Focusing on competence builds self-confidence, which inspires the pursuit of more competence, and so on!
It wouldn’t be a far reach to suggest that many of us often speak of wishing we had more Self-confidence – it’s not unusual for us to say we have confidence in some aspect of our lives but lack it in other parts. Sometimes, we even go so far as to make a generalised statement about our entire person, such as ‘I am not a confident person!’ or ‘I have NO Self-confidence at all!’
What a terrible burden such a statement – a belief – is upon our emotional and psychological wellness, especially when deep down we continue to want very badly to succeed and feel good about something. Most of all, we want to feel good about our Self – feel good in our own skin!
So how to move from no Self-confidence toward greater Self-confidence? Let’s call this the ‘zero to hero’ concept, which for the purpose of this brief blog relates to Self-confidence.
Well, logically, you have to want to take the first step toward feeling good about your Self, even when you have a competing belief that you can’t – a belief that tells you not to bother.
You have to want to feel better about you! And this is where competence building rather than confidence building can be the key or set of keys that opens those doors in your mind that are shrouded in Self-doubting thoughts. Incremental competence building opens those doors allows the light of clarity to shine upon YOUR unique path to greater Self-Fulfilment, Self-Acceptance and Self-Confidence. Out of the darkness and into the light.
Often people will get excited about setting goals to improve their Self Confidence only to find themselves unable to persevere, commit and succeed. Why is this? One reason is that we want to take bigger steps – expose ourselves to bigger experiences, than we are ready for. We believe the saying that if it isn’t worth suffering for it isn’t worth having and usually, we link this cliché statement to having to achieve BIG goals – have BIG suffering – right now or ‘what’s the point!’.
There is nothing inherently wrong with setting your Self big goals, but if you try something bigger than you are ready for, even the smallest setback can re-activate and perpetuate your negative beliefs, leave you feeling bad, support your Self-doubt, and so contribute to a lowering of self-confidence.
Our recommendation is, particularly for those of you who feel that your Self-Confidence is all but eroded in one, several or even most areas of your life, is to start with small goals that grow bigger over time. Skill building or Competence building is a great way to feel good about yourself, especially when you are focused on a meaningful area of your life.
The best way to build competence is to take a steady, incremental, step by step approach to building skills in a meaningful area of your life, which, by default becomes a positive and stable investment in Self-confidence – basically it feels good and as humans we are invested in feeling good!
Interestingly, whilst the end-result as an outcome of having developed competence is valued, it is the good feeling that inspires us to persevere. The feeling of confidence is an emotional and psychological investment we want to bank more of simply because it feels good!
Difference between competence and confidence
Let us take a look at ways to understand the difference between competence and confidence.
Competence (the action we choose take)
Competence is usually behaviour or action oriented; it is simply the process of learning how to do something and then getting better and better at it. Cooking for example.
Competence building is a willingness to take incremental steps toward developing skills to produce a meaningful outcome congruent with our values. For example, you may not be a ‘foodie’ but you wish to develop your understanding of food and cooking skills because you value being able to provide your family with a range of healthy nutritious and tasty meals.
Repetition in action combined with your commitment, plus willingness, to continue practicing in the face of challenges, is what not only builds competency but also helps lay down the consolidated learning pathways in the brain. If you want to bake the perfect soufflé, it may take many, many tries before you get it right but when you do, because of your own commitment, it feels good!
These strongly established learned pathways, feel ‘natural’, after a while. Before you know it, baking a soufflé is as easy as boiling an egg. Baking a soufflé just seems to come ‘naturally’ to you. No doubt you can think of many areas in your life where you have moved from almost no competence to great confidence, in such a way that what you do feels natural and easy to you now.
Every time we feel good about ourselves through building competence we are investing in Self-confidence!
Confidence (the good feeling we want)
Self-confidence is an emotional experience associated with feeling good about our Selves – believing we are good and well-intended, useful human beings. Often how we feel about ourselves, over time, can be influenced by how others see us, interpret our actions, feelings and developing perspectives. Others might draw attention to areas where we feel less competent, leaving us feeling ashamed and wanting to hide our perceived weaknesses; over time these shameful feelings can produce Self-criticizing thoughts.
We can find it harder and harder to feel good about ourselves and start to take on a global belief that we have no worth and so no Self-confidence and, congruent with that belief, an inability to succeed. If we are vulnerable to this influence, and take this on as a truth, we don’t feel good about ourselves. The doors in our mind become hidden behind Self-doubt.
Self-confidence equals feeling good about you – feeling good about whatever it is deep within that makes you ‘you’, and not someone else. When you feel good about you, you are more curious about finding ways, and taking steps, toward achieving your personal and professional goals. Feeling good about your Self doesn’t mean you are naturally competent in all areas of your life, but it does mean you are willing to honestly, without Self-judgment, accept you are not competent in all areas of your life, including meaningful areas of your life. This compassionate Self-acceptance gives you permission to acknowledge, without bias, where you are at and decide what you would like to do about it, without allowing your Self to be tempted across to Self-criticism!
Self-confidence and Self-acceptance do make it easier to learn a new skill, because they are less burdened by or shackled to a learned negative self-perception.
This is our goal – to be OK with who we are, when we are and where we are in our lives as we stand right now. Then, without criticism, from that place of awareness and acceptance, we can decide to take valued steps in the direction of greater satisfaction and fulfilment. Such a decision and commitment to Self-fulfilment, which usually means learning something new, feeling good about it, learning something else new, feeling good about it, etc., takes us closer and closer to fulfilling our ever evolving Self potential. It can begin to feel exciting, sometimes scary, but fundamentally exciting and good.
As a final note:
Confidence without competence can devolve into experiences of insecurity, arrogance, & emptiness, to name a few.
Competence without confidence is the genius at the back of the class who hides their light out of shame.
For those of you shrouded in darkness with a desire for more – a desire to shine your light – to be present – to feel good…start small, this week. For those of you holding the light but afraid someone might notice you don’t have the competence others think you should have, start small this week.
Make a commitment to something, even as small as developing competence in boiling the perfect soft boiled egg – you’d be amazed at how many people value a perfectly boiled egg!
And it is not about the egg…it is about You and the first steps/first small wins on the road to greater confidence through competence. And of course, greater competence to pair with your growing confidence.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes – what matters is that your own valued small goal is small enough (and just big enough) that you can do it and feel good about it, within your Self.
It is the Feel Good we chase on the way to our achievements, because It Feels Good to Feel Good…it really does!
Feel Good Psychology & Counselling
Feel Good Psychology & Counselling offers you an affordable, 100% bulk billed, telehealth counselling service. Feel Good Psychology & Counselling has a growing team of Feel Good High Quality Psychologists committed to a no-fee service for clients with a Mental Health Treatment Plan seeking Bulk Billed Medicare Psychology Sessions. For clients without a Mental Health Treatment Plan, our committed team of Feel Good Psychologists offer one of the lowest rates available for quality psychological services in Australia.
Why not browse our website and contact us today to discover how we can help you on the path to greater confidence through building competence in a meaningful and values congruent way – join many who have made a conscious and courageous decision to improve their life, their future and, by default, that of their family and friends!