What Is Confidence?

I’m always yackity-yacking about confidence but I have I ever fully defined it?
I don’t think so.

At least, not here on this blog.

But I am inspired by a recent post at Parent’s Eye View that actually used a dictionary definition of confidence that felt rich, complete and accurate. I am especially facinated by the first two definitions:

1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing: We have every confidence in their ability to succeed. The best definition, but also the one that is most used insincerely;

2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: His lack of confidence defeated him.

Full trust, belief in the powers. Trustworthiness. Sounds yummy, no?

So, using this definition, self-confidence could be defined as a full trust in oneself, a belief in one’s power, right? A sense of self that is worthy of our own trust. Ah, yes. That’s getting closer.

But then there’s that second definition which, while technically accurate, doesn’t fit my own.

To me, confidence is a state of being and an essential quality of our true self. We are born with it. All of us. It is an inherent, knowing trust and belief in who we are, as we are. It has nothing to do with how much we know or what we can do. It is a confidence in ourselves that extends far beyond all that.

When we feel confident about something we can do, like speak in public, drive a car, knit a sweater, that is a confidence in a certain ability. I suppose we could call it Skill-Confidence, but not Self-Confidence, because it is confidence that only extends to a certain skill or ability.

Even the the dictionary’s definition of self confidence is distorted. Again, it’s all about a confidence in one’s abilities, judgement or power, but not in one’s Self, not in who you are  regardless of what you can or can’t do. This is a mistake, and I suppose I’ll have to tell the Dictionary people about it!
What’s your definition of Confidence and Self-Confidence? Do you have a confidence in who you are? Or do you have confidence in certain things you can do?

The truth is that you do have an unconditional confidence in who you are. You came with it. It was part of your Starter Package when you arrived here. And it’s not lost. You’ve probably just buried it under a lot of conditioning.


1 reply
  1. Whitney Hoffman
    Whitney Hoffman says:

    I’m glad the post over at Parent’s Eye View was meaningful. When I think I’m not getting to the bottom of what something is, I try to start there and look at the origins. For example- discipline comes from the word disciple which meant “to teach”- and approaching discipline, self or otherwise as a teaching exercise, rather than one about punishment changes the whole was you approach the subject.
    Thanks for the comment- Love your comments and expansion on the idea!


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