What if I told you that in order to get more confidence, you’d first have to face your fears and insecurities?
As a counselor for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of getting to witness the bravery of countless individuals who are willing to take an honest look inside—people who are daring to face their fears, insecurities, shame, or self-doubt. Why do I find this work so invigorating? Because the truth is there is nothing more inspiring than journeying with God’s people who are serious about becoming whole.
Learning how to get more confidence is one key part of saying “yes” to the life God has for you. Research has found that low self-esteem correlates with higher levels of self-absorption. The more you struggle to like yourself, the more time you spend thinking about yourself.
Getting more confidence isn’t just good for you. It’s good for everyone around you.
Learning how to get more confidence will help you become less self-absorbed. You’ll stop worrying as much about yourself and start bringing forth more of your God-given potential.
Confidence is being clear about your strengths and abilities. It also involves being honest about and accepting of the areas where you struggle. Honestly, it’s easy to “fake” confidence in our media-driven world. It’s the brave few who face the fears and deep-down insecurities that linger in every single human soul. Those are the ones who learn how to get true confidence, the kind that comes from the inside first.
In fact, fake confidence is not confidence at all. It’s arrogance, or what the Bible calls “pride”. (There is good pride and bad pride. I’m talking about the unhealthy kind here!)
Ironically, pride has the same root as self-doubt. When you behave arrogantly, you are trying to mask your fear. Likewise, when you operate out of your insecurities, you are letting fear take over. Neither of those extremes is healthy.
True confidence isn’t false pride. It’s not pretending like you have it all together. On the other hand, true confidence isn’t false humility either. It’s not giving in to your fears and calling it “spiritual.”
Getting more confidence starts with facing yourself honestly. For example, you might notice fears that surface in you from time to time, such as:
- I’m not good enough.
- I’ll make a fool of myself.
- I’m going to mess everything up.
In the face of those fears, you might notice pride creeping in:
- I don’t need them.
- I don’t need anyone.
- I’m above all this, anyway.
When pride takes over, you start acting like the opposite of what you feel. You pretend like you’re better than others or like you don’t really care. That’s not confidence. That’s masking your fear.
On the other hand, when you let fear take over, you play small and stay safe. You let people walk all over you. You operate as if you’re not God’s beautiful creation.
Pride and fear both keep you stuck. Instead of reaching out with confidence to ask for what you want or need, you either
1.) Tell yourself you don’t care (pride); or
2.) Keep playing it safe (fear).
Confidence is knowing how to mediate the in between. It’s not pretending like you’re fine, and it’s not giving into your fear. Here are some examples of what it sounds like as you learn how to get more confidence:
I am still growing in this area AND I am proud of the progress I am making.
I feel scared to speak up AND I know I’ve got something important to say. I’ll risk asking for what I need, knowing that if the answer is “No”, I’ll be OK.
I’d like to be in relationship with him AND I know he may not feel the same. I’ll risk being vulnerable knowing that I am worthy of love, regardless of his response.
Confidence creates space for you take a healthy risk.
How to Get More Confidence
To gain this kind of confidence from the inside out, first start paying attention to your fear and areas of self-doubt. Here are some examples of how:
1.) Acknowledge your fear.
When faced with feelings of insecurity, write down your fears. You don’t need to berate yourself for feeling this way. Everyone faces insecurity and self-doubt. Your willingness to face it honestly is paradoxically what will help you get more confidence
Getting more confidence starts with first acknowledging and facing your fears, doubts, and insecurities. It’s naming them, and getting them out into the light where they can be transformed by the Son. It’s learning to soak those vulnerable parts of your soul in the good soil of his unfailing love. It’s coming alongside of those insecurities with compassion, “I see you there. I know you’re struggling. Let’s slow down for a minute and give you the attention that you need.”
2.) Give voice to a trusted adviser, a safe loved one or friend.
Shame and self-doubt thrive in isolation. It’s so important to name them, not only to yourself, but to someone who can remind you that you are a beloved child of God worth fighting for. Bring them out of the shadows where they hold you captive and into the light where freedom is found. For more on how to ask a friend to walk with you, check out my video here.
In that very act of naming your struggle, you are taking one giant step toward confidence. By acknowledging the insecurities within your own soul, you’re building inner strength.
