What Creates Confidence?

Where do you think confidence comes from?

Our parents, teachers, and culture tell us that confidence comes from gathering lots of experience and knowledge. Becoming the expert, becoming the best, or knowing the right answer are the ways we are taught to build confidence. It’s all about having enough. Once we have enough experience, knowledge, credentials, titles, seniority, money, material possessions (the list goes on), then we will feel confident. We see confidence as a safe and secure way to be ‘right’ in the world. When we come off as ‘confident’ we must be right. When we feel we are right, we can be confident about our point of view about ourselves and the world around us.

The reality is when we see ourselves as the expert, the best, or as the one that ‘knows’ the right answer, we can’t be made ‘wrong’ by others, and that is how we generate the confidence we seek.

This kind of confidence depends on the ideas of right and wrong for its power. It depends on comparing myself to others and if they are right or wrong. If I see myself as wrong, I lose confidence. If I see myself as right, I gain confidence. One of the problems with this kind of confidence is that not everyone can have it.  It is based on something that often must be collected or earned in the future. This keeps our confidence out of our present-moment reach. It sure seems like a lot of work to gather all that knowledge to become the best or the expert for others to avoid the feelings of failing or being wrong. And, this type of confidence can always be ‘shaken’ or ‘taken’ as others make quantum leaps in new knowledge and experiences that we need to keep up with. A precarious place indeed.

If I can be OK with myself, regardless of what others are saying, feeling, or doing, that self-acceptance leads me to true confidence.

What if we just went right to the heart of the matter and addressed our fear of being wrong or not enough in the first place? The way to neutralize the fear of being wrong or of not being enough is to release the judgment we have about ourselves and others. If we didn’t judge ourselves or others in the right-wrong, good-bad, comparison games that we play in our minds, we could instead simply accept ourselves and what is right for us in each moment and allow others to do the same for themselves. If I can be OK with myself, regardless of what others are saying, feeling, or doing, that self-acceptance leads me to true confidence. The kind of confidence that can’t be shaken or taken when we are challenged by others or the status quo.

When I stop resisting what is actually happening and what I’m experiencing, and I allow myself to acknowledge how it is for me and what feels best in the present moment, I put myself in a position of self-acceptance. While I may want things to be different so I can feel better in the future, I am able to be loving to myself as I currently am. That is self-acceptance. I’m OK just the way I am. I’m doing the best I can in the most self-loving way I know moment by moment.

THIS is the place of true confidence. Accepting every part of myself as OK just the way it is right now. My thoughts, my feelings, my passions, my choices, my pain, my desires, my needs, my crazy ideas. When I know what I most need comes from the inside, and not from others, I stop focusing on wrong and right. I stop focusing on getting what I need from other people and future circumstances. I start doing what is most loving for me moment to moment creating the confidence I need to stay open to new experiences and growth. My true confidence opens me to discovery, insight, creative expression and allows me to focus on what is right for me while allowing others to do the same for themselves.

How can you build true confidence today?


Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
WENDY is passionate about enabling individuals, organizations and communities to value themselves and each other in the ongoing process of change. Wendy has guided hundreds of individuals and over 750+ public and private sector organizations to achieve tangible increases in impact and performance. Her successful practice in mentoring and coaching has led to authorship of the book, ‘Live a Life You Love and Make a Living Doing It’. Over the last 30 years, Wendy’s skills have been honed in leadership roles at MTV Networks, The Rensselaerville Institute, and a variety of community based projects in her town. In 2015 she launched BeliefWorks and offers Belief Coaching as a way to address the root cause of what limits the results we can achieve both personally and professionally. This is an 'upstream' solution to change. Instead of changing limiting behavior, she focuses on changing the limiting beliefs that drive that behavior. In all cases, her clients and partners speak to the specific increases in achievement that her consulting, coaching and partnership roles make possible.

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  1. Self-confidence is an ingredient that should not be missing in order to be successful in life and to achieve one’s goals.
    I believe that what makes us human is exactly having faith in the future and in others.
    Knowing that we can count on the community around us, for example, is the glue of all our bonds, from love to friendship, to work relationships. And even in these times of great pessimism, which can lead us to doubt everything and everyone, we must never give up hope: it would mean abandoning ourselves to apathy and isolation, the great evil of our society.

    • Hi Aldo – yes, we must never give up hope or abandon our self-worth to others. We never have to abandon ourselves when we allow all of ourselves to be OK just as we are. When we feel OK with ourselves, just the way we are, we never have to abandon ourselves to apathy and isolation and the lonely separation it creates. Thank you so much for sharing what you believe and how we can all benefit from it. Happy New Year to you!

  2. Thanks for your two cents Deas. And you hit the nail on the head … It has everything to do with our willingness to take on looking at the parts of ourselves we have rejected resisted or hidden away.

    When are ego tells us stories of how we’re not enough or there’s something wrong with us it bullies us into fearing these parts of us will create more pain.

    Recognizing our feelings can feel uncomfortable and scary, yet most of us are perfectly capable of experiencing the sensations moving through. Then we can get their message. Typically it’s telling us that we’re not getting what we want or we’re getting something we don’t want. From there acceptance becomes possible and then we can relax. From this relaxed place our confidence can soar.

  3. Hi, Wendy Watson-Hallowell.
    Thank you for an interesting article which, IF people can take it on board, has the potential to change lives.

    Some of my thoughts – starting with a ‘different’ one:

    From the flower power era: “Reality is only for people who can’t handle drugs.” (But then drugs ARE a ‘reality’ for some people.)

    Next, if beliefs create reality, then with the HYOOOGE numbers of different beliefs spread throughout the human race, there are gonna be a HELLUVA LOTTTTTA different ‘realities’ out there. And that is O.K., so long as people allow others to have their own ‘realities’ and don’t try to force their personal ‘realities’ down other people’s throats or harm them because they have different ‘realities’.

    So just what is ‘reality’? I would suggest that my favorite definition of ‘truth’ might also apply to ‘reality’; “A truth is something that NEVER changes.” Which leaves the ‘kwestyun’: “How much is there in this world that NEVER changes?”

    Do you remember a song entitled, “One Day At A Time”?

    I had – unconsciously – started living that back in the early-mid 1970s. It was driven home to me in 1978 when my first-born son was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at age 4 years. Since then, doing the best I can with what I have at the time and being present in the moment has been my way of life.

    I attach little to NO value to money or material possessions beyond what I need to survive. I don’t claim to ‘know’ anything ‘coz I can’t lay it out before you and say, “There it is, proved beyond any question or shadow of doubt.” That said, I share my understandings and my experiences with anybody who expresses an interest and ask nought in return.

    That is my ‘reality’.

    Just my 0.02.

    You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.

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