Dr Jonathan Haverkampf

Central to Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence is Self-Believe, what one person believes about the own abilities and attributes. This is determined by heredity, but also by one’s social environment. Our environments in school, college and at the workplace have a large influence on the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

Many people believe they lack self-confidence. They often see it as a reason for their problems and their inability to lead happy and fulfilled lives. This means they perceive a deficit, that something very important is lacking. My work with clients over many years has lead me to believe that this deficit is really a disconnection with one’s inner self and the world around.

Through our interactions with the world around us and the thoughts in us we develop a map of what is important to us and its essence, the values we hold. They provide a stable and solid direction for the paths we choose and the decisions we take in life. If you do what is important to you, you are important to yourself. A problem is that many people are afraid to look at their interests in values out of fear that this might change their life as they know it. They acknowledge that they might be far off their optimal path, but do not want to change direction. And they do not see that change often should be gradual and is then mostly felt as a relief rather than an ordeal.

An important question is to ask what would you do if you had the self-confidence you are looking for. Many people have never thought about this before, but imagining the future is actually a very effective antidote to the world without it.

Self-Confidence is a feeling you get when you do the things that inspire self-confidence. The things we imagine that we done once we have self-confidence are actually the things that could help instill self-confidence. So instead, do the things you plan on doing after you feel self-confident, and you will build self-confidence. The more self-confidence is no longer an issue, the more self-confident you are.

How to get there? In the short run ‘positive thinking may help, but in the long-term you really have to examine your values, needs, wants and aspirations. In the long-run, only if you do the things that are in line with your values and meet your needs and wants and help you attain your aspirations, will you do something that can instill self-confidence. You will become more proficient and skilled in it, and this also builds self-confidence.

How one makes decisions and how one communicates with the environment has to fit your style and the things you want to achieve. It also reflects on who you are. So, this too has to be in line with your values. If you have a stable sense of who you are, how you make decisions and of yourself in general, your emotions and behavior will be more stable as well. This again builds self-confidence and a stable sense of who you are.

This means self-confidence arises out of the life experiences.

What helps in times of change is to focus on the things that remain constant, our values and interests, our sense of self and who we are. Having a stable sense of self helps in the face of sudden change, whether positive or negative change. Winning the lottery has ripped many from their comfortable paths and actually left them worse off psychologically and financially in the long- and even medium-term.

So, what are these stable components and how can one learn about them? You know what you are interested in because doing it feels god over the long run. Your values are what you get emotional about when they are valuated. If there are not many emotions attached to something it may be something your environment wants you to do, but which is not that important to you. You learn about these things by communicating with yourself. Many people have gotten out of touch with themselves because they think they have to have different values and interests. But the truth is that they do not change much over time, if at all, because they are too closely linked with who we are and our sense of self. When we follow them we feel ourselves the most.

Self-confidence is therefore about doing things one enjoys. Feeling good is a prerequisite for building self-confidence because it attaches good feelings to what you do and think, and thereby also to yourself. This builds lasting and stable self-confidence.


© Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved., Dublin, Ireland

This paper is solely a basis for academic discussion and no medical advice is given, nor can it be given. Always consult a professional if you believe you might suffer from a medical condition.

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