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Author – Sreenidhi Sundaran, Research associate, Brighter Minds

Amaira, the eldest daughter of Jason was faced with a shocking situation where her father Jason was taken into captivity by some of the loan sharks. Amaira, who was living a very comfortable life was thrown into a situation where now she has to take care of her homemaker mother and two younger siblings. She wanted to make sure to get her dad back safely by paying off the loan money. But the family also declared bankrupt, had to start from scratch. Instead of getting into the phase of whining and helplessness, Amaira and her mother went on to the streets to find a job and they decided to start off a food counter on the streets as that seemed to pay off immediately. Amaira took another loan from a money lender on her name and they started off a small food counter. As the days went by and she also started looking for odd jobs. In a span of 5 months, they were able to pay the loan sharks and get Amaira’s father out of captivity. This story shows how Amaira and her mother portrayed their self-confidence and managed the situation. 

Who is a self-confident individual?

Self-Confidence is when an individual is aware or assured of his/her abilities and judgment. These individuals have faith in themselves, as they have, with experience mastered their abilities and judgments. It is a positive belief that they can accomplish anything that they wish to accomplish. This can vary from situation to situation like criticism, being unhappy with personal appearance, feeling unprepared, lack of time-management, lack of knowledge and previous failures. 

Is self-confidence the same as self-esteem? 

Actually, they are different. Self-confidence is the positive regard towards one’s abilities whereas, self-esteem is how one feels about herself/himself overall, how much positive regard or love one has towards herself/himself. According to researchers, high self-confidence is correlated with high self-esteem. But in most of the cases, having high self-confidence does not assure self-esteem, as individuals with extremely high self-confidence might be struggling with low self-esteem. Similarly, having high self-esteem does not guarantee high self-confidence. 

Why is it a struggle to be a self-confident individual?

We all have the desire to be self-confident but somehow we are just unable to be so. The main reason for low self-confidence or low self-esteem is deep-seated self-doubt. Self-doubt is a nagging feeling that one feels about one’s worth or abilities. As we grow in our respective societies, we learn many aspects that directly instill a belief about ourselves that eventually becomes a number of daunting doubts about ourselves. These could be about our race, religion, physical appearance and many more. Self-doubt is a dark gloomy cloud that inhibits the self-confidence from shining and it has the potential to influence us in a very negative manner. We get into this loop of under-estimating ourselves, missing out on opportunities with the fear that we shall fail or do a bad job. When we pay close attention, we realize that self-doubt comes from the act of comparison with others, which we all carry from a very early age. 

Self-confidence has been an important attribute everyone adores and wishes to acquire. In today’s world, self-confidence can get that dream job, helps to inspire others, make wishes come true as it does not stop oneself because of insecurity, but motivates to give more. 

Neurochemistry of self-confidence.

Researchers have found that when levels of certain neurotransmitters(chemical messengers in the brain) are optimal, individuals experience the feeling of self-confidence. Low-levels of these neurotransmitters are responsible for low self-confidence; dopamine (reduced self-doubt), serotonin(important for feeling important), oxytocin(essential for creating strong relationships and improved social interactions), and endorphins(diminishing our perceptions of pain).

What are the elements of self-confidence?

Self-Acceptance: They have the awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, the realistic appreciation of one’s talents, capabilities, and general worth, and feelings of content with one’s self despite deficiencies and regardless of past behaviors and choices. They are aware of the fact that most of our deficiencies are defined by the society we live in. So they do not have to be hard on themselves and go into the self-deprecating mode which can be damaging. Basically, they have high positive regard towards themselves.

Compassion: Self-confident individuals are able to understand, forgive, love oneself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. They spare themselves the harsh criticism about their insecurities instead they acknowledge them and simultaneously focus on their positives. 

Self-Sufficiency: It is the feeling that one is ‘enough’, the feeling of secure and content with oneself. It exhibits a sense of completeness with the person. These individuals have a strong ‘locus of control’ which is defined as the ability to decide the course of their lives and make their own decisions rather than giving that choice to others.

Self-Efficacy: People with self-confidence most often have this belief that they can accomplish any challenges ahead of them and complete them successfully. They are able to modulate their behaviors to reach certain goals that are set for them.

Self-Confidence is not ‘they will like me’. Self-Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t’. – Christina C



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