Self-Confidence Under the Microscope: Looking Past the Cliches

By: Daniel Click


“Be yourself.”


“Believe in yourself.”


“Just be you.”


“You’re perfect as you are.”


The above are just a few of the typical cliches that tend to arise when considering matters related to self-confidence. These cliches, along with countless motivational quotes on social media, are all variations on the same theme: if you want to improve your self-esteem, then you just need to believe in yourself, go your own way, and be proud of who you are.


There’s some value to the above sentiments, too – but for most people, merely choosing to improve your self-confidence isn’t an option. It sounds nice, but it’s just not that simple.


Why is this?


Very few things in life can be fixed with a few blanket, non-specific statements. Human emotions are complicated; that’s why conditions such as Imposter Syndrome (where people underestimate their abilities or feel their achievements are unearned) and Paradise Syndrome (where people seem to have everything they could ever need but are still unhappy) exist. Self-confidence works in much the same way; you can’t just tell someone with one of the above syndromes to get over it, just like you can’t tell someone with depression to simply “cheer up”.


Self-confidence works in much the same way; motivational quotes and cliches are nice, but if you have confidence issues, they will likely just skim the surface rather than making a lasting impact.


So self-confidence issues are permanent?


No – but issues with self-esteem do require a little more work than a few pithy phrases.


For the most part, those who experience issues with self-confidence have a reason. It may be a reason that is exaggerated in their mind, but it’s still a reason; for example, a person may feel that their facial skin has aged before its time, and they think that this is noticeable to others – so their self-confidence depletes as a result. There are countless “causes” of self-confidence issues, from weight to concerns over social status to economic worries, but these causes are real, even if they are somewhat exaggerated.


When you’re dealing with a real reason for self-confidence concerns, a nice statement or cute quote just isn’t going to cut past that.


How can self-confidence be improved?


For most people, a combination of two different techniques helps to alleviate self-confidence issues. The first is remedial; people can make efforts to lose weight, visit a leading aesthetic doctor, seek to make new friends, or any other measure that helps to address the cause of their self-confidence issues.


The second technique is to dig deeper, usually via psychotherapy or counseling, to provide the framework that helps people to feel more able to embrace the motivational quotes. While “believe in yourself!” isn’t helpful, working with a therapist to understand why you don’t believe in yourself, and how this situation can be improved, can be hugely beneficial.


In conclusion


A motivational quote or self-confidence cliche will never help to ease self-confidence concerns. However, a dual approach of remediation and therapeutic work can provide long-lasting results that address all aspects of self-confidence issues, which can help to set such concerns aside once and for all.


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