3.) Name your strengths.
For many women it’s easier to name their insecurities than it is to name their strengths and talents. As women, we’ve been taught it’s better to be self-deprecating. We’ve been told it’s better to be “humble.” The problem is that true humility is rooted in deep confidence. If you want to be humble, you also have to be confident.
Start by picking 3 qualities you like about yourself. Dig deep here. Don’t go for the easy ones. Think about the strengths you possess on a deep level. Start by asking yourself:
- What is a quality that I like about myself that no one knows about?
- What is a quality that God likes about about me?
Next, challenge yourself to ask a few trusted people these questions:
- What unique gifts do you see in me?
- How do you think my life matters or brings goodness to other people?
If it feels uncomfortable, that’s OK. Tell your friends it’s a homework assignment.
Remember, God made you. God delights in you. Try to view yourself from that perspective.
4.) List your challenges or growth areas.
As you became clearer about your strengths, you can also gain a healthy ability to accept where you’re still growing. First, name 2-3 things you don’t like about yourself. Then, practice re-framing those qualities in an objective, non-judging way. Here are some examples:
- I worry a lot. That quality helps me solve problems at times. And, it can also make it hard for me to rest and enjoy my family.
- I’m sometimes overbearing. I like it that I’m honest and direct. And, that quality can also hurt other people.
- I care a lot about what others think. I appreciate that I’m sensitive to the needs of others. And, I can sometimes try too hard to please other people.
These types of observations are healthy when they’re not self-condemning. They’re healthy when they help you become more patient and gentle with yourself. Facing yourself honestly is key to getting more confidence.
True confidence flows from the inside out—the kind of confidence that has roots stretching deep down into the core of your Holy-Spirit led being. These roots draw strength from this one unshakable truth: You are a beautiful soul made in God’s image. Every fiber of who you are—even the parts of you that are struggling right now to believe it—are deeply known, deeply valued, and deeply loved.
Take the time to learn how to get more confidence that comes from the inside out. It will be a “win-win”—you’ll gain confidence in yourself and increase your capacity to invest in the well-being of others.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:6
I have “managed” or been managed by fear my entire life…ping ponging between false humility and prideful bravado. This gives me some food for thought. I do think you are right about true humility being a partner vs. enemy of confidence. Good read.
Alison Cook says
Thanks for this note, Dawn. I’m grateful these words gave you food for thought.
I struggle most with FEAR. This post really came at a good time and gave me some things to think about. My first step will be to identify and acknowledge my fears. REALLY acknowledge them. I also need to believe, really believe, that God loves me just as I am. That is maybe the first fear to acknowledge. Thanks for this post at the perfect time.
Alison Cook says
Amen. As we bring our fears into God’s light and discover more of our belovedness, fear transforms. (Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18)
Wow. God’s timing is always perfect. Honestly I bounce between the two, being fearful and then when a child or exiled part gets triggered, covering with pride. Currently in a spot where that 11 year old self did some major damage to a friendship and praying it can heal.
Alison Cook says
I really appreciate your honesty and insight. Praying for that 11 year old part of you to experience deep unburdening as you lean into this healing work.
Definitely pride. I struggle with seeing weakness. It makes me uncomfortable. I think pride leads to insecurity and fear because deep down one knows how vulnerable we are and pride keeps us closed to the things
that would meet our needs.
Alison Cook says
Yes, so true. Try extending grace and compassion toward the part of you uncomfortable with weakness. We tend to shift and change in the context of compassion.
Do your parents teach you self confidence or does life teach you? Thank you
Alison Cook says
Ideally, parents help their children navigate the various challenges life brings their way so that they can develop healthy confidence that is not dependent on circumstances.
I’ve never heard pride & fear described in this way. I see now that I fluctuate between both — and both cause me shame & a desire to hide. I’m only recently becoming aware of this. The hardest thing for me has been to believe God is not harsh with me when I see my weaknesses or when I fail to live up to some expectation, either my own, someone else, or even Scripture. You are right in saying that shame thrives in isolation, and the enemy heaps on the condemnation when we don’t bring our fears to the light. Thank you for your post, it’s very enlightening and comforting.