Thinking Yourself Better Can Only Go So Far

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • I can't recall the number of times I must have listened to people beating themselves up over some relatively minor issue. Some people fret, cry, get angry, give themselves a good dressing down and really struggle to put things into some kind of perspective. Then again, some very stressed-out folk deny anything is wrong or seem incapable of understanding why their approach to say, work, other people, various aspects of life don't quite work. Sometimes they invent scenario's or stories they hope will raise their esteem in the eyes of others. Yet in both these cases the root of the problem often comes down to one thing, self-confidence.

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    I've also listened to people say how they try to think confidently in the hope this will lift their spirits. This, and other forms of self-talk can be useful, up to a point, but it needs to extend beyond the brain. For this to happen they need to create a kind of feedback loop in which their thoughts become actions. Then, based on the feedback around them, they can gradually refine the process. Only by experimenting with confident behavior does a person begin to develop some kind of mastery over their world. There's an intimate link between the way we feel about ourselves and the associated mood. Generally speaking, the more confident you feel the better your mood.


    Regulating your behavior is easier than trying to regulate your emotions. Lots of people do this in situations where they feel less than confident, but by acting confidently they put others and themselves at ease. This is really a case of using behavior in order to drive and control emotions and it makes perfect sense. Confident people tend to have a well-developed sense of self. Our self-image is really a cluster of different techniques and memories. Very few people portray to others the person they know themselves to be. The seeming confidence of some people can be fairly fragile and if put under too much pressure will implode. This should tell us something about the importance of not trying too hard and stretching our public persona to breaking point.


    Understanding how we ourselves tick can take years. Along the way we'll make all kinds of errors but it's one of the ways we learn. Eventually, with time, practice and perhaps a little luck, we'll find a way of operating in the world effectively and with confidence. Of course confidence isn't a requirement but it helps. This fact has helped spawn a huge industry in self-help material often from people who have nothing but their own self-confidence as the selling point. But it doesn't really matter how you package the message because it boils down to a requirement for you to make changes in yourself.


    There is no magic formula. Confidence is something that grows and develops over time but it doesn't necessarily follow you around. You may be highly confident in some situations and not in others. If however you begin to speak and act with authority you will quickly find that others, then you, believe in yourself. The upside of this is not only do you feel better, you'll find a reduction in stress, an increase in self-worth and your mood lifts. What starts out as a contrived and possibly difficult exercise will eventually become a part of your character. Keep in mind that confidence is a state of mind and that it's up to you to nurture it through practice.


Published On: December 07, 2011