Building Self-Confidence Through Self-Awareness


We are now completing our journey through the first pillar of emotional intelligence, which is self-awareness. As described by Daniel Goleman, it is composed of emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.

Although self-confidence is described as part of self-awareness process, there is a correlation with self-esteem and self-efficacy. In this sense, it is relevant to clarify the difference among these concepts.

Self-confidence is the trust in one’s ability to reach a goal. It is a skill that makes you believe in yourself, trusting you are capable to achieve any task, despite of all odds and difficulties. People who are self-confident may be more willing to take on new challenges as well as taking responsibility for their actions or failures.

For some, self-confidence also brings the sense of happiness. Generally, when you are confident in yourself, you become happier due to the successes you believe you could achieve. When you feel confident, you can get more energized and inspired to take actions for chasing your goals.

Many psychologists tend to consider that the concept of self-confidence is related to a broader perception about individual’s overall capability. Self-confidence guides to successful experience, and successful experience bring us to self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an evaluation of one’s own value. It is a personal judgment of the worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes people hold towards themselves, which serves as a thermometer of social acceptance.

People who have high self-esteem are not worried about how they are being perceived by others. The reason for this is because rejection is something they are not familiar with. On the other hand, those having low self-esteem think that public judgment is crucial for them to succeed. There is a need for frequent validation from the society.

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capacity to succeed in a specific situation. It is about individual’s trust in their own abilities regarding a specific task or set of tasks. Self-efficacy can determine what goals someone chooses to pursue and how they aim to accomplish them. It also has a correlation with their performance, building on self-confidence and influencing self-esteem.

When people feel lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem, they could end up developing what is often called imposter syndrome. Although it is not officially registered as an emotional disease, psychologists recognize the impact it has on the individual, and how it can also be associated with anxiety and depression.

Imposter Syndrome
Imposter phenomenon or imposter syndrome occurs among high performers. Despite their gender, they are unable to assume and accept their own success, which could happen due to lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. They often attribute their achievements to good luck and effort rather than to their competence and ability.

READ: Starting from Scratch: Emotional Self-Awareness

Many people who feel like imposters are raised by parents who send mixed messages, alternating from over-praise to criticism; with a high focus on accomplishments. In this sense, there is an increasing need to keep proving yourself as capable and the feeling of “not good enough” is persistent along the way. Societal pressures also contribute to the development of this syndrome.

Throughout our life we face a huge pressure to achieve personal and professional goals and as consequence, our self-confidence ends up conditional to our achievement capacity and it also has a negative impact on individual self-esteem.

There are ways to overcome this irrational belief of “not good enough” by strengthening self-confidence and self-esteem, as per below.

Accept Your Expertise
Don’t compare yourself to other experienced professionals. Try to work with students, for instance, it could help you to realize how far you have come and how much knowledge you have gained and developed along your journey.

Recall What You are Great At
Make an accurate self-assessment about your own abilities. We all have areas where we are very good at and areas we need to improve on. Like a diary, make a list of your strengths and the areas you need further development.

Stop Focusing on Perfection
It’s important to take time to appreciate and feel proud of yourself. Learn to celebrate your achievements and victories. Why not implement a reward system for your own success?

Talk About It
To overcome this feeling of “not good enough” or “fraud” you should talk to someone, such as a mentor or a professor that could help you to reframe the way you see your achievements and successes.

How Self-Awareness Can Support This Process
Self-confidence is an ability and as such it can be practiced, trained, and developed. It is about persistency and repetition. However, it is also about getting to know your own desires and motivations, in this sense, to build the self-confidence you need to go through a complete self-awareness process.

Some steps you could take during the self-confidence building process:

Do not accept failure: as we have heard many times “fake it until you make it” and have the courage to persist, no matter how many obstacles you can meet along the way.
Stop the negative self-talk: as we know thoughts influence actions. There will be many people that will work against you along the way, do not be one more.
Start doing self-affirmation: create the habit to remind yourself about everything you have achieved in life. Congratulate and be proud of yourself
Control your emotions: use it in your favor and not against you. Identify, understand and then control your emotions
Practice self-assessment: be conscious about your improvement areas, but also learn to recognize your own strengths.
At the end, if you are not self-confident, if you do not believe yourself, no one will.

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