Self confidence is something that is subjective to everyone. Yet, it’s a topic that everyone has an opinion on. Whether it’s how to build it or why you need it. Regardless of the angle people are constantly adding their two cents. But what does it really mean to have self confidence? Let’s find out.
Class is in Session
In my marketing class, we were learning about psychological influences that play a part in marketing products. One thing really stuck out to me. It was an influence called Self-Concept. According to our textbook a Self-Concept is a collection of ideas and beliefs that we hold about ourselves. Which in even simpler terms is how we see ourselves being able to grow and change. There are four parts to every self-concept: Real Self, Self image, Looking glass self, and Ideal self.
Your Real Self or Actual Self is who you are currently. It is made up of all your current attributes. Be it your acne, stretch marks, mindset, occupational label, habits, etc. It represents the culmination of your past and present. Or as I like the to think of it, your current canvas.
Your Self image is the most subjective part of you. It is the way you view yourself. The labels that you choose to stick with. I guess this is where “self confidence” joins the party. Because this is the part of your identity where you choose the light you want to see yourself under.
Your Looking glass self is how we think other people perceive us. It’s the out of body experience that we all wish to have. It’s the psychological influence that causes us to value people’s opinion. Because this is the part of us that seems to believe that all of our flaws are magnified under public eyes.
Lastly, your ideal self is just that your ideal self. It’s the you that you wish to be. The goal version that you are putting the work into becoming. It’s the you that is shaped by your growing beliefs, new experiences, and everyday interactions.
The cool thing about learning about self concept was understanding just how subjective and multifaceted self confidence is. Because just from understanding how we view ourselves from different points of view, we learn how so many things are taken into account when dealing with human perspectives. We also see how self confidence surpasses simply feeling comfortable within our skin and our flaws. It is a culmination of everything that we are, from our appearances to our experiences and habits. Which is why we can’t simply let other people’s word be the only thing we take into account when building our self confidence or even just simply when we’re learning about it.
Self Tips & Confidence Cliches
Like I said in the beginning, everyone has their two cents when it comes to the topic of confidence building. Be it “Fake it till you make it” or ” Just be yourself”. Both aren’t bad advice but they’ve become cliche advice for a reason. Maybe the reason is because they actually work. Or, maybe the reason is because people want them to work. Regardless of what the reason is, the point is everyone is on the same boat when it comes to self confidence.
We are all constantly learning and growing. Which means that we are always changing. And change is uncomfortable. Why? To put it simply change is scary. Just like brand new territory always is. But, sometimes the thing that terrifies us the most isn’t what change will bring but how it’ll change the way people will perceive you.
Now, I am fully aware of the “I don’t care” attitude. But, as much as we claim to have that attitude and mentality it will never be a hundred percent true. Because we are human. Which means that we will always want some form of validation. Be it from family, friends, or from God. It’s why we struggle with self confidence. It’s why we morph ourselves to fit a certain ideal version of who we should be.
I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting validation. As long as it’s not what your world revolves around. Because that will eventually lead to your own down fall. Chasing the approval of everyone will get you no where. Which is why finding a balance between your ideal self and real self is important.
Real Life, Real Talk
In a world that makes us crave individuality, it’s important to know that it’s okay to fit into a box. I know that sounds bad, but it really isn’t. You see, even though there are things about us that sets us apart from the rest. There are also things about us that makes us just like everyone. If this wasn’t the case then trends, fads, and icons wouldn’t be a thing.
Think about it. Why is it that we have labels in the first place. Isn’t it because there are a group of people who have similar characteristics. Be it fashion sense, beliefs, or habits. Okay. Now ask yourself, why is it that you like certain things enough to want to duplicate them yourself. It isn’t because your cookie cutter or fit into a mold. It’s because as much as you want to deny it, you fit into a box of some sort. We all do.
You see, society’s standards not only manipulates us but it also divides us. You have those who who deeply crave individuality and those who deeply crave conformity. We see this in the way that certain body types or lifestyles are glamorized by the media and the reactions that people will have to what is being promoted.
The group who craves individuality will reject everything and fight back. It isn’t always a bad thing. This group of people are often the ones who speaks up against the ridiculous standards that society sets. They pride themselves in promoting a lifestyle where everyone is their own person and is accepted – flaws and all. The second group, the one who craves conformity will often strive to reach the standards of society. They pride themselves in being labeled with what is “in” – such as VSCO girls. To the point where their labels often become a part of their identity.
Now, while both types of people have acceptable points of view. They have one thing in common that they don’t realize – they fit in a box. Because, whether we want to admit it or not the idea of being a completely unique individual isn’t really possible. Cause if that were possible then no one would ever be able to relate to another person. Nor, would we be able to market anything to anyone.
So, what does it really mean to have confidence? Well, according to Psychology Today, “Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly.” The key words being “belief in oneself”. Now why are these words important when it comes to confidence? Because, at the end of the day you can’t control the thoughts, or actions of anyone but yourself. That’s why regardless of whether you choose to conform to societal standards or you choose to seek individuality, you must believe in who you are.
Think of it this way, standards are the barriers that surround us. Confidence is the sledge hammer that allows you to break past the barriers. And your perspective or “belief” is the power that you need to wield confidence and smash through the barriers that standards presents. Which means at the end of the day, you define what being confident is and what that may look like.
Confidence like the self concept is multifaceted and means different things to everyone. To some, it may mean that they have come to terms that they can’t please everyone, so they no longer seek constant approval from others. Or, maybe it is being able to identify with something or group that allows them to feel a sense of belonging. Regardless of what it is, we must come to term with the fact that the road to becoming confident isn’t a straight road. In fact it’s as crazy as the come.
There is no guide book to becoming confident. Because believe it or not, confidence is a reflection of who we are. It isn’t something that achieving our ideal self will bring. It is something that comes with acceptance for who we are and what we’ve accomplished.
I’ll leave you with this, achieving confidence takes time and no one can provide you a road map to achieving it. We all have our own sets of insecurities and faults that keep us from feeling confident. Which is why before you create your ideal self – the self which you think will make you feel more confident – first, identify why you haven’t already reached the point of being confident.
Like all things, achieving confidence takes time. It takes work and takes growth. Your ideal self doesn’t guarantee you confidence. Because at the end of the day, being confident comes with believing in yourself and who you are as a person. No amount of money, perfect skin or amazing grades will change that. So, don’t fool yourself by assuming that by appearing “perfect” confidence will magically find you and attach itself to you.
Learn how to take time out of your life to ask yourself what really matters and what you can do to focus on that. But, more importantly don’t be too hard on yourself. Being confident is a lot simpler than you may think. Sometimes the big picture becomes jumbled because we are focusing too much on the wrong things. REMEMBER, you determine what confidence is to you and no one can take that from you.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article. Share some of your thoughts down below and if you’d like me to write more self growth articles like this one. Also, just out of curiosity what does confidence look like to you ?
Peace be unto you all. I hope you have a wonderful day! <3