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Self-confidence is like an invisible power. When we have confidence we also have courage, hope, energy, and enthusiasm. So how do we get it? How do we build our level of self-confidence?

This article is a discussion about what self-confidence is and how to build it both personally and artistically. I talk about how the power of thinking creates both negative and favorable situations but above all, I share the process of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Self-confidence is the ability to look at life circumstances from a place of opportunity and not limitation. This ability allows us to overcome obstacles and to keep moving forward, if we are able to constantly make this happen then we develop true self-confidence.

Where does self-confidence come from?

Some appear to have more confidence and more success than others so the question is why and how do they do it. Is there a secret behind it? Can anyone be confident?

The thing is that nobody is being born with more or less self-confidence. A baby doesn’t come into this world with a lack of self-confidence or a negative self-image. However, we do get born in a certain environment and we become conditioned by that.

Our values and beliefs are being formed over time in our subconscious mind starting from very early childhood. We develop individual characteristics, habits, and traits in connection to the environment, either towards positivity or negativity.

The seed of self-confidence starts with early childhood.

However, nobody is doomed towards negativity. As adults, we must be honest with ourselves and analyze personal values and beliefs in order to remove any negative thoughts within.

It is, however, through the desire for personal improvement, through self-awareness you will be able to build or rebuild your self-confidence. And of course, through practice, practice makes it perfect, in this as in anything else.

What is lack of self-confidence?

Before discussing the power of self-confidence and how to build it, I’d like to talk about the lack of it. Unfortunately here is where most people are, in their personal life and professional one. Why is that? Because school and family don’t teach you how to develop self-esteem. You have to learn it by yourself.

The cause of lacking self-confidence is “fear”. And if you follow the fear you’ll see that at a conscious level it’s all about “doubt” and “worry”.

We create a negative image in our minds about ourselves or about a certain situation and we are constantly doubting and worrying about that. So the lack of self-confidence means self-doubt.

Lack of self-confidence also translates into the negativity of the mind such as “unworthiness”. This feeling of unworthiness is the most toxic negativity one can ever hold because you are sabotaging yourself. You are constantly creating and maintaining a negative image of yourself.

Here are some beliefs of individuals with low self-confidence.

  1. Worrying about losing whatever they hold on to (a job, a house, a partner).
  2. Worrying about what others are thinking about them if they are going to be accepted among friends or colleagues.
  3. Believing that their work is not good enough so it’s better not show or share it until it’s perfectly accomplished. Read here about the illusion of perfection.
  4. Frequently procrastinating and quitting when unexpected challenges are arising.
  5. Believing that when a goal is set up they also must have all those steps figured out.
  6. Always aiming for the familiar situations of their comfort place which then leads to stagnation.

What is true self-confidence?

The polar opposite of lacking self-confidence or the opposite of self-doubt is “understanding” and “knowledge”. And there’s only one way to get there, to continuously learn and improve.

Unfortunately, school fails again in this area. School should teach us how to learn, how to love studying, and how to progress personally and professionally.

When you are learning you are getting more information, your negative self-image will start to change and fade away. Now, you want to become a better version of yourself because you have new ideas and goals.

True self-confidence becomes a state of being, which implicitly leads to the need for self-expression.

A confident individual is always aware of the difficulty of a situation. He or she always acquires new healthy habits in order to progress. Apparently, it looks like “luck” but in fact, it’s a positive mindset towards life in general.

A confident person acts based upon:

  1. Believes that a difficult situation will always bring a positive perspective with it.
  2. Make decisions even though initially they don’t know the steps on how to get there.
  3. They have a purpose and learn more about it along the way.
  4. They are aware of their own struggles and fears but they still go forward.
  5. Frequently go out of their comfort zone by trying new things and approaches.
  6. Build their mental freedom, freedom of letting go of anxiety, worry, disappointment, and anger.

How do you build self-confidence as a person?

Self-confidence is mental strength and exactly like physical strength needs to be exercised. When you are building your “self-confidence” you are building your “character” and this is the result of continuous actions.

The natural way to build your self-confidence is to create a positive image of yourself.

The process is to have a desire to change and to do conscious actions. It starts as a psychological fact but just reading about it will not bring any real result. Practice is necessary.

Here is how I see the process of building self-confidence.

  1. Desire. Have the desire to change, to improve yourself. When you have a desire for something you suddenly start to learn about it.
  2. Idealization. Create an ideal version of yourself and imagine what you could do, go and have, if you’re free of that self-negative image. Make it grand.
  3. Repetition. Repeat the visualization of your ideal version and have a strong clear mental vision. You can not think about your old negative thoughts and expect positive results.
  4. Habits. Create new habits (daily and weekly) that build new situations. People say they want a better life but they just fantasize about it, they don’t literally change their everyday habits. Read here my article on changing habits.
  5. Action. Create conscious actions, small things at the beginning that lead to concrete results later on. It’s a continuous process of cause and effect. Thoughts are causes and the results are the effect.
  6. Reminder. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget that you are growing and where growth is there’s also life, courage, and harmony.

