Are You Psychologically Fit

The BrainThe above seems to be a very strange question. However most of the individuals approaching me to assist them acknowledge that they are far better in abilities and capabilities but it do not manifests in their workplace, social life and daily lives. Unfortunately this situation are not for those who recognize it but for thousands out there who struggle to fulfill their lives. How many individuals out there believe they live the life they are capable of. How many individuals under perform because of self doubt and underlying fear to take reasonable risks. No life is fulfilling without taking some risk because our body and psyche needs to be challenged to bring the best out of us. However some individuals deprive themselves the excitement of life because they arehesitantt or scared to jump into live. They would rather envy those who do and then blame everyone but themselves for their dilemma.

I know because I once was in a position where life was a scary place. Competition was stressful although I long to be part of those who fully commit themselves and enjoy life. I had superior skills than some of my colleagues but they were more bold and I suck the hind tit. It cost me unnecessary agony before I could get of underlying fear and stress to become what I was intended to be. Decisions were a cross for me because I was always afraid I took the wrong decision and taking a risks was out of the question. I have lost many opportunities and needless to say much money because of my hesitation attitude.

Today I am a motivator, speaker, and life coach assisting those who are still trapped in their own psyche of self-doubt, fear and hesitation which add a lot of stress to their lives.

Do not be afraid to confront yourself and accept that their are certain aspects in your life that are holding you back. If you cannot identify the problem you cannot handle and rectify it. Do not hide from it and for one moment do not believe that others do not know about your self-doubt attitude. Most of them are waiting for you to rectify what is holding you back. Remember if you continue with a poor self-image, poor-self-worth and low confidence attitude those around you cannot uplift you and you will always be the one left behind

What is Self-Confidence?

This is likely the most used term for these related concepts outside of psychology research, but there is still some confusion about what exactly self-confidence is. One of the most cited sources about self-confidence refers to it as simply believing in oneself (Bénabou & Tirole, 2002). Another popular article defines self-confidence as an individual’s expectations of performance and self-evaluations of abilities and prior performance (Lenney, 1977).

Finally, Psychology Dictionary Online defines self-confidence as an individual’s trust in his or her own abilities, capacities, and judgments, or belief that he or she can successfully face day to day challenges and demands (Psychology Dictionary Online).

Self-confidence also brings about more happiness. Typically, when you are confident in your abilities you are happier due to your successes. Also, when you are feeling better about your capabilities, the more energized and motivated you are to take action and achieve your goals.

Self-confidence, then, is similar to self-efficacy in that it tends to focus on the individual’s future performance; however, it seems to be based on prior performance, so in a sense, it also focuses on the past.

Many psychologists tend to refer to self-efficacy when considering an individual’s beliefs about their abilities concerning a specific task or set of tasks, while self-confidence is more often referred to as a broader and more stable trait concerning an individual’s perceptions of overall capability.

What is Self-Esteem?

The most influential voices in self-esteem research were, arguably, Morris Rosenberg and Nathaniel Branden. In his 1965 book, Society and the Adolescent Self-Image, Rosenberg discussed his take on self-esteem and introduced his widely used accepted Self-Esteem Scale.

A Free PDF of the Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale is available here.

His definition of self-esteem rested on the assumption that it was a relatively stable belief about one’s overall self-worth. This is a broad definition of self-esteem, defining it as a trait that is influenced by many different factors and is relatively difficult to change.

In contrast, Branden believes self-esteem is made up of two distinct components: self-efficacy, or the confidence we have in our ability to cope with life’s challenges, and self-respect, or the belief that we are deserving of happiness, love, and success (1969). The definitions are similar, but it is worth noting that Rosenberg’s definition relies on beliefs about self-worth, a belief which can have wildly different meanings to different people, while Branden is more specific about which beliefs are involved in self-esteem.

What about those who have too much self-esteem? Narcissism is the result of having too much self-esteem. A psychological definition would be an extreme amount of selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

Self-esteem at high and low levels can be damaging so it is important to strike a balance in the middle. A realistic, but a positive view of the self is often ideal.

But where does self-esteem come from? What influence does it have on our lives? Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means it tends to be stable and enduring.

There are typically three components which make up self-esteem:

  • Self-esteem is an essential human need that is vital for survival and normal, healthy development
  • Self-esteem arises automatically from within based on a person’s beliefs and consciousness
  • Self-esteem occurs in conjunction with a person’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and actions.

Self-esteem is one of the basic human motivations in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow would suggest that individuals need both esteem from other people as well as inner self-respect. These needs must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow and thrive.

These needs must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow and achieve self-actualization. Self-confidence and self-esteem are two closely related psychological phenomena, both based on past experiences and both looking forward at future performance.

Going forward, in an effort to keep confusion to a minimum, we will consider self-confidence and self-esteem to be essentially the same concept.


