You know that woman who always seems at ease? The one you’re secretly admiring and (maybe just a little bit) resenting… She communicates clearly. She sets good boundaries. She is certain of her choices. She embraces who she is and is approachable at the same time. She’s got what you see as authentic confidence. How did she get it? Did she learn it, or was she born with it?
Confidence From the Outside - In
It seems like this woman feels like her presence and her ideas are valued, and she easily shares them. That’s probably because she’s practiced. A lot. She’s put herself out there, and she’s built her resilience capacity by making mistakes and by experiencing successes. She takes what she sees in the observable world and she uses it to become better at self-expression. She didn’t fake it ‘til you make it; rather, she practiced and practiced and practiced . . . and that helped her get better as a person. Confidence from the outside-in means taking action in the observable world, noticing where we’ve done well and where we can improve, and honing our skills through practice.
Confidence from the Inside-Out
This woman has gotten to know who she is. She understands her needs and preferences. She’s aware of her weaknesses and triggers. She validates her own experience. She is certain of her truth. She trusts herself. This, too, requires practice. And she puts in the effort to be aware of, to understand, and to know who she is. This may mean counseling, meditation, journaling, and employing other self-awareness tools to advance her personal and spiritual development.
Bringing the Two Parts Together
Using both approaches - learning from the world around us AND developing inner harmony - is how that confident woman learned and cultivated confidence, and it’s something she does daily. The good news: because confidence is a practice, it’s something we can all access and develop over time.