their workshop to become confident.
They want you to think that being confident is a very complex thing that requires a whole book, course, workshop, or a bunch of videos to be fully understood and achieved. But the reality is different; it’s very simple.
It’s not profitable for those coaches and content creators to make it look simple. Because if you believe that it’s simple then how can they make money.
Who is going to continue consuming and buying their content if there are no insecure people who think that they are not already enough?
And the problem is not just with people who promote “how to be confident” content. The problem is with all people who promote “how to be better” content. They all prey on the same people: people who do not feel good about themselves and think that there is something wrong with them.
I’m not saying that trying to grow better by consuming any type of media is bad. It’s meaningful and important. Trying to become better out of insecurity and self-hatred is the problem, as opposed to doing so out of self-love.
What You Really Need To Achieve Great Confidence
The secret to building high confidence is not by becoming better, whatever “better” means — a better car, body, skills, etc. The secret is to accept yourself as you are, especially your shortcomings. The secret is knowing that it’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to be nervous in social situations. It’s okay to not have a perfect body. It’s ok to fail. All these things are normal, if not necessary, in the human experience.
Developing ourselves and our lives is great. But if you try to do this because you hate and not accept your imperfections, you will find it very hard to grow, as we become most aware of our imperfections when we try to develop ourselves. I will explain.
We are aware of our ignorance when we read. We are aware of our lack of fitness when we exercise. We are aware of our social anxiety when we approach strangers.
Therefore, if you hate your shortcomings you will never be able to sustain the process of learning and developing yourself because it makes you aware of them and therefore makes you feel bad about yourself.
To illustrate this point further, I’ll use an example of the most confident people in the world. They are children. They are the people who never read a course, watched a video, or attended a seminar. Nevertheless, they are the absolute personification of confidence. Children just do what they want to do without being afraid of being imperfect, making mistakes, failing, or being judged negatively.
Falling over and over while trying to learn how to walk never bother children or make them feel bad. They just keep trying with more excitement and curiosity. They are willing to be imperfect learn and grow as a result.
A child naturally accepts their nature, which is being imperfect. If a child was to hate and feel ashamed of their imperfect nature, they would never learn to walk and speak. Because they will hate and try to avoid the process of making mistakes and failing, which is necessary for growth.
Acceptance and not being afraid of being imperfect is what makes children so free and confident. Therefore, the basis of self-confidence is the ability to accept one’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
In this sense, the challenge is not to become confident, but to stay confident as you grow older.
Break Free From Your Childhood
Unfortunately, because of family and society, many people lose their natural self-acceptance in their childhood and, consequently, they lose their confidence. They grow accumulating various complexes that limit their freedom in the world.
If you are insecure, then you probably had parents that did not love and accept you regardless of your imperfections. And if you are confident, then you probably had parents that did love and accept you as you are.
When parents do not allow their children to make mistakes, make a mess, and be imperfect, and instead criticize them harshly, their children will grow up hating their imperfections as well as themselves — since we are always imperfect.
They will feel afraid of doing anything that includes the risk of being imperfect, especially if they are in front of others. And because of this great fear, they become quiet and tense — primary signs of insecurity.
On the other hand, if parents did allow their children to be imperfect by accepting their imperfections and loving them despite it, their children will grow up thinking that it is okay to make mistakes, fail, and have weaknesses. They will grow up accepting and loving themselves despite their shortcomings.
They are not afraid of doing something imperfectly and being judged negatively by others because they already accept themselves fully. They are not afraid to speak and move freely with an open heart, voice, and body.
Accept that Some People will Dislike or Hate You
There is another thing we must accept to be completely free in our lives. It is people’s criticism. There will be always some, if not many, people who dislike or even hate you. And it’s easy to take their criticisms seriously and personally. But the truth is, their criticisms have nothing to do with you personally.
Most people feel that there is something wrong with them when others degrade or make fun of them. The truth is, however, is that there is no problem with you because it’s normal to be imperfect, the problem is with
people who criticize, make fun of others, and try to make them feel bad about themselves.
In other words, people who degrade others do so because they have emotional problems they try to manage.
Because when people criticize, they do so to solve or assuage the emotional problems they have, which are typically insecurity, envy, and boredom.
Insecurity: People criticize when they feel insecure because criticizing others and projecting our insecurities onto them is the fastest and easiest way to feel good about ourselves, even if just temporarily.
Envy: People criticize when they envy you. The fact that you are better than them in some way makes them feel insecure and, therefore, they grow to hate you. Famous and highly successful people are a great example. They have thousands if not millions of haters. Because they stir up insecurity in others. The better you are, the more you will have people who hate you.
Boredom: People criticize when their life is empty and they have nothing to do. Let’s be honest, criticizing, and making fun of others is one of the easiest and fastest ways to have a good time.
Accept yourself and know that people often criticize out of insecurity, envy, or boredom. So you shouldn’t take their negative opinions about you personally. Don’t let them get under your skin; and don’t let them affect how you feel about yourself.
Know that there is nothing wrong with you. There is something wrong with them — they have emotional problems they are trying to manage by degrading others.
Accept Yourself First Then Work to Grow Better
You may be asking “If I could be confident and feel good about myself just through accepting my imperfections, then why I would want to develop myself anymore?”
I will answer your question with another question: If you had a child, would you accept and love him as he is? Of course you would.
The other question is: Would you, nevertheless, want them to grow better? Of course!
As an adult, you are your own child. You should accept and love yourself fully, but still work hard to grow better. This is true love.
You can continue to consume valuable content and do the things that will help you to grow as long as you do so out of self-love and not out of self-hate or insecurity, and after fully accepting yourself.
The secret to building unshakable confidence is to accept and love yourself for who you are and to accept your shortcomings.
True confidence can’t be achieved by consuming more content, buying more things, or reading more books. It’s achieved only through exercising your freedom by doing whatever you want to do without worrying about upsetting some people or being imperfect.
When you are comfortable with being imperfect, you won’t fear following your goals, because you know it’s normal to fail. You won’t fear to develop yourself, because you know it’s normal to make mistakes. You won’t fear to start a conversation with a stranger or getting rejected by your crush, because you know it’s normal to be rejected and not liked by everyone.
Today you must stop trying to build confidence through reading books, watching videos, and attending workshops. You must stop being emotionally dependent on people’s opinions to feel good about yourself. You are already enough, even if you have imperfections. You are human, and humans are always imperfect.
Practice accepting instead of condemning. The next time you find yourself beating yourself up, or when someone tries to make you feel bad about yourself by pointing out your shortcomings, say to yourself “I’m imperfect, and I’m okay with that. I still love myself.”