There is no such thing as « self-confidence »

I came to that realization lately: there is no such thing as “self-confidence”. This is not something I will leave you with and let you think about, but rather a realization I would like to discuss with you. Have you ever felt “confident”? I mean, totally “confident”, in the purest way? Personally, and even though I consider myself to be “confident”, I have never felt that way. Actually, I do not think anyone can.

Defining “self-confidence”?

We do live in a society that praises self-confidence: “once you will be confident, you will have it all” or “fake it until you make it” are sentences we hear every single day (do I exaggerate? I am not even sure). Thus, we start thinking that we need to be “self-confident”, that our whole life and well-being depend on it. However, at no point have we defined self-confidence. We think that we need “that” in order to live a fulfilled life, but we never define ” that”. Thus, how may it be possible to reach “that”?

There are obviously definitions of the term that have been given in the past, but I do think those are incomplete. I even gave my own definition of self-confidence in that post and keep abiding by my rules. Nonetheless, I am fully aware of how impossible it is to define such a reality.

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What about “self-confidences“?

Have you ever heard of the plural form of the phrase “self-confidence”? Me neither. However, the more I think about it, the clearer it gets: there can’t be just one and only “self-confidence”. There are obviously people who are more or less “self-confident” because they have more or less “self-confidences” in realms that matter more or less to them. However, that does not mean that one can measure their amount of self-confidence.

Let’s use an example to make my point clearer. Let’s say that you love baking. You are extremely good at it and you love it fondly: thus, you are self-confident in your ability to bake. However, you are very bad at playing football, but you just do not care about it at all. Thus, you lack self-confidence in the realm of football, but it does not have any effect on your global sense of “self-confidence” as the area in which you lack self-confidence matters less to you than the area in which you are actually self-confident. On the contrary, if you had been bad at football while dreaming about becoming a professional footballer some day, it would have been a potential threat to your global level of “self-confidence”.

Thus, we seem to be self-confidence in different realms, but not globally. The importance we give to those realms we are (or aren not) confident in has an effect on a global sense of “self-confidence” as the more confident we are in the most important realms to us, the happier we get. However, saying there is only one “self-confidence” seems wrong. Actually, and even though you might be the best in the realm that matters to you, you may still be totally insecure about your ability to play football: thus, you are not “self-confident”. You are “self-confident in your baking abilities”.

I truly do think that when defining self-confidence, referring to the realm used to evaluate the self-confidence level is essential. I am also convinced that it is only by putting the definition of “self-confidence” into perspective that we can actually reach some sense of “self-confidence”. It seems indeed quite complicated to feel self-confident when we are always worried about actually being “self-confident enough”. What happens when we realize that we can be self-confident in one realm and insecure in another is simply that the pressure is lifted off our shoulders. As pressure slowly disappears, a true sense of self-confidence can now have room to expand.

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