Popular Theories of Self-Confidence

With these definitions in hand, we can take a closer look at common beliefs and popular theories surrounding self-confidence and self-esteem.

As noted earlier, Branden’s theory of self-esteem became a widely referenced and understood theory, but there were also other theories and frameworks for understanding self-esteem in the psychological literature.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an iconic although somewhat out-of-date framework in psychology, theorizes that there are several needs that humans must have met to be truly fulfilled, but, generally, the most basic needs must be met before more complex needs can be met (1943).  In his pyramid, self-esteem is the second highest level of need, just under self-actualization.

According to Maslow, humans must have their needs of physiological stability, safety, love and belonging met before they can develop a healthy self-esteem.  He also noted that there are two kinds of self-esteem, a “higher” and a “lower,” the lower self-esteem derived from the respect of others, while the higher self-esteem comes from within.

In the years following his introduction of the hierarchy of needs, Maslow refined his theory to accommodate the instances of highly self-actualized people who are homeless or individuals who live in a dangerous area or war zone but are also high in self-esteem.

This hierarchy is no longer considered as a strict theory of unidirectional growth, but a more general explanation of how basic needs being met allow individuals the freedom and ability to achieve their more complex ones.

Terror Management Theory

A darker theory that delves a bit deeper into the human experience to explain self-confidence is the Terror Management Theory.

Terror Management Theory (TMT) is based on the idea that humans hold great potential for responding with terror to the awareness of their own mortality, and that worldviews that emphasize peoples’ beliefs in their own significance as humans protect them against this terror (Greenberg & Arndt, 2011).

TMT posits that self-esteem forms as a way to protect and buffer against anxiety, and subsequently people strive for self-confidence and react negatively to anyone or anything that could undermine their beliefs in their comforting worldview.

Sociometer Theory

Mark Leary, a social psychologist who researches self-esteem in the context of evolutionary psychology, also contributed a theory of self-esteem to the literature.

The Sociometer Theory suggests that self-esteem is an internal gauge of the degree to which one is included vs. excluded by others (Leary, 2006).  This theory rests on the conception of self-esteem as an internal individual perception of social acceptance and rejection.

There is some strong evidence for the accuracy and applicability of this theory. For example, studies have shown that the outcomes of events on people’s self-esteem generally match up with their assumptions about how the same events would cause other people to accept or reject them (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs, 1995).

In addition, Leary and colleagues found that the ratings of participants in their study concerning how included they felt were paralleled by ratings of their self-esteem.  Finally, evidence shows that social exclusion based on personal characteristics decreases self-esteem (Leary et al., 1995).


The Importance of Self-Confidence

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Regardless of which theory you may personally subscribe to, the outcomes of high self-confidence are generally agreed upon by researchers.

A broad review of the correlates of self-esteem found that high self-esteem is associated with better health, better social lives, protection against mental disorders and social problems, successful coping, and mental well-being (Mann, Hosman, Schaalma, & de Vries, 2004).  Children with high self-confidence perform better at school and, later in life, have higher job satisfaction middle age.  Self-esteem is also strongly linked to happiness, with higher levels of self-esteem predicting higher levels of happiness.  High self-confidence has even been found to increase chances of survival after a serious surgical procedure (Mann et al., 2004)!

Children with high self-confidence perform better at school and, later in life, have higher job satisfaction middle age.  Self-esteem is also strongly linked to happiness, with higher levels of self-esteem predicting higher levels of happiness.  High self-confidence has even been found to increase chances of survival after a serious surgical procedure (Mann et al., 2004)!

As noted earlier, there have been thousands of papers published on self-confidence or self-esteem, and many of these papers connect self-confidence with success in life.

Some studies show a strong relationship between self-confidence and achievement or positive mental health (Atherton et al., 2016; Clark & Gakuru, 2014; Gloppen, David-Ferdon, & Bates, 2010; Skenderis, 2015; Stankov, 2013; Stankov & Lee, 2014). The success of individuals with high self-esteem lies in these  6 attributes:

  1. A greater sense of self-worth.
  2. Greater enjoyment in life and in activities
  3. Freedom from self-doubt
  4. Freedom from fear and anxiety, freedom from social anxiety, and less stress
  5. More energy and motivation to act
  6. Have a more enjoyable time interacting with other people at social gatherings. When you is relaxed and confident others will feel at ease around you.

In less happy news, other research has shown that increasing confidence does not always lead to enhanced positive outcomes (Brinkman, Tichelaar, van Agtmael, de Vries, & Richir, 2015; Forsyth, Lawrence, Burnette, & Baumeister, 2007).

Journalists in mainstream media have also pointed out that there are also negative correlates with self-confidence.  For example, self-confidence has steadily increased over the last 50 years, and with it, narcissism and unrealistic expectations have also increased (Kremer, 2013).  Maybe there is too much a good thing when we are building our children’s self-esteem.


