Usually scrolling through social media can be a waste of time.
However, this morning I heard something on social media that made me say! Yes!!! Finally, someone gets it!
And that someone is Simon Sinek…. who happens to have given the 3rd most-watched Ted-Talk Ever.
He externalized what I’ve been thinking all along, but I have felt unsafe to say out loud.
Essentially, he said that self-confidence is not what people think it is.
When you tell someone to improve upon their self-confidence, everybody thinks that you’re essentially asking them to go within and work on something inside themselves so that they’re more confident.
Yet, asking them to go within… is asking them to go in the wrong direction. Because the irony about self-confidence is that in order to increase it… the more natural place to look is OUTSIDE ourselves and to the people who are part of our life.
Simon Sinek says that self-confidence is not a battery that you by yourself can charge and all of a sudden be self-confident.
He is basically saying that self-confidence is like a battery that is charged… but it’s by OTHER people.
The example he gave is that when you are a kid, your self-confidence doesn’t go from 0 to something. It is merely a reflection of the approval that other adults and people in your life give you.
If you have parents who praise you, support and love you as unconditionally as possible… then your self-confidence will blossom. Knowing that other people are happy with what you’re doing makes you want to continue doing that thing.
Throughout his work, Simon Sinek emphasizes the importance of community… and this novel concept of seeing self-confidence this way makes SO much sense.
But in order to have more self-confidence, one can argue that the world needs to be better educated about what self-confidence is, especially men.
My Own Struggle With Self-Confidence
Throughout my life, I have struggled with self-confidence. Both with the word and with actually having it.
The people around me and even the experts would emphasize the importance of being able to just go from lacking it to having it… but it’s not something that I could create at will… 99.9% of the time.
But I know what self-confidence is. I’ve felt it.
From birth up to age five, I was beaming with self-confidence because I was surrounded by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even my parents’ friends who couldn’t get over the cute things I would say and do. I had what people would call charisma.
But then… after a couple of shifts in my life… I started losing my self-confidence from that point until after I graduated from college.
Before listening to Simon Sinek… I would have continued to think what I’ve thought for all these years and that is:
“What is WRONG with me?! Why can’t I get this self-confidence thing down?”
Now it gives me a bit of relief to know that it isn’t 100% my fault that my self-confidence reservoir is as empty as it is.
Simon Sinek’s words aren’t an excuse for me to throw my hands up in the air and just blame other people.
But at least it’s comforting to know that I do have more of an uphill battle than other people do when it comes to self-confidence.
Do Not Mix Up Resilience With Self-Confidence
It’s important NOT to assume that just because I didn’t have any self-confidence from age five until age 23 that I didn’t accomplish great things.
And I’m a hard worker, a workaholic, really. A dreamer and an achiever.
I may not get everything in life that I want to get but at the very least, I WILL die trying.
Resilience is that magical power that has gotten me through the tough times.
When Were You Self– Confident?
Can I make a confession?
I knew that I had struggled BIG-TIME with self-confidence but I never fully understood why… and I CERTAINLY NEVER counted how many years I wasted lacking self-confidence.
For me, it was 18 years. I had to pause after typing that last sentence to really soak it in. And it still hasn’t fully. It’s impactful. Anyway, back to you.
How long have YOU lacked self-confidence?
Most importantly, when did you get it back?
Was it when you started doing something meaningful in your life, in your self-development, in your volunteering or when you were surrounded by people who looked up to you?
For most of us, our greatest degree of self-confidence comes when we feel like we’re truly contributing to our household, to a workplace or to society.
It’s not that we’re not capable of doing great things. It’s just that we’re doubtful pretty much every step of the way and it would be nice if we could have some reassurance at some point.
After 23, my self-confidence has been a thing that goes up and down. Now it’s clearer than ever to see why.
We all go through different stages in life and it’s not always possible to be everything to everyone so that they praise you and therefore boost your self-confidence.
Validate Your OWN Feelings
Part of the reason why we lack the bit of self-confidence we can produce is that we aren’t the audience to ourselves that we can be.
we numb with business, social media, projects, food to not allow us to feel what we feel.
I feel so ______________.
Whatever that is for you, it’s okay.
You don’t have to change those feelings. You don’t have to feel ashamed of those feelings. You simply can just acknowledge them.
And have a good cry if you need to.
Who Chips Away At Your Self-Confidence?
If, as Simon Sinek says, people around you GIVE you confidence, it’s also important to know who takes it away from you.
Not to blame… but to be extra, extra cautious around those people.
I’m sure you know who they are… but in case you don’t…
Want a super-easy way to spot them? Yeah, like the plural version of them?
What is your love language?
Meaning what makes you feel MOST loved?
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
The person who is chipping away at your self-confidence is … giving you the opposite.
For example, if your love language is:
- Words of Affirmation— they’re insulting you and using the nastiest words that anybody in your life is giving TO you. Not about your mistakes or actions but about your being.
