Common Myths About Self-Confidence

July 25, 2012 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Myths about self-confidence can really play with your head and keep you from attaining the confidence and self-esteem you wish you had.

For instance, I hear this all the time from clients, friends, even colleagues: “I will never be confident.” And guess what? It’s not true! Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation. Achieving confidence is an active process that anyone can participate in. It just may take a little work and re-framing.

Rebuilding My Self-Confidence

English was one of my favorite subjects in high school. I was an avid reader and wanted to be a writer. So when my sophomore English teacher told me I should think of a different career path, as she marked my paper with so much red ink it looked more like a Pollock painting rather than a research paper on Steinbeck’s East of Eden, I lost faith in myself as a potential writer. After much time and practice, I am self-confident in this area. It took re-framing this experience, and not giving it the power I once had, in order for me to move forward. And look at me now, writing is part of my career.

4 Self-Confidence Myths

Are you telling yourself these lies?

Self-Confidence Myth #1: “I wasn’t born with confidence.”

Nothing is further from the truth. You weren’t born with the ability to speak, walk, or even read. This all takes time and is a skill set you acquired, but you had the developmental underpinnings to do so. The same is true for building self-confidence. All that you need is guidance and a belief in yourself. It takes a shift in perspective and a new outlook. Everyone has the ability to be self-confident.

Self-Confidence Myth #2: “I had a rough childhood or background so I will never be self-confident.”

It is true that trauma resulting from difficult childhood situations can make it challenging to feel more confident as an adult; it’s not impossible. You have likely felt insecure about particular areas of life for many years, much like I did with writing and academics. However, that does not mean you can’t overcome these negative beliefs about yourself. Keep in mind, I am not discounting the trauma or years of verbal or physical abuse one may have endured. Self-confidence can be achieved in particular areas of your life even with these unfortunate events. Remember, self-confidence is learned. With the right therapy (if needed), willingness to see things differently, focusing on the skills you have and turning the negatives into learning experiences, you absolutely can be self-confident.

Self-Confidence Myth #3: “I am nervous in social situations therefore I’m not self-confident.”

You may appear like you’re not confident in some of these situations, but that does not mean that self-confidence doesn’t exist or is impossible to acquire. Many people feel uncomfortable in these situations. What it shows us is that this is an area that brings up some negative beliefs or anxiety. It takes practice to make a confident first impression and feel comfortable around others.

Self-Confidence Myth #4: “I am not: smart, attractive, thin (fill in the blank) enough.”

Shockingly, self-confidence has nothing to do with your looks or talent; rather it’s how you present yourself to the world and your inner belief system. The only way you overcome this myth about self-confidence is by learning to believe in yourself. You must actively look for the areas that you do excel in or feel comfortable about. Not only will it give you a self-esteem booster, but it helps develop overall self-esteem.

Don't Let These Myths About Self-Confidence Derail Your Life

I had a client, who had a very rough childhood filled with trauma. She was in the process of losing weight, due to doctor’s orders, and was looking for a new job. Yet, with all these perceived challenges, she still had boundless confidence. She was working on moving forward from the trauma and weight gain. She looked at this as an opportunity to learn about herself. Coming into therapy and doing workouts were “an adventure,” she once said. She told me that her job loss was a blessing in disguise because she wasn’t happy at that company. She wanted to find a job that used her customer service skills and was actively sending out resumes. She liked herself for her inner qualities. She possessed confidence in different areas of her life and it showed. Not once would you have looked at her and thought, she must feel really bad about herself. She was able to shift these negative experiences into opportunities.

If your self-confidence is dependent on other people's praise or impacted by negative critiques you picked up throughout life, that's not really "self" confidence. You have to work with yourself to see that this praise resonates with you. Self-confidence is built by having a great relationship with your inner self. Be kind to him or her.

Take Good Care.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2012, July 25). Common Myths About Self-Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Johnathan Ness
July, 29 2013 at 10:27 am

I agree with the first two, somewhat disagree on the latter two. You can still be confident if you're an introvert, but I think confidence breeds a level of comfort around people, even if you don't get your energy from being in a crowd. As for finding areas you excel in and gaining confidence from that, I don't think it's ever enough if that's where you get your value. I used to get my value from being intelligent, but no success was ever enough to compensate for even small failings in that area. As you said, confidence exists outside of your talents.

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