Confident Mindset: How Can You Have It?

2024-05 - Confident_MoosePhotos

What do confident people look like? How do they carry themselves or act? What characteristics differentiate them from others who are less confident? How can you actually tell whether someone is confident or not? How can you live with confidence?

Knowing yourself and having a knowledge of what you are interested in sparks inner confidence. Add some life experiences along with your knowledge and you will see your confidence rating increase. The more you become aware of how these two things affect how confident you feel, the more comfortable you will feel in your skin.

I had a conversation with an adult woman who had been through many difficult situations where she felt taken advantage of and mistreated. Over time, this type of treatment bred distrust. She felt great resentment for the people who seemed to have control over the choices she’d made. She had actively come to a point where she knew she needed to make some serious life changes. She was taking steps to move to a new city, start a new career and create a fresh start. She was so scorned from her past, however, that she was forgetting the part of the process that included letting go of the resentment and fear she’d been living with so that she could move forward without carrying worn-out mental baggage.

So, in our conversation she came across a bit hostile in trying to make statements about how she was going to have life on her own terms. It occurred to me that she was still in the “working it out” phase and hadn’t yet achieved a confident living mindset.

It may help to know this interaction was an interview, not just a conversation with a friend who was sharing their story. It reminded me of what real confidence looks like, and this was not it.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

My experience has been that those who have moved through the murky waters of life, gaining experience and grounding that comes from washing themselves clean of any residue from such, don’t have to “announce” their place. They simply state what they need or expect and are good to move on until that is what they get! They don’t have to convince anyone that they are worth it. They know their worth.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

Putting in the time and doing the work is requisite in order to stand on solid ground and make decisions with confidence. Trusting in yourself comes from being in agreement with what you value and believe in, then honoring that inner trust when an opportunity comes along to prove it. You will tolerate injustices and imbalances less often, or not at all. You will also be more patient and will wait until the right opportunity presents itself rather than settle for the first person, place or thing that comes along.

I remember when I first learned how to use an automatic nail gun. I was nervous and didn’t want to make any mistakes. My husband gave me instructions on how to hold the gun, where to place it and how to shoot the nail into the wood. The recoil upon shooting was unexpected, even though he told me to anticipate it. It was also a surprise when I touched the trigger so lightly and a second nail shot out quickly. Yet, with each pull of the trigger I got better and better, until I felt empowered and excited to be doing a good job. I was affectionately referred to as “Lady Lara Croft.” Only experiencing the actual work could make me better at it and increase my confidence.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott

I recall a character that Brad Pitt played, Tristan, in the movie Legends of the Fall. Tristan’s character was true to himself, his beliefs and how he felt about people and life. He didn’t do things to make others feel better if he didn’t agree with it. Some will say that is selfish. I see it as genuine, real and raw. You always know where you stand with this kind of person. You might not agree with everything he stands for, but you never have to guess what he believes in.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” — Rosa Parks

Another way to build confidence is to pay attention. Be aware of situations. Watch, listen and observe what is shared. It will increase your knowledge. From this vantage point you can conserve your energy, analyze the details and generally make a clear interpretation. You don’t always have to add your “two cents” during the exchange. Be patient, watch and listen. As you listen to your thoughts with contemplation this builds assurance, which will make sharing your thoughts or making a decision much easier.

The bottom line is you must trust your instincts, gain knowledge and practice what you know. Real authority is earned and comes from speaking the truth that comes from what you have learned by education and demonstration. If you are still unsure how to gain confidence, find someone you admire and study them. Watch their mannerisms, how they speak, how they move, how they stand. How do they make connection with others? Then put into practice what you observe and watch as you find which parts resonate with you most. This will begin to help shape your own growth and confidence.

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” — Tina Fey