How do you build self-confidence as an artist?

I strongly believe that you can not be a confident artist while being an insecure person.

It’s practically the same thing, a confident person is by default confident in whatever their job and craft are. Plus that art-making means self-expression, so you see my point?

Artistic self-confidence equals self-expression.

As I’ve mentioned, you build self-confidence by learning and by practicing so here are some thoughts on how to get started as a confident artist.

The following suggestions are basically actions that you need to continuously take.

  1. Fundamentals. Get strong fundamentals about art in general. Read here my article on the 6 fundamentals of any artist.
  2. Experimentation. Experiment with multiple mediums, tools, and styles.
  3. Learning. Learn the same concepts and vocabulary from multiple sources (or fields of creation) such as drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, film making.
  4. Portfolio. Continuously update your art portfolio even with work-in-progress pieces or just practice exercises.
  5. Personal project. Always have a personal project aside that excites and challenges you to grow.
  6. Community. Stay in contact or follow other artists that have the same interests as you.

If you are a student you need to start building up your portfolio from early Year 1 of study. Every course you take should be approached as a new portfolio piece and then at the end of your studies, you will have quite a variety of subjects. You’ll have a portfolio that gives you confidence.

The process of creating self-confident beliefs

Surround yourself with colleagues or friends who are more talented, more creative, more successful than you, you should be grateful for being around them. You can observe and understand their process. You can ask for insights, help, and feedback. Even a short discussion can be enlightening.

Being surrounded by people who achieve more than you it’s like having a water fountain in a hot desert.

It’s all a matter of perspective on how to look at things.

As I’ve said above, create the mental habit of replacing negative thoughts with their positive opposite. This is not easy because your negative thoughts are being rooted in your automatic and subconscious mind so it takes some practice.

Here are some examples of replacing negative beliefs.

  1. I’m not good at this – REPLACE IT WITH – I’m not good yet but I’m practicing to become better.
  2. It’s so hard, I’m not gonna make it – REPLACE IT WITH – My mistakes tell me that is not working so I’ll try it differently.
  3. I don’t know how to do it – REPLACE IT WITH – Others have done it before, I just need to figure out how.
  4. When I look back I see how stupid I was – REPLACE IT WITH – When I look back I see how far I have come.

Questions and answers

What is self-confidence?
Self-confidence is the degree to which you think and feel about yourself regardless of your situation or background.

What determines the degree of self-confidence?
Your power of thinking, your mind create both negative and favorable conditions.

Can I build a high degree of self-confidence?
Yes, by changing the mental habits from failure and doubt to willpower and success. It’s a mental process where automatic negative thoughts are being consciously replaced with new positive thoughts.

Why are so many with a lack of self-confidence?
Due to low self-awareness, due to focus on loss, doubt, and fear; fear of things and situations that could happen.

What can I do to become a more confident person?
By continuous learning about life and things in general and by creating an ideal version of yourself where there’s no doubt and worry. You learn by doing; through practice, you become what you want.

What are the necessary steps in order to start to build my confidence?
Have a strong desire, create an ideal version of yourself, build new habits, repeat constructive actions, acknowledge your own accomplishments.

What can I do to become a more confident artist?
By continuous learning and experimenting. Have strong fundamentals to build on, surround yourself with better artists, share your work and ask for feedback, build and maintain a portfolio.

Takeaway

Through my interactions with hundreds of students, I’ve seen how an increased self-confidence has brought huge shifts in their work in a very short amount of time. But I frequently see how a lack of confidence is basically sabotaging their own results and opportunities.

Here is something important.

If you do not intend to do a thing, don’t start it. Because when you start something and you do not complete it or make some kind of resolution with it, you are forming an automatic habit of failure; absolute true failure.

But if you do start, if you make up your mind to do something, see it through even if it’s hard, even if the sky falls on you, then you are forming the habit of self-confidence.

It’s not just me saying it but these are the natural laws of the world. Regardless of your formal education, of how many times you have failed in the past, your aims and goals, your financial status or, the discouragement from the close ones, your self-confidence is the capacity of believing in yourself. This ability is guiding you in life.

If you are on the journey in doing what you want, if it feels like a roller coaster but you still enjoy the ride, it’s the proof that you believe in yourself, you have Self Confidence and Willpower.

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Cristina Zoica Dumitru

Cristina Zoica Dumitru

I teach digital art courses online and on-location. My mission is to challenge students to reach their maximum potential for creativity and authenticity.

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