By: Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Self-confidence is one of the most beneficial qualities that one can have. People with self-confidence feel good about themselves. They feel good about their knowledge, their talents, and their abilities. They feel confident that things will work out well for them. They know that they can learn the knowledge and skills that they need and want.
Some young children naturally develop this quality. Some people have thoughts and feelings of self-confidence because they have role models with self-confidence that they have emulated. Some people have had parents and teachers and other friends and relatives who have given them plenty of positive feedback. This positive feedback helped them see themselves in a positive light.
Confidence and self-confidence are learnable skills. So even if someone doesn’t yet have the confidence and self-confidence that he would like to have, he can build it alone or with the help of others. How do you continue to build your self-confidence? When you see that you already know something, that you learned something, or that you can do something, comment to yourself, “I see I know this,” or “I just learned this. Now I know it,” or “I see that I know how to do this.” Every time? Of course not. Just as many times as you feel is best for you.
Confidence means that you feel certain that you know something or that you can do something. We all start off in life not knowing anything and not being able to do anything. Those who are confident tell themselves that they know the things about which they are confident.
Being confident does not mean that you should speak in a tone of voice that sounds contrived, forced, pompous, arrogant, or like a show off. Rather, you can speak in your regular tone of voice and have an attitude of knowing things.
Being confident means knowing that you know some things and that you can learn many things that you presently don’t know. You can ask others for the information you need. You can ask others to show you how to do things that you can’t yet do. You can read books, pamphlets, or reports that give instructions about how to do things.
Being confident also means knowing that you can find people who will be able assist you when you can’t do something yourself. In many instances, a kind stranger will be glad to give you assistance. As long as you know how to ask, you can consider yourself confident that you can find ways to get things done.
If you would like to build your self-confidence, tell yourself, “I keep building my self-confidence all the time. I know much more now than when I started off in life. As I keep learning more things and have more experience, my self-confidence gets stronger and stronger.”
You don’t need to wait until you feel 100% self-confident. At any given moment, you can say to yourself, “I will speak and act like a person with balanced self-confidence.” Just speak and act like that right away. You will find that when you speak and act with self- confidence, other people tend to treat you with more respect.
Those who realize the value of every human being will always treat you and others with great respect. But even those who have not yet reached the level will begin to treat you with greater respect when you have greater respect for yourself. Self-respect is a birth-right. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to have self-respect. Claim it. It’s yours.
(from Rabbi Zelig’s book: “Conversations With Yourself”, pp.162-4)