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On self-confidence --- and lack of it


   For years I lacked confidence in myself, I had an inferiority 
   complex, I struggled in self-doubt,  and then I finally 
   completely dumped the problem.  With all this experience on the 
   matter what can I say on the subject?  I would say:

    - self-confidence is the main prerequisite to the easy, 
        relaxed, worry-free, calm, happy mental state where you 
        like yourself and the people around you.  Self-confidence 
        is the key.  Lack of it causes worry, anxiety and 
        unhappiness.  It causes you to be dissatisfied with 
        yourself and with everyone around you. 

    - you can't really love your neighbor until you have 
        confidence in yourself 

    - you can't really relax and like yourself until you have 
        confidence in yourself 


   Thus we see that self-confidence is a very desirable thing to 
   have.  If we don't have it how can we find it?  How can people 
   get rid of that lack of confidence that they find hounding 
   them?  What gives confidence?  What causes lack of it? 



    Q. What is self-confidence?

    A. It is that general feeling that your powers for dealing 
      with life, situations, etc. are adequate.  It is a faith 
      that you are adequate to cope with whatever life may 
      confront you with;  a general faith in yourself and your 
      abilities and powers.  It is a general belief, attitude and 
      sentiment that you are "good enough", that there is nothing 
      wrong with you just as you are.  It is a general 
      satisfaction with yourself, a contentment with yourself as 
      you are (ability-wise).  It is a positive attitude in regard 
      to yourself.  It is knowing yourself, knowing both your 
      abilities and inabilities, your strengths and weaknesses, 
      and just accepting yourself as you are, as God made you.  It 
      is a bias in favor of yourself, a tendency to ignore your 
      inabilities and weaknesses and to focus on your strong 
      points.  It is an attitude of indifference with regard to 
      any possible derogatory opinions other people might hold of 
      you with respect to your intelligence and abilities.  It is 
      the belief and philosophy that love, friendliness, openness 
      and warmth overpower all else in life and that everything 
      else, especially intelligence and ability, is relatively 
      unimportant.


   Q. What is lack of confidence? 

   A. It is the general idea in your mind that your powers for 
      dealing with life, situations, etc. are inadequate.  It is 
      fear --- fear of life and situations.  It is a negative 
      attitude toward yourself, toward your general intelligence, 
      abilities and powers.  It is a tendency to be critical of 
      yourself, doubt yourself, be hard on yourself, put yourself 
      down.  It is a bias against yourself, a tendency to focus on 
      all your inabilities and weaknesses and not to see your 
      abilities and strong points.  It is a dissatisfaction with 
      yourself, a refusal to accept yourself.  It is a tendency to 
      regard yourself as defective and inadequate.  In general, 
      lack of confidence tends to be characterized by all of the 
      following:  


      - a negative attitude toward yourself 
      - a fear of life, people and situations
      - anger with life and people 
      - dissatisfaction with yourself 
      - a tendency to withdraw into yourself and shut people out; 
          to become introvertive 
      - defensiveness
      - a tendency to feel that you are defective, that there is 
          something wrong with you 
      - a tendency to constantly dwell on your own inabilities, 
          weaknesses, and emotional problems; to become "hung up" 
          on your problems;  to become lost in the small world of 
          your own problems 
      - unhappiness, confusion, frustration
      - emotional instability
      - a tendency toward emotional outbursts of anger
      - excessive concern with what the opinions of other people 
          may be of you in regard to intelligence and ability;  
          sensitivity to the opinions of others 
      - a tendency to be "hung up" on the ideas of Intelligence, 
          IQ, and Ability; to exaggerate their importance; to make 
          them the sole measuring stick by which you measure 
          yourself and other people (instead of judging according 
          to goodness, kindness, and moral character) 
      - a tendency to interpret everything against yourself, to 
          construe everything as being evidence or proof of your 
          own inadequacy, inability, etc.;  to construe 
          experiences and events in a way that puts you down 
      - criticalness of yourself
      - standards for yourself that are just too high;  a tendency 
          to demand too much of yourself 
      - a tendency to keep other people at a distance because you 
          don't want your weak points and vulnerabilities to be 
          exposed.  Instead of being friendly and open, you close 
          yourself up so others can't see you. 
      - hostility
      - a constant fear that others are going to laugh at you, 
          make fun of you, ridicule you, belittle you, or in some 
          way put you down