Too Much of Good Thing: The Consequences of Self-Esteem Education

Self-confidence or self-esteem has been praised in Western society for the past 25 years. It’s been believed that a positive self-image is key to a happy and successful life. Thus the self-esteem era of education was born. Children of this generation are taught in schools and at home to consider themselves to be special, to only focus on their

Children of this generation are taught in schools and at home to consider themselves to be special, to only focus on their positive traits, and to receive praise for very little accomplishment.

Recent research, however, suggests that these practices and beliefs, rather than protecting people from depression, may contribute to low motivation and a decrease in goal-directed behavior (Dweck, 2007).

If boosting self-confidence is better at increasing narcissism and ambition than achievement and success, what should we do?  Do we ditch the idea of improving self-confidence?

Baumeister and colleagues have an answer.  There are certain contexts where a boost of self-confidence can improve performance, and these opportunities should not be ignored.

They recommend continuing to boost self-esteem, but in a more measured and cautious manner (Baumeister et al., 2003). They encourage parents and teachers to give children praise in order to increase their self-confidence, but only as a reward for socially desirable behavior.  This method ensures that children receive some positive attention and have the opportunity to develop a healthy self-esteem, but it does not run the risk of convincing children that they are exceedingly competent whether they work hard or not.

This method ensures that children receive some positive attention and have the opportunity to develop a healthy self-esteem, but it does not run the risk of convincing children that they are exceedingly competent whether they work hard or not.

Steve Baskin (2011) lays out another positive move parents can take: letting their children fail.  Recently parents have taken great care in shielding their children from pain and problems and forming a protective bubble of love and esteem-building around them.  This often has the unintended consequence of not only protecting children from struggle but also from growth.

Baskin suggests taking a step back as parents, and letting children figure out how to deal with disappointment and pain, an undertaking that will likely result in the development of resilience and successful coping skills. If we want to encourage all children to not only feel their best but to also do their best, these seem like good solutions.

In his TED talk Dr. Ivan Joseph (2012), a former athletic director and soccer coach connects his dedication to building self-confidence with his subsequent career success and encourages the audience to follow some tips to build healthy self-confidence in their children.


The Benefits Of Fear: Practicing Courage and Building Confidence

Fear is there to protect us from physical danger, it is our instinct to prevent ourselves from being eaten by a predator. However in the comfort of our modern homes, in the absence of such predators with protection designed into our homes, cars and parenting styles— what this fear has adapted to do is respond to modern day stresses, which can trigger past negative feelings of shame, hurt or fear.

These experiences operate in the background of our psyche, taking up mental bandwidth and memory, just like mobile apps which run around in the background of your phone using memory and battery power.

When we stay in our comfort zone protected from these experiences by the familiarity of routine activities, we live life unaware of our ability to grow and develop new strengths and skills.  The less we experience opportunities for mistakes and failure the more scared we become of what could happen if we were to step outside of the comfort zone.

However, when we do take that plunge, even without confidence in our abilities courage takes over. In the realm of the known, confidence operates without any hindrance, but in the realm of fear of the unknown courage takes over. Courage is typically a more noble attribute than confidence because it requires greater strength, and typically a courageous person is one without limits for growth and success.

Courage is typically a more noble attribute than confidence because it requires greater strength, and typically a courageous person is one without limits for growth and success.

We can be grateful for fear. We can learn to eagerly embrace it, understand its origin and use it as a signpost for what needs to be dealt with, a powerful tool to declutter the mental closets. And just like actually cleaning out our closets, we can sort through what we want to keep and what no longer fits us. And when it’s cleared out we can feel renewed and energized.

But fear can’t always be overcome just by crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

We, humans, are strange creatures, we expect our fear to disappear in an instant, however, we accept that we cannot just pick up the violin and play Vivaldi in an instant.

“To build confidence, you have to practice confidence”


9 Lessons for Practicing Self-Confidence

Martin Seligman reminds us that positive self-image by itself does not produce anything. A sustainable sense of security in oneself arises from positive and productive behavior (Seligman, 1996). This is not to say that feeling secure and trusting in yourself is not important to well-being. High self-confidence or

This is not to say that feeling secure and trusting in yourself is not important to well-being. High self-confidence or self-efficacy has been linked to many positive physical and mental health outcomes (Pajares, 1996).

Many of us would like to have higher self-confidence but struggle to overcome insecurity, fear, and negative self-talk. With some reflection, hard work, and perhaps a shift in perception we can work towards a strong and stable belief in ourselves.

“Well-being cannot just exist in our own head. It is a combination of actually having meaning, good relationships, and accomplishment” -Martin Seligman

be more confident

3 thoughts on “Are You Psychologically Fit”

    1. I have had the opportunity to discover my self and psychologic problems which I could address and still addressing. As a life coach and human scientist my life’s work is to help those who still are in the psychological wilderness

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