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  • Randall Wilson, Psy.D.

How to be TRULY Confident

Do you struggle with a "lack of confidence?" Well you're not alone... lack of confidence is one of the most common issues that clients bring up in therapy or coaching sessions. And perhaps the problem is not that we are all somehow deficient in confidence, but that the way we think of and define confidence can actually get us stuck.

So when you think about someone who is confident, what qualities come to mind? For many, we think of confidence in terms of being assertive, self-assured, lacking self doubt or uncertainty, always knowing what to do, taking control of situations, etc. Well it turns out, the true definition of confidence is something quite different.

If we look at the the etymology of the word confidence, we see that it consists of 2 parts: "con," meaning with, and "fidence," meaning fidelity, or faith. So the true definition of the word confidence is "with faith." This means that to be confident does not mean to appear "confident" (according to the popular definition), but instead it means to have faith in yourself, even WITH your doubts, uncertainty, and unpleasant thoughts and emotions.

Returning to the popular definition of confidence, it turns out that what most of us think of when we think of confidence, is really something closer to arrogance. And the world doesn't need more arrogant people. True confidence means having faith in yourself, and having faith that even if you mess up, even if you get it wrong, even if you're filled with doubt and uncertainty, you are still a whole and complete person, worthy of love and respect, and that you are capable of taking meaningful steps towards the things that matter most in this world.

So don't try to appear "confident..." instead, open up to what you're experiencing, choose to move towards what matters to you, and have faith in yourself.

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