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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Confident People Are Also Happier People

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Why Confident People Are Also Happier People

When asked about the most important outcomes of having healthy confidence, many would likely state “success,” “respect from others,” and “appreciation.” Happiness, on the other hand, is a feeling we tend to associate with life satisfaction and well-being, feeling healthy, and having good friends, relationships, and fulfilling careers.

We rarely directly link confidence and happiness. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of publicity about their close alliance. There is no self-help advice along the lines of “to be perpetually happy, become more confident.”

So, is it accurate to assume that confident people are also happier?

Let’s examine what some great academic minds have uncovered.

The Link Between Confidence and Happiness

Below is just a small fraction of the support that exists in favor of the positive link between the two:

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A study from 2014 on 200 students has found a positive relationship between self-esteem and happiness—that is, the increase in the former leads to an enhancement in the latter.[1] Another recent small-scale research from Ireland also unveils that favorable self-assessments are positively liked to happiness and life satisfaction.[2]

Perhaps one of the most widely-cited papers on the link between the two states is that of Prof. Roy Baumeister, titled “Does Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” In it, he quotes a large-scale study done with 31,000 college students from 49 universities, 31 countries, and five continents. High self-esteem was the most important factor which predicted overall life satisfaction, and the link between confidence and happiness is 47%, which, in statistical evidence, a very close relationship.[3]

Other studies, which Prof. Baumeister references in his paper, support the above conclusions—that is, self-esteem predicts happiness.

Self-Esteem Predicts Happiness

A decade ago, Mary Guindon—a former chair of and associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services at John Hopkins University, and a consultant, educator and a teacher on the issues of mental health, career development, and self-esteem, among others, conducted a survey of school counselors in New Jersey.

Participants were asked to list five words that best described students with high and low self-esteem. High self-worth students, turns out, were perceived as confident, friendly outgoing, happy, positive/ optimistic, and motivated.

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In comparison, the low-assured students came across as withdrawn/shy/ quiet, insecure, underachieving, negative, unhappy, socially inept, unmotivated, depressed, dependent/ followers, with poor self-image.[4]

In another widely popular piece of research, empirical studies show that confident people and low self-value ones also differed tremendously in, well, almost everything

Low esteem people are believed to be more sensitive toward criticism, more emotionally unstable, react more negatively to failure, and inhibit high doses of social anxiety and self-consciousness—that is, low confidence was linked to greater unhappiness.[5]

High self-esteem (as opposed to low) helps us to weather some of the “emotional distress” which comes from experiencing negative events, distress, and rejection.

How so? Because confident people have a different mindset when it comes to failure, Prof. Jonathon Brown—a renowned social psychologist and a self-esteem researcher from the University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.— has discovered.[6] Confidence serves as a buffer, he believes.

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Simply put, his research confirms, self-assured individuals view failures as temporary setbacks and as opportunities. What’s more—they also don’t judge themselves as disappointments—i.e. their levels of self-worth remain unchanged after a letdown.

Confident People Look for Relationships

Low esteem is often paired with social aversion, shyness, desire to “be left alone,” and unwillingness to meet new people.

Confident people, in contrast, are more likely to socialize and to look to expand their network of friends and acquaintances. As they believe in themselves and the value they have to offer to the world, they also recognize the importance of networking and creating bonds as a way to become appreciated, supported, and recognized.

And even of greater significance is that, according to research, our close relationships are the main predictor of happiness in life.[7] Therefore, once again, studies tend to agree that self-assured individuals are happier, as they seek to create lasting and caring relationships.

Confident People Don’t Look for External Validations

Confident people generally don’t look for external self-validation compared to low esteem ones. They don’t have to because they know exactly how much they are worth.

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As we all recognize, comparisons to others are frequently a major cause of unhappiness, anxiety, and life dissatisfaction. An “I-want-more-than-others” outlook is a very dangerous mental framework, which throws us in a perpetual measure-up against others. Nothing is good enough, and we often feel as not good enough.

However, the Social Comparison Theory tells us that confident people may engage in comparisons to others who are better, too.[8] But it’s driven by a motivation to improve, rather than a desire to prove to ourselves and others that we are worth it.

Conclusion

In the end, it’s worth noting that it will be probably erroneous to assume that confident people are always happy. They don’t wear rose-colored glasses all the time. We all experience setbacks, failures, unfavorable events, which make us feel anxious, worried, distressed, and unhappy. It’s part of life.

As we already mentioned, confident individuals tend to be more emotionally stable, have a more constructive outlook, and feel greater self-acceptance and respect.

Because of the above, they are also able to focus on the positives in life, to enjoy greater relationships, to compare themselves less to the Joneses, and rather—to seek enrichment through experiences, and self-improvement. They are simply better equipped to deal with life, manage stress, and reach their goals.

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And all these benefits that confidence brings translate into improved long-term well-being and life satisfaction—that is, a state we often call “living the good life”—which, in turn, is what gives us a sense of joy, peace with ourselves, excitement, and gratitude. In other words: