Have you noticed that some people are just thriving under stress while others passing through the same circumstances are at the brink of a collapse? Have you seen some people that are successful in everything they do, while others seem to go nowhere, while having the same opportunities? What makes the difference? It is Confidence!
It’s a widely known fact that confident people are often successful in whatever endeavor they strive to accomplish. When you have confidence, you have the self-assurance that you have the ability to take control of your situation or circumstances.
Without confidence, you won’t fare as well in anything that you attempt to do. This is because a lack of confidence can alter the way that you make decisions. Without confidence, you compare yourself to others and you are scared to make the moves that will help you to advance.
If you have confidence, you will be finishing the race, while others are still too scared to pass the starting line. Many people have found success because they made bold moves driven by nothing more than the confidence they had.
You’ll find those stories all around you – how people risked everything they owned because they believed that they could start a business or risked their lives to take a solo sailing trip around the world.
Some people are natural leader personalities. They can influence the crowd, because they have the confidence that they are in charge of the situation.
While you can develop your confidence levels, there are two things that can impact your efforts negatively – those two things are stress and anxiety.
Anxiety is worrying about something that might happen or fretting about the eventual outcome of an event. This can also be defined as nervousness. You are fearful of something bad that could happen in the future. In extreme cases, anxiety can lead to a panic attack.
Besides depression, anxiety is the most common mental disorder. In most metropolitan areas, one in three persons is suffering from anxiety.1)A. J. Baxter et al, “Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-regression”. Psychological Medicine (2013): 43(5),
897-910. DOI: 10.1017/S003329171200147X.
While anxiety is considered an excessive concern with the future, stress is an excessive concern with the present, and depression is often an excessive concern with the past. Many times all three of them tend to be interconnected. And low confidence levels will have a large influence in triggering those manifestations.
If two people both have to deal with the exact same kind of stress, you’ll have one person who will react with anxiety, while the other person won’t. And the reaction depends much on the behavioral actions from past circumstances.
Anxiety can be an emotional platform that stress lands on. The heavier the stress, the shakier the platform can become. But if you have enough confidence, the platform is able to handle the turbulence.
Since your emotional platform is how you go through life, you want to make sure that you can cope with whatever you have to deal with. If you have a higher anxiety level, it can cause you to have limited ability to cope.
If you have high anxiety, you’ll find that you often struggle to cope with things that someone with low anxiety can handle with ease. For example, in someone with high anxiety, having a financial upheaval could cause a lot of fear and many sleepless nights. In someone with low anxiety, it doesn’t – because they have the self-assurance that they’re going to be able to take care of whatever needs to be done.
High anxiety will sooner or later lead to negative thoughts, and negative thoughts will lead to negative emotions. When you’re caught up in a cycle of negative thinking and negative emotions that stem from anxiety, it impacts your confidence. It will start to erode your beliefs, the self-assurance that you’re as smart as or as capable as the next person of handling a circumstance, a job project, having a great relationship or anything else in life.
When you feel your anxiety levels to rise, take a short break. Breath in deeply through your nose. Then breath out slowly through your mouth. This exercise will have a calming effect on your heart, and will help even to calm down your thoughts.
Exercise can be very helpful as well. Whenever you exercise, your body releases endorphins, the feel good hormones that can lift your mood and calm anxiety. Even just five minutes of exercise can restore calmness.
A cheerful attitude or even laughter can go a long way to keep anxiety under control. You may have heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. There’s a lot of truth behind that statement.
One way that you can lower your anxiety is by journaling. You can write out what you’re feeling and why. Detail how it makes you feel and take note of any similar circumstances that you may have dealt with in the past.
It can help to look back over what you have gone through and see that you were able to deal with it and move on. Avoid things that trigger a higher anxiety level in you. For some people, this means avoiding things that are shocking or upsetting.
This might be the evening news, or people who always seem to have a doom and gloom outlook on life that ends up bringing you down. If you know a situation is going to make you feel anxious, if you can avoid putting yourself in that situation, then do so.
With all of the articles and books on combating stress, you might get the idea that any kind of stress was bad for you, and that’s simply not true. Stress can actually help you in many areas of your life.
Let´s think for example about a tailor who needs to deliver a dress by Friday. The day before she is working hard to deliver in time. She is focused, works with precision and efficiency and even forgets to eat her supper. Friday she delivers in time and is able to relax. A healthy level of stress has helped her to finish the task.
Or if you are stressed about your meager finances, you may decide to go after a better job. You push yourself forward, you make an effort and in the end, you reach the desired job you were looking for. In this case, stress acted as a motivator for positive change.
Stress will start to be negative when you feel that you are out of control, and you do not know how to handle the situation. Besides the magnitude of your challenges, your confidence levels will greatly determine whether you experience stress as a motivator or a traumatic mind crippling experience.
Our confidence levels and your belief system about our own capabilities is to a large degree formed during childhood. If you were brought up in a safe environment and felt you were encouraged to develop yourself, you have an enormous advantage over others, who may be carrying lots of limiting beliefs about themselves.
We are carrying a baggage of beliefs about ourselves, which can be helpful, undesired or even destructive. Many of those ingrained thoughts are based on our interpretation of past experiences, may they be positive or painful. It is possible to change this belief system about ourselves, but it will take some conscientious effort to do so.
In order to help you to change, you need to find a secure fortress that you can trust. If you feel you are in a protected place, you can develop the confidence level that you are in control and stress will be a motivator for you. This safe haven of trust is created by an atmosphere of genuine love.
Psalm 139 is for me one of the most profound descriptions of this needed environment of trust. The first part describes the all-knowledge of God:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.Psalm 139:1-6
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
It is wonderful to know that there is nobody else who knows us on such an intimate level as God. He knows us and He understands us. There is no need to hide us behind masks, no need to fake something, we can be just the way we are. That gives us a basis for a relationship of trust.
The second part speaks of the all-presence of God:
Where can I go from Your Spirit?Psalm 139:7-12
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
This text assures us, that it does not matter what we have done, no matter where we are or where we go, there is no place in the universe where God´s love is not able to reach us. This assurance, that wherever we are, He is able to take care of us, can give us an incredible confidence boost.
The third part is speaking about our all-powerful God that has created us:
For You formed my inward parts;Psalms 139:13-16
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
It is a great thing to know that God had a purpose for your life and He was seeing your future even before you were born.
If you can fully understand the way that God is taking care of you, then you have a foundation to build your confidence that is solid enough to withstand the trials around you. There may be difficulties all around you, but you can go forward with confidence that God is able to carry you through. What better foundation can you have to build up your confidence?
|↑1||A. J. Baxter et al, “Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-regression”. Psychological Medicine (2013): 43(5),|
897-910. DOI: 10.1017/S003329171200147X.