There are two sides to self confidence. There’s how we feel about ourselves and then there’s confidence in others, which is closely linked to trust. Confidence in others can take quite a lot to build up but can easily and rapidly be lost. It can be very easy to make self confidence “other-person related”.
This is very evident curiously enough in the current furore over banking in the UK. Banking is built on confidence. That’s why you put your money in a bank. But because of the slump since 2008, confidence has been severely lacking. And it’s spread out to include politicians and journalists. When we find the trust has apparently been betrayed, as with the alleged fiddling of interest rates, there’s an explosion, all the worse when it appears politicians were involved too.
So too with our relationships: having confidence in your partner is crucial. If we find out our partner has cheated on us, it gets very hard to trust them. Yet a relationship is based on trust. You need to know they’ll show up for you, they’ll be there for you, they’ll honour your confiding in them, they will respect your space, they’ll reciprocate when you put yourself on the line for them, and so on.
A betrayal of trust is like a rejection. It can hurt deeply. If someone’s proven not to be there for you, you can feel abandoned. You might also feel like it’s an injury, depending on what’s happened.
Confidence in life, in its ability to deliver for us is profoundly important. For those who have such confidence, it’s like knowing that in each step you take, the ground is firm and steady and it supports and sustains you. Things show up when you need them to. All sorts of things appear just when needed. Life works. Without this trust, there’s a doubt and a questioning. Will this happen OK? Will I be safe? Will the road be OK to drive along? Will that car drive past me safely or will it do something dangerous? In my job, will others respect me when I speak up and go for what I want? Will they think I’m worth it if I go for that job? Will people see my value? To those that have self confidence, they just believe it will be OK, until they get evidence to the contrary. To those that lack self confidence, there is often fear, anxiety and doubt. There is a doubt that the world will show up for them as they need it to, and there’s also an inner doubt about themselves. This will vary according to the context of course.
Whatever the challenge and the level, contemplating an action can give us anxiety and we’re not sure we can do it and that it will work. Very often this involves a question of whether others will respond as we need them to. Will we get what we want?
This is why a key aspect to self confidence work is to learn to face our fears, and to build up trust by experimentation, taking action and trying things out, often in the process challenging the inner dialogue that can so easily undermine us. It can sometimes be like we’re learning anew certain life skills, like for example the art of communication and influencing, but this time with an inner faith and an inner power, one we hold true for ourselves whatever seems to happen in the world “out there”. That’s when we need to go within and decide that “in here” is OK. That’s when we take action based on inner confidence.