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6 Myths About Self-Confidence: Are They Holding You Back?

If you truly want to strengthen your self-esteem, then it’s important to really understand just what it means to be self-confident. Your whole life you’ve been hearing (and internalizing) a lot of myths about self-confidence, and it’s time to stop believing them!

If there’s one thing almost everyone would like to have more of in their lives, it’s confidence.

Believing some of the most common myths can actually hurt your confidence.

If you were to check out the amazing array of books on the topic in your local bookstore, you’d see that it seems everyone and their little brother want to share their secrets to self-confidence.

And much of the advice is a rehash of the same misinformation.

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Myths About Self-Confidence You Hear All the Time

  • Success is Necessary Before You Can Be Confident
  • Only Extroverts can be Confident
  • Confident People are Always Confident
  • Confident People Love Being the Center of Attention
  • Confidence is Something People are Born With (or Without)
  • Comparing Yourself to Others will Increase Your Confidence

These statements are commonly believed, but they are simply NOT TRUE!

The truth about self-Confidence

Confidence is a SKILL that anyone can develop, at any time in their lives.

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Six myths about self-confidence to Stop Believing Today

Myth 1: Success is Necessary Before You Can Be Confident

Although success can certainly give your confidence a boost, you do not need to be successful in order to be confident.

Psychology Today defines confidence as “a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge.”

Confidence is more about understanding yourself and feeling secure in who you are as a person than in having achieved a standard definition of “success”.

It’s important to give yourself credit for both large and small accomplishments.

Even simple things like making your bed every day or listening to a friend’s troubles have value – because these things demonstrate your ability to meet life’s challenges.

As you act on these small challenges, you learn to grow and take on greater challenges.

Experts share that in order for you to reach the highest levels of success, you need to have confidence first.

Confidence often comes first, success second.

You can start with small challenges and watch your confidence grow over time as you reach each goal you set.

Eventually, you will reach your goals successfully – and by then you will have felt confident in every step of the process.

“Successful people often exude confidence – it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first.”

Travis Bradberry

Myth 2: Only Extroverts Can be Confident

There are plenty of extroverts who aren’t confident and plenty of introverts who are.

Confidence is not a personality trait.

Many people interpret extroverted people, who are outgoing and like the spotlight, as being confident and they judge introverted people, who are quieter and more reserved, as not being confident.

The truth is that there are many seemingly outgoing people who have very low levels of confidence and many reserved people with extremely high levels of confidence.

Being an extrovert or an introvert isn’t the reason why you have or lack confidence. There are other factors involved.

Confidence is internal and depends on your belief in your own abilities.

Confident older woman with brown hair and brown eyes gazing into camera, myths about confidence its time to stop believing

Myth 3: Confident People are Always Confident

The truth is that confidence levels fluctuate up and down.

It’s very rare for someone to be truly confident every hour of every day, in every situation, and facing every event.

Self-esteem increases and decreases constantly over time.

People tend to be more confident about things that are familiar to them. It’s normal to feel a little less assured when facing a brand-new situation. According to experts, this is to be expected and not something to be concerned about.

You may have fears that cripple your confidence on occasion. The key is to work through them and keep going. Feelings of uncertainty and insecurity will happen. But facing these challenges and experiences will help build your overall sense of confidence and competence.

Have faith in your ability to learn and succeed.

Failure is nothing more than a learning experience, and it is impossible to grow as a person if you don’t have these failures to teach you.

Confident people get scared and fail all the time, they just don’t let that stop them.

“I taught myself confidence. When I’d walk into a room and feel scared to death, I’d tell myself, ‘I’m not afraid of anybody.’ And people believed me. You’ve got to teach yourself to take over the world.”

Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Myth 4: Confident People Love Being the Center of Attention

This is just another common myth.

Just as you don’t have to be an extrovert to be confident, you don’t have to be in the center ring all of the time, either.  

It’s normal for confident people to want to avoid the spotlight sometimes, or even all of the time. Confidence isn’t tied to how others react to you. Rather, it is your internal belief in yourself.

Confident people know that being true to themselves is much more effective than trying to prove that they are “important” to others.

