Whether you are an executive in need of extra confidence for professional challenges, or whether you'd like to address persistent levels of low confidence in your life, therapy can help.
What is confidence?
Confidence is something we might feel about situations in our life – for example if we had to make a presentation we might feel it will go well – but it is also a general personality trait that we bring with us into most areas of our life. We can have high-self confidence; in which case we might feel comfortable that other people will accept us, that we are good at our jobs, that we can meet the challenges of our lives. Trusting our own abilities is closely correlated with high-self esteem and high self-respect. Or we might have low self-confidence.
Low confidence (in self and others).
Low self-confidence impacts on the way we perceive ourselves and our self-esteem (the ‘reputation we have of ourselves’) suffers too. Research also shows other people may treat those with lower confidence in ways that then lead to further social disadvantages (Peterson, 2018). We may also have difficulty acquiring confidence in other people. Confidence in others is a belief others will live up to expectations, and if our self-confidence is low we are probably more likely to believe that others will let us down.
Causes of low confidence.
A number of different factors shape how confident we feel, including: the example of early caregivers, the emotions and attitudes encouraged in us by important adults throughout our childhood, our previous experiences of failure or loss, the specific situations in our present-day lives (challenges at work, financial strain, employment concerns, bullying etc), and any provoking life events (such as death, loss, separation, conflicts etc). These are just a few examples of factors that may be involved.
In therapy we might work in a number of ways to improve confidence levels. Our work may be quite cognitive; focusing on identifying and addressing negative, self-defeating thoughts and reshaping these into realistic and positive thoughts that improve confidence. Equally we can work in ways to identify the root causes of unhelpful belief patterns that may operate ‘under the surface’, and once we understand their origins we can begin to make fundamental changes. We might also work in practical ways, rehearsing or practising confident body language, authentic speech and compassionate and assertive attitudes.