   Q. What things can cause or lead to the problem of lack of 
        confidence? 

   A. The following:

      - sensing that people near you (especially parents) have a 
          low opinion of your intelligence or abilities, are 
          ashamed of you, regard you as stupid, etc.;  (i.e. 
          parents who want too much from you with regard to 
          intelligence, ability, etc.;  parents who are afraid you 
          will embarrass them or bring shame on them;  parents who 
          can't accept you as you are.).   It is a complex put 
          into you by other people's negative response to you, by 
          their backing away from you, etc.. 

      - perception of your weak spots, of your inabilities, of 
          your vulnerabilities, and allowing concern about them, 
          fears concerning them, to take over your mind and rule 
          it; allowing concerns about vulnerabilities to get out 
          of hand; allowing them to assume too much importance in 
          your mind 

      - repeated failures

      - other people laughing at you, making fun of you, 
          ridiculing you, or in some way putting you down 




   Remedies for lack of confidence.

      - re-examine your basic values and priorities.  Get the 
          importance of intelligence and ability into its proper 
          perspective as compared with such things as love, 
          kindness, warmth, and character.  Remember intelligence 
          and ability are just one small aspect of your 
          personality and they mean far less to other people than 
          you think.  Far more important is a nice disposition, 
          warmth, kindness, goodness and moral character. 

      - examine your personal goals and objectives.  Do you have 
          some that are just unrealistic and too high?  Perhaps 
          you should ask yourself if they are really so important.  
          Perhaps you should consider just dropping them and 
          forgetting them.  Remember, you will never be able to be 
          really relaxed, contented and happy with yourself until 
          you can say to yourself, "I have achieved enough.  I am 
          now happy with myself as I am.  I am just going to relax 
          now and enjoy life as it comes.  I will have no more 
          goals." 

      - read proverbs relating to "contentment"

      - realize that Intelligence and Ability have a multitude of 
          facets;  that, for example, there are many ways of being 
          intelligent and many different measures of intelligence;  
          that most people are intelligent in some ways and dumb 
          in other ways, that if they have a set of strengths 
          (intelligence-wise) they also have a set of weaknesses.  
          Realize that the most important type of intelligence is 
          something called "common sense".  Realize that there are 
          many kinds of abilities and no one has them all.  We all 
          have some and lack many others. 

      - read about the lives of important people.  Learn what 
          their abilities and strengths were.  Then learn that 
          they had their weaknesses, inabilities, failures and 
          faults.  Learn that many of the world's greatest minds 
          (Newton, Einstein, Edison, Churchill, for example) had 
          difficulty in school, did poorly in school.

      - review the things you have told yourself in the past for 
          possible sources of personal anger, hatred, hostility, 
          etc. that you may be carrying.  Remember that what you 
          are is the accumulative result of all that you have ever 
          told yourself.  Then "unsay" any things that ought to be 
          "unsaid" (what we tell ourselves "programs" us). 

      - commit yourself to a life of principle and self-discipline 
          (it will do wonders for your self-esteem) 

      - put God first.  Take the philosophy of looking for God's 
          approval only, living according to the highest 
          principles within you, and letting the chips fall where 
          they may.  Don't value too highly the approval of man, 
          put the approval of God first. 

      - remember that society puts a great deal of emphasis on 
          success, achievement, intelligence, ability, etc..  
          Beware of these priorities and values of society and 
          don't be intimidated by them.  Ignore them and set your 
          sights on God's principles of kindness, warmth, 
          goodness, honesty, morality, etc..  Let no one else set 
          your priorities and rules for you.  Remember that God 
          judges us not according to our intelligence or ability 
          but according to our goodness. 

      - if you lack confidence it is almost certain that you have 
          some inabilities or weaknesses somewhere that are the 
          source of your problems.  Identify them, note them, 
          accept them, and forget them. 

      - make an inner decision to just forget all your angers and 
          complaints against people and society and to just open 
          yourself up and like people 


   Mar 1982




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