They are internally, not externally, motivated, and do not need other people to provide that attention in order for them to feel confident.

myths about confidence its time to stop believing, confident older woman looking at camera and smiling

Myth 5: Confidence is Something People are Born With (or Without)

Although some people seem to naturally have more confidence, the truth is it is an acquired skill, not an inherent trait.

Confidence isn’t built into your DNA like eye color or hair color.

Confidence is a skill—one that can be developed and strengthened like a muscle.

The key to gaining confidence is the willingness to try new things combined with trust that you are capable and will learn as you go.

The more you work at things that develop confidence, and learn to master those things, the more confidence you will gain in your own abilities.

Myth 6: Comparing Yourself to Others Will Increase Your Confidence

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you compare yourself to people who are “ahead” of you or those who are “behind” you, this is the wrong way to attempt to increase self-esteem and confidence.

Research shows that comparing yourself to others actually hurts your confidence levels.

If you just focus on the success of others, then you’re not growing yourself. You’re not working on your own issues and challenges to reach higher.

By looking at other lives and contrasting them with yours, you’re just feeding your insecurities.

Consider all of those apparently “perfect” lives on Instagram and other social media. The reality is, you are shown only the things each influencer wants you to see. You cannot possibly know or understand the full details of another person’s existence.

Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes footage with someone else’s highlight reel!

Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves.

Confident people don’t waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.

They see that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and they focus on their own abilities.

“With the realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”

Dalai Lama

Read More:

Final Thoughts on 6 Myths About Self-Confidence That Could Be Holding You Back

Want to boost your confidence?

Focus on yourself, your abilities, and your successes.

Try new things, and consider every failure a learning opportunity. Celebrate each success, no matter how small. Realize that the more you flex your self-confidence muscle, the stronger it will become.

Don’t buy into these popular myths:

  • Success is Necessary Before You Can Be Confident
  • Only Extroverts can be Confident
  • Confident People are Always Confident
  • Confident People Love Being the Center of Attention
  • Confidence is Something People are Born With (or Without)
  • Comparing Yourself to Others will Increase Your Confidence

Leave these damaging myths about self-confidence behind and start building true confidence today!

10 thoughts on “6 Myths About Self-Confidence: Are They Holding You Back?”

  1. I 100% agree that confidence is a skill you can develop through purposeful effort. I definitely don’t think comparing yourself to others is a good thing. Either you find you’re doing better than them and it makes you feel better(until you start seeing others do better and then you’re threatened by them) or you see yourself doing worse than them and feel discouraged. It’s a lose-lose. Much better to compare your present self to your past self and see how far you’ve come!

    1. Yes, always compare yourself (if you must do it at all) with your past self to see your progress. Even when the progress is small, you can still see how you’ve changed, and how you want to progress in the future. You are absolutely right, comparison to others is a lose-lose! Thanks for reading and commenting, Clarissa!

  2. I love this posts Lori and you hit and nailed this post as always. Me and my daughter is so opposite and she’s way more outgoing and very talented but lock of confidence. I couldn’t understand and it struggles me as her mom.

    For me growing up, I just focused on my own and asked help with my friends or someone if I needed to. But I couldn’t understand how people compare themselves to others. I think the bottom line of this as long as you love yourself and accept your weaknesses and strengths you are fine and good to go. This post is right on time. I’ve been reading my daughter about self confidence and self esteem.

    Thanks for writing this post I enjoyed reading this.

    1. April, isn’t it funny how mothers and daughters can be so different? Its good that you are aware of your daughter’s confidence level and are working to keep her strong before she enters those tough teen years! I do think people of all ages can struggle with confidence issues. Stay tuned for 2021 as that’s going to be a big focus on my blog! Thanks for reading.

  3. There are sooooo many fantastic points in this post. I remeber it took me a while as a teenager to realize that there is such a thing as a quiet confidence that is at the core of you and help you navigate the world and its challenges. We don’t need the bells and whistles to be confident. I try to show that to my kids too.

    1. Good for you for learning about quiet confidence as a teen! It took me many years longer – but once I understood, I felt so much more confident and true to myself. Kudos to you for focusing on your kids confidence from the get-go, I think all too often we assume they will learn to be confident when we really should be teaching and modeling it for them.

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