Confidence can sometimes feel unattainable. Some people seem to have it to spare, whereas others can’t get through a day without crippling self-doubt.
It can also be hard to work out if you actually have confidence. Some people are highly skilled at putting on a self-assured front, which can mask their deeper insecurities.
According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, there’s one really easy way to tell.
“You’ll know you’re insecure if your first reaction to any change is what other people think of you in regards to that change, rather than what you think about it,” she told Business Insider. “So whenever you’re measuring yourself against other people first, you’re not sure of yourself, and that’s what insecurity is. It’s as simple as that, really.”
In other words, if you’re saying “I did that job as well as I could,” you are a pretty secure person. If you’re wondering about what other people thought and worrying about outside judgement, you’re not.
“If you know you’ve done well, and other people don’t like it, you consider that their problem, not yours,” Blair said. “And that doesn’t have to be nasty at all — it’s just a quiet confidence. I know I did my best, I’m sorry you don’t like it, but it’s not my issue. It’s a wonderful thing to have.”
There is a big difference between this attitude and not caring, Blair pointed out. She said the more self-confidence you have, the more you can actually afford to care about what other people think.
For example, if someone at your job wants you to make adjustments or improvements to something you’re working on, you’re willing to do it for them. You’re not offended or hurt by their suggestions because you know you did your best.
Teenagers often feel misunderstood for this reason, Blair said. They work really hard to appear confident when really they’re crying out for validation. If parents miss that, teens can feel like nobody knows how they feel.
“Once that settles down, the hormones settle down, and you have a bit more direction… perhaps you have some good friends or a partner, then you begin to reflect on how they can build on what it is they have and what they want to become,” Blair said. “And I think that’s self confidence.”
Originally published at www.businessinsider.com
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