What Is Confidence, and Why Do So Many Women Lack It?
Episode #1 of the course Self-confidence for women by Jenny Tudor
Hi, I’m Jennifer Tudor. A director in communications, and a trainee counselor and psychotherapist. Our goal in this course is to help you learn the tools you need to build your confidence. Strengthen your communication skills. And know how to say “no”.
Because here’s the thing—confidence isn’t innate—you can learn skills and tips to help you become more confident. Wherever your insecurity may have come from, it doesn’t have to rule your life.
Let’s start with a basic definition of confidence:
Confidence comes from the Latin word “confidere”, which means “to trust”. Self-confidence is having trust in one’s self.
This definition doesn’t add that a lack of confidence can affect your whole life—making everything feel hard, less achievable, and making you feel small and not good enough. Confidence is all caught up with how you judge yourself in coping with what life throws at you. It’s about your self-esteem, how you compare yourself to others and how you measure your value and your self-worth.
Confidence is not something you’re born with; this is a myth. It’s a skill that every single one of us can learn and improve on. It’s about acknowledging and accepting your achievements, your failures, and your progress.
Believing you’re not intelligent, witty, or attractive enough is debilitating. It may cause you to have attacks of insecurity or more sadly cause you to hide away from the world and yourself.
We can change the never-ending cycle of low self-confidence by changing how you feel, think, and act. And, please remember no one knows your insecurities but you. How you picture yourself isn’t how others envision you.
Many women have difficulty developing and maintaining self-confidence. We’re all vulnerable and struggling in one way or another, due to our gender. We’re socialized to stay small, not to offend others. Due to this, we all doubt ourselves sometimes.
We instinctively focus on our family and loved ones—but not ourselves. So taking the time for self-development doesn’t always make our busy schedules or overflowing to-do lists. From young girls, we’re often encouraged to be passive and not too daring or outspoken. This leads us to feel self-conscious, and as girls, we’re not always praised or celebrated for our ambitions and dreams.
After all, we don’t want to threaten the gender equality battle and allow women to lead the charge.
As women, we’re conditioned to internalize our outstanding achievements and underestimate them. And, so this is one of the many things that make learning and maintaining confidence a challenge.
Now let’s talk about our inner voice:
A considerable part of what knocks our confidence is our internal chatter. Suppose you have a mean and critical voice in your head. It says “you’re not good enough”, “you’re ugly and useless”, or “you’re going to get found out”.
If this voice is a permanent guest, it can influence everything you say, think or feel. It also affects what you do and how you behave. These self-beliefs tend to be deep-rooted, and we see them as facts, rather than just opinions we hold about ourselves.
So, while we’re busy fighting off or hiding from our negative thoughts and feelings. We unconsciously make choices that sabotage our goals, dreams, and desires. So much of our energy, our fight, and our passion is lost each day. We’re so busy trying to hide from our disowned selves that we are going around and around in circles.
We must stop this.
Why do women need to be more confident?
In the age of #metoo and #timesup, we’ve waited for the day when double standards no longer define our ability to be equals.
Women are still an aberration on our screens and stages. We’re told that one woman on a panel of men sufficiently includes our gender. Women apply for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria. In comparison, men will apply when they meet half.
Self-confidence is what turns our thoughts into action. Without it, we hold ourselves back from great possibilities. Women need more audacity and to speak up and be heard.
For a long time, there has been a belief among women that if you work hard. Then this will be enough to get ahead, to be successful and professional.
I want to be clear here and tell you; this isn’t true. The truth is, it is not enough to be competent and be good at your job. You need to be accomplished – and confident to be successful.
Because to increase your personal brand and gain exposure:
• Build relationships with key decision-makers.
• Speak up at meetings and speak your mind.
• Talk at conferences and give presentations.
• Find ways to show off and talk about your achievements.
• Be honest about your needs, wants, and desires.
• And, you need to be authentic and gain the trust of others.
These things need you to be confident in yourself.
Learning confidence is an on-going everyday process to show up in the world the way you want to. But, on the difficult days. It’s a continuous commitment even to like ourselves, our bodies, and our home and work situations.
Please don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t where you want to be right now. Be okay with where you’re at this moment. Insecurity and low self-esteem can wreak havoc with your mind. Take one step at a time—this is a journey.
In this course, you’ll learn how to have status, power, and presence. You’ve got this, and we’ll work on it together.
Your task: Think about what confidence means to you? Why is it important? What comes up for you when you think about your relationship with confidence? What are you great at right now? What is your confidence goal throughout this 10-day course, and beyond?
In the next lesson, we are going to learn about finding our voice.
On Confidence by The School of Life
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