- Gifts- Gifts? What gifts?
- Acts of Service- Umm yeah, they do some things for you, but nothing exciting. Nothing meaningful. Not even something basic. They CERTAINLY don’t reciprocate all of the things you do for them. If they do… it’s only about 10% of the things you do for them, MAX.
- Quality Time- You’re the one who initiates quality time with them. They can live happily ever after without you. And making you feel bad is one way that they get more quality time.
- Physical Touch- It’s few and far between… if it exists at all. And if they’re messing up in other areas… maybe you don’t even want physical touch.
So were you able to spot them?
What Is Self-Confidence Anyway?
If I were to ask you what is self-confidence… your answer will vary GREATLY from the ten other people I ask.
The reason for this is that self-confidence is an umbrella term that encompasses many other terms that we associate with self-confidence. Some of them are:
- trusting oneself
- appreciating one’s value
- Like they can rule the world.
- Believe in our word, our value and ourselves
- strong presence
It’s not easy to feel like:
- Valued when you’re not heard
- Heard when you receive no meaningful responses and you might as well be talking to the wall
- You have friends when you’re always the one that needs to contact them
- Your friends value you when they only answer what you ask them but they’re not interested enough to ask you any questions including asking you how you are
- Beautiful when nobody compliments you
- Strong when nobody supports you
- Important when washing a dirty spoon is more urgent to the person you’re talking to
- Optimistic when everybody doubts you
- Positive when other people drag their feet to participate in the positive activities you suggest… and Heaven knows that you reaching your dreams doesn’t make them happy at all… but they don’t have any lofty dreams of their own.
So as you can see self-confidence is like a whole bunch of disconnected gears that kind of want to work together in this big machinery called this world. Self-confidence is complicated. It’s inconsistent.
“Self-Confidence is a projection. And how bright it is depends on the light that others in our life transmit to us.”
You’ve heard of the phrase “fake it till you make it.” And if you come from a background that’s so in shambles… that you’ve been faking that your life is everything BUT shambles for most of your life… then faking self-confidence DOESN’T have the same power. Because you’re using your faking juice for many other things in life. Or maybe you just plain and simple ran out of juice. Or don’t want to fake one other damn thing.
So whenever other people say what the unkind things they say about you to your face and otherwise… let them talk. They CLEARLY don’t have the empathy to imagine standing in your shoes and feel the way you do. Besides, empathy is more important than self-confidence… so if you have empathy, you’re golden.
Self-Confidence Has Been Made Out To Be More Important Than It Needs To Be
Some people have finished their cup of self-confidence and they’re VERY gung-ho about it.
If you’re reading this and you’re disagreeing that other people influence your self-confidence… well… (excuse me while I move my lips from side to side)… all I can say is good for you.
If you’re one of the people who were born with the ability to self-charge their own battery and can be at 100% self-confident… awesome.
Really. It’s so cool you can do that.
But not everybody can.
And if you really think you can be self-confident without ANY other input, validation or hurray… you should write a book about it or make an online course. Many people could apparently benefit.
So What Should You Do If You Lack Self-Confidence?
You got dealt the people around you you got dealt.
You can’t turn back the hands of time and swap people around.
Soooo… I have two things to offer you as advice regarding what to do if you lack self-confidence.
1) As Nike’s motto SO often is SO valuable I’m gonna tell you… “Just DO IT!” Pursue your dreams like if self-confidence didn’t mean a thing, had no weight and didn’t even EXIST.
You and I know it does exist… but for those of us who struggle with it… the lack of self-confidence can feel like a shackle holding it back.
The wonderful thing is, though, you’ve gotten to where you are in life even without a daily dose of self-esteem. That means that you can get even further in life without it.
“Self-esteem is nice to have, but as you’ve proven to yourself, it’s not actually vital.”
Try to convince yourself that you’re going to do what you want to do WITH or WITHOUT self-esteem.
Stop making self-esteem your why you move forward or why you don’t.
Make the benefit of doing what you want to do your driving force.
If you can and have to switch out the world self-esteem for self-motivation.
“The strength of your self-esteem depends on the response of others. The strength of your motivation depends on you.”
2) Even if we minimize the role that self-esteem plays in our life…. to almost nothing… for your sanity, happiness and just joy of living… do this: Be less tolerant of the BS.
For you, it might mean that you make other snarky remarks from other people just slide.
Or it may mean something else.
Whatever it is, you aren’t someone else’s trash can. So don’t let them feed you B.S..
If the person in your life isn’t going to be someone who helps increase your self-esteem then they certainly shouldn’t be the ones who take the self-esteem that you have left away from you.
What Makes Me The Most Upset About Self-Confidence
Most successful women in the world have a veeeeeery solid relationships.
Like the kind that movies are made of. Where privately nobody in the world could love and support them more than their current spouses. It’s like a perfect match. And it’s actually a match made in Heaven.
So if Heaven created that relationship for them… why didn’t Heaven create a relationship like that for everybody?
