Self-Confidence, by Lubna Al-Midfa
28 October 2011, 7:43 PM
Being confident is not unattainable. Some of us are born with it while others can learn it with some practice and time.
The word ‘confidence’ is defined as “having faith in one’s self and abilities,” but the common belief is that confidence is “feeling good about one’s self.”
Anish Thomas Chiran, owner of Click Computers, UAE, feels that he’s naturally confident. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get vulnerable at times. “Starting my business raised my self-confidence,” he says. “Self-
assessment, my past mistakes, praying and my current achievements have made me much more confident today.”
Likewise, Hana Shamlan, an Emirati payroll systems manager for Dubai eGoverment says, “Prayer boosts my confidence, then exercise and doing things I’m passionate about, like practicing my hobbies.”
Confidence means differently for different people based on their experiences. Until now, people always believed one can only be confident if he/she feels confident. Recent studies contradict this theory though. For example, it’s said that if you work on your posture, a bio-chemical reaction occurs in the body that leads to gaining confidence naturally without even realising it.
An article by Siri Carpenter for the Oprah Magazine seconds this. It stresses that our body language has just as much influence on the way we think as does our brain.
According to the article, in a study that was conducted last year by Dana Carney, PhD, and Amy Cuddy, PhD, a group was asked to either sit or be in what they call a “an open expansive power pose” for two minutes, which meant leaning back in the chair with feet up, for example, or standing tall with shoulders back. The other group was made to sit in a tight constricted pose, sitting with shoulders slouched and hands clasped together.
The results showed that those who acted confidently actually took braver decisions because they felt more powerful as a result. It was also found that the hormone testosterone, found in both men and women and associated with assertiveness and energy, had risen by 19 per cent and the levels of stress hormone cortisol was reduced by 25 per cent.
William Horton who works in the field of self development is author of Normal Crazy People, which encourages one to start living fully in the moment instead of just getting by in life. He adds, “Psychology is not simply the study of behaviour. It also encompasses the physical workings of the brain and that includes the management and release of chemicals — both feel-good and feel-bad ones. How our brains behave — and, indeed, how their behaviour can change (even change the size and structures within the brain over time) — depends on the use to which we put them.”
But what about those who are over-confident? When does this become unhealthy for others? Clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr Raymond H Hamden, from the Human Relations Institute in Dubai, explains that overconfident people are usually unaware of it, and unaware that they have overreacted.
He says, “First, remind yourself there are elements to every situation you cannot control. Individuals who feel in control of their environment often become overconfident in their ability to control or predict outcomes. Remind yourself to experience situations you cannot impact. Shake your own self-confidence to control your overconfidence. Control the urge to only give credence to facts that fit your views. Overconfident individuals often disregard facts that do not fit their view of a situation. Take responsibility for failure as easily as you take credit for success. Learn to control your ego and harness your confidence into a productive force. Turn overconfidence into reasoned confidence.”
It’s never too late to make the positive changes in your life that you’re looking for. If you think you are shy, be more confident and if your over confidence is driving people away from you, it’s not too late. You can still change yourself.
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