Self-confidence is the way a person feels about themselves in relation to what they want to do or their own persona.

Your self-confidence can vary from day to day, situation to situation. In certain arenas we may feel very self-confident, in others we might feel the opposite.

We build self-confidence, we’re not born with it. Think about when toddlers learn to walk. They fall down but get up again and again. Overtime, with practise, they begin to be able to walk and run and jump. This practise gives them a self-efficacy: belief in their capability, a sense of achievement which in turn leads them to feel confident.

If we wish to build our self-confidence it is helpful for us to stop trying to prove ourselves and instead make active choices about the changes it may be helpful for us to make.

We know that at times our confidence can be undermined. This might be by an external circumstance, or it might be within our own head in the things that we are saying to ourselves.

So, self-confidence isn't a permanent state - it can fluctuate and can be influenced by internal and external factors.

We need an awareness of this to continue to maintain and develop our self-confidence. A way of doing this is to build up an encouraging compassionate voice and dial down any self-critical thinking which raises our anxiety or sense of shame.

About the Author

Dr Ashleigh McLellanDr Ashleigh McLellan

Ashleigh is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with 20 years’ experience in the NHS. She is trained in a broad range of psychological models and specialises in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).