The word confidence is a term that is often hard to define. What is it and what does it look like? Are questions that can be asked. Through the act of comparison, one can see that there is a difference between people that are confident and people that are not confident.
Many years ago I was at a training event and one of the people that were running the course said ‘Confidence doesn’t exist’. And upon hearing this, I was incredibly confused.
Examples of what confidence looks like are often taken from people in the entertainment industry. So: actors, musicians, sports stars and presenters etc.
On google.com the meaning is – 1.The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust: "we had every confidence in the staff". 2. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
This shows that the general meaning of confidence is that one believes in oneself and in their ability to function and perform in life.
As well as these roles that people play in the area of entertainment, there are certain types of people that are seen as the embodiment of what confidence is in our society. And this is usually portrayed through the eyes of the mainstream media.
These are typically the people that are described as: good looking, talented, well dressed, wealthy and educated for example.
Another powerful influence on the levels of confidence (belief) that one has, is ones early childhood years. How one was treated by their caregivers and how their caregivers treated others will also play a significant role in this.
Here ones caregivers can either cause one to feel confident in themselves or not. And it may be that one was made to feel confident for what they did or what they had (external) and not for who they were (Internal).
So their confidence was never internalized and integrated, it was always based on some external requirement being fuilfilled.
What then happens is that these become the criteria of what confidence is and is not. If one has what their society classes or childhood classed as confidence, then in theory, they will feel confident. And based on those requirements, if one doesn’t match up, they should feel unconfident.
For every rule that there is, there is always exceptions and confidence is no different. People that are classed as attractive are sometimes confident and sometimes they are not. There are people who have incredible talent and ability and yet have no confidence in that they do.
And being educated and having large sums of money, also doesn’t guarantee that one truly believes in themselves.
So does this mean that if one has all of these, a few of these, or even one of these requirements and doesn’t feel confident; that one has been sold a lie? Or that one just needs to keep on accumulating more?
Upon closer inspection of these societal requirements and the requirements that were laid out in ones child; it becomes clear that these are all external in nature. They are based on the approval and acceptance of another person or people.
And this means that one is giving their power away to other people. One is allowing another person to define how one sees themselves and what one is capable off.
The Other Side
On the other side of people who don’t feel confident, even though they have filled certain requirements; are people who act confidently and yet don’t necessarily match up to societies ideals of what is needed to be confident. Or they may have a few of these requirements.
So how could these people be confident if they are not following the rules of society, or the requirements that were expressed in ones childhood?
Of course, there will be some people that were been empowered for who they were in their childhood and not conditioned to the gain the approval of other people.
Because, what these requirements are doing is giving one the permission to feel confident and to believe in who they are. These requirements in and of themselves, are neutral and are based on the opinions and views of other people.
So through achieving or having a certain requirement, the mind will be able to fulfil certain expectations, which have come about through the associations that have been attached to the requirement/s. And this will then lead to the intangible experience known as confidence.
The benefit is that if one does have these requirements then they can feel confident, but this is not always the case. It also means that one’s confidence is at the whim of other people and outside circumstances. And this will mean that one is being enslaved as a result of this.
It is like an invisible web, that each and every one of us can become a part of, without any awareness. This web attaches makes one emotionally and mentally dependent on others and puts ones sense of control into the hands of another person or group of people.
One of the ways this web can be seen is when one goes to another country or when a person from another country comes to where one is. Here, one may be able to see a clear difference in behaviour and this is because their mind is interpreting the environment differently.
And this causes them to behave in a way that could be seen as freer or almost rebellious when compared to ones behaviour or the behaviour of other people.
We are all human and we all have an ego mind. By using the example of another country or a person who has resided in another country, it helps to emphasis the power of interpretations.
The way that we behave, how competent we think we are and how confident we are; is based on the interpretations in our mind. And these are not fixed or set in stone. They have come about through conditioning and this can be changed.
So the quote ‘Confidence doesn't exist’ makes a lot of sense. In as much as, it is simply a state of mind. One may think that they would be lying or that they are deluding themselves, if they were to see themselves as confident.
However, if one is playing the role of not being confident, is there really any more truth to this? It is only being perceived as the truth, due it being a role that is being interpreted as familiar and therefore safe to the ego mind.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.