Self-confidence starts with your “self.” Literally and figuratively! When you feel good about yourself, when you trust yourself, and feel comfortable with your actions, the little things don’t bother you as much, and you can take more abuse. Once your internal base is solid, you can then start thinking more externally. You can start trusting others within reason over certain things. Let’s join Mr. A and our crew of writing analogy characters for some examples:
Meet Mr. A (red).
Mr. A has a healthy sense of self-respect. He can eventually feel comfortable walking into any situation, can take a joke about himself, and is generally a likeable person. If the occasional person doesn’t care for him now, they’re few. He’s not without fault, however. He’s made some mistakes in the past that have hurt some of the people he cares about. Mr. A knows about his shortcomings and doesn’t try to hide his weaknesses.
Mr. B (blue) is his father.
Mr. A trusts in the judgement of his father. If he provides recommendation, he’ll either act completely in that direction, or use that argument as a solid foundation to either take his own stance or find a middleground. There may be the occasional disagreement, flaw, or mistake, so if Mr. A trusts himself at nearly 100%, he trusts Mr. B to 90%.
Mr. C (yellow) is his best friend.
Mr. A grew up with Mr. C. They ripped and ran through childhood, adolescence, and into maturity together. Their wives are friends, their children think of each other as brothers and sisters, and they may even live in the same neighborhood. Yet occasionally, they’ll bicker, or won’t quite agree. Their trust is around 80%.
Mr. D (green) is an old college classmate, or something like that.
Mr. A gets along well with Mr. D. Maybe they were friends when they were younger? They certainly don’t meet up more than once a year anymore and rarely ever outside of a group social. Still, they know each other by name, and remember some surface level details about each other’s professions or hobbies. They’d trust each other around 70%.
Mr. E (orange alien) is someone at work.
Mr. A gets along with Mr. E. They’ll chat occasionally about their hobbies and personal lives. They may go out to lunch and have shared pictures of their families. Both remain distant, however. Mr. A had been burned by colleagues before, or maybe Mr. E is just the new guy. They’d probably trust each other around 60%.
Mr. F (gray question mark) is some stranger.
Mr. A is polite with people he doesn’t know. Most can become acquaintances with time, some even friends, although he knows not to give out too much personal information. Trust starts at 0% and is earned. So when Mr. F says something rude, asks some probing questions, or is otherwise aggressive, Mr. A ignores him.
This is just a framework.
When you trust yourself, you can begin to give trust toward others.
Remember, trust is earned, not stolen.