The Importance of Inner Confidence for Healthy Living and Self-Esteem

Guest blog by Domonique Chardon

Confidence (n.) a : a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances. b: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.

I grew up in a tough environment, where just “being positive” about anything was not an easy task. My family life was unstable, both of my parents struggled with drug and alcohol addictions and I was extremely poor.  On top of that, I suffered from social anxiety which made me feel awkward and uncomfortable most of the time, like I didn’t fit in or belong. Sometimes I would just lay in bed and cry; cry about my life and why things were the way they were; dreading going to school for fear of running into the wrong person, who might say or do something to me that would ruin my day.  I was sad and depressed and it seemed like no one cared or noticed.

I’m not sure when a change happened, but I started to become very angry at my situation. Mad at the world and everyone around me. I wanted others to hurt like I did. I was looking for anyone to upset me, say something or challenge me; so that I could fight them and take out all the hurt I felt on them. But the anger I felt, had another unintended effect of me: out of anger, I found personal strength to march to my own beat. My angry protest became a battle-cry: I was not going to let the opinions of others bring me down; and if someone tried, I dared them to see what was going to happen if they tried to embarrass or pick on me.  And believe me I had my fair share of bullies and people who seemed to get a kick out of seeing me miserable.

What I didn’t realize is that I was relying on inner confidence.  Having this has allowed me to rise above even the worst of labels and stigmas placed on me by others. Words hurt, I cannot deny that. And unfortunately, there will always be people who will try to hurt you with their words; but I have found that you can destroy them silently with a powerful surety and inner confidence. A mental determination in which you declare that YOU ARE the master of your destiny, YOU ARE NOT what others deem you to be. Knowing this has given me not only the strength to get through difficult times, but also a personal satisfaction.

It wasn’t easy – it took a great deal of mental conditioning to get to a point where I didn’t respond with my emotions or my fists. What I realized is that life wouldn’t always be difficult, that happiness started with me. As long as I was content with the decisions I made, I didn’t owe anyone anything.  Without even knowing I was developing my inner confidence.  Although some tend may think being confident means being arrogant, boastful or conceited; I believe inner confidence means being brave and strong. It means having the ability to make my own decisions, and to test my boundaries and limits when I chose to.

Having inner confidence has been a great help to me on my personal journey and I hope it can be to you as well.

Domonique Chardon is a Bay Area Area native, young professional, aspiring writer, and spiritual being having a human experience.  Follow Domonique @domonique_007. 

The Triangle of Self-Perseverance: Confidence, Self-Esteem and Approval

Confidence, self-esteem and approval are all tied very closely. Combined, I call this the triangle of self-perseverance.  They are interwoven and when out of balance, we can’t be the best version of ourselves. Like a science project that successfully shows cause-and-effect when elements are evenly poured, so too happens with the proper mixture of confidence, self-esteem and approval. Through building one’s confidence we see self-esteem emerge; however, the challenge is where we seek our approval.  For many teens, they look to their peers for approval and if they don’t receive the acceptance they seek, this can damage their confidence and ultimately their self-esteem. So keeping the triangle of self-perseverance in balance is not easy.

Confidence is that undefinable ability or feeling we have that tells us that we can do it.  That we are smart enough or strong enough to take something on, win or lose.  It provides us with a sense of self where we are comfortable to try something and not fear failure, but look upon it as a growth opportunity. This builds resilience in all of us which in turn squashes fear and cultivates self-esteem.

Self-esteem is how much you like who you are and how much you accept and respect yourself. Healthy self-esteem can serve much like a shield of armor against the challenges of the world.  Self-esteem will change throughout your life, so the key to positive self-esteem is to stay confident in who you are and to surround yourself with good people who give you a healthy dose of reality as well as approval.

Approval or acceptance comes in many forms from interactions with parents, teachers, coaches to friends and colleagues.  However, ultimate approval comes from a place deep within that says, “I’m ok with me. I accept me for who I am.” Getting to that place can be tough for many of us.  During the critical teen years, youth look to their peers more than anyone else for approval. They also need to see this approval reinforced at home and school by caring adults in their lives. This is how the delicate balancing act of confidence, self-esteem and approval come together.

To raise confident kids, we must reinforce their success and failures; give them room to grow and build autonomy. Through this process, confidence will ultimately blossom.  Then we must encourage them to take on challenges big or small and praise them for their successes as well understand their defeats. This is where their self-esteem will be tested. Remember, valuable life lessons come from failure. As Robert F. Kennedy said,  “Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly.” Encourage them to keep going, teach them perseverance and resilience will follow.  Ultimately, they will grow strong, trust in themselves and look inward for approval.  Through this symmetry self-perseverance will ultimately be found.