Oh, I see, it’s another form of injustice right? Or maybe it’s a form of settling. Or craving attention from the missing figures in our own life.
This Is The Gist
Yesterday I had this aha moment:
“The reason why more men are further ahead in life is because there are more women that support men than men who support women.”
Ladies, it’s not that they’re better than. No. That’s not it.
It’s that you, I, your mother, your aunt, your grandmother, your sister, your female friend and coworker, the old lady from the Italian hillside, to the new mom in New York is willing to put themselves last again and again to support little boys (and little girls).
And little girls grow up to care for others… but little boys? Not so much…. unless you really, really train them to do at least the little things, like say:
- “Good morning” when you see each other in the morning.
- “Bless you.” when you sneeze
- “Are you okay?” when you hurt yourself.
- “Do you need help?” when they see you struggling.
- “Goodnight” when you go to bed.
This is empathy 101. This is very basic human decency. But at least it’s something.
So ladies… when you question why the world is tipped in the favor of men. You know the reason. It’s THANKS to females like YOU.
Without you, even a simple cold could wipe them out.
Men Show You Who They Are Every. Single. Day
Maya Angelou famously said,
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
And yet most of the time, we’re so loving… we are so wired to want to see the good in others and be so quick to support them… that we dismiss the proof that men give us regarding what their personality is like.
If they don’t say bless you because you sneeze four times and they don’t have time to wait until you’re done sneezing to say bless you, they’re showing you who they are.
If they pretend that you didn’t remind them of ______, or said ______ because they want to justify not doing a favor for you, they’re showing you who they are.
If they let you talk and talk and not say anything but a sentence fragment or a word here or there… they’re showing you who they are.
Often, we are so needy of getting a specific quality in our life… that we want to insert a specific quality we’re craving into one of the people we most value in our life… as if it were a computer chip. It doesn’t work that way.
Men, and people, in general, should be decent not because you ask them, but because it’s the decent thing to do.
The Ripple Effect
Some men. have an issue with female-empowerment.
They think that keeping women feeling small and playing small is a win for them.
They certainly don’t believe that women are superior to them in ANY way… and they don’t believe that women are even their equals.
They may not verbalize it… but their actions and treatment towards you show it.
And that’s unfortunate, but what’s even MORE unfortunate is that they don’t realize that by willingly withholding your empowerment… by making you basically feel like crap… your ability to mother your guy’s children is negatively affected. And since your children lacking all the presence, love, and full-minded attention that you could be giving them if you had a more supportive relationship because you feel incomplete, broken or less than, your negatively (without wanting to) affecting their childhood… and then when they grow up and have children, the childhood you unwittingly affected … will make them be less capable parents than they would be if you, right now, were able to TRULY give them your parenting All.
That’s the ripple effect. They are not holding women back… they’re holding their children back. Their community back… and the world back. For decades and centuries.
If they only knew that they could really help change the world for the better by simply being more present, more kind, more receptive, more empathetic and more loving.
Their coldness is not helping anyone. It’s not helping anything… except maybe their advancement in life… which will feel pretty less important if they had no women to share that experience with or to brag to.
Simon Sinek’s Solution To Self-Confidence and Life
But don’t worry, there is an easier and more philanthropic way of boosting your self-confidence.
Intuitively I know this, and you probably do too, but we hadn’t put it into words.
And that is, that in order to boost your confidence you actually have to focus on serving.
The word “confidence” starts with “co-” like comingle, conspire, codependency… etc. all those words imply that there is more than one person involved.
The “fid” part of the word usually means to trust.
So if you want to feel like what you have to contribute (also another word that starts with co-)… you have to help others out of the kindness of your heart.
In this conversation, Simon Sinek introduces a concept known as the infinite game.
And in it, he teaches us that life is an infinite game. That there are no winners or losers. Simply people who are ahead of us and who are behind us.
And in order to “win” this game (which there aren’t any specific predetermined times to play, rules for, or even pre-specified goal)… you don’t have to beat someone else… you just have to outlast them.
Don’t be jealous of people who have that shiny thing called self-confidence. Don’t be jealous of men who think they’ve dominated the game with our help or of women who have a magnificent husband that probably understands that it is an infinite game and that it’s okay for women to be empowered after all. Instead, use your energy to motivate yourself and for once go after what you really, really want.
Where Can You Listen To Simon Sinek’s Talk
The portion about self-confidence starts on 35:40 (35 minutes with 40 seconds).
If you want to read what I got from Lewis’ talk… you can read about it here. Who Were The Best World Domination Summit 2015 Speakers? | Love and Treasure
Or you can also open The Podcast App that I taught you how to use… in these two blog posts:
and open up The School of Greatness Podcast to listen in on this conversation that talks about other interesting topics, as well.
Now It’s YOUR Turn
In the comments below, answer this question:
Do you consider yourself to have a strong sense of self-esteem? What things have helped you along the way?
I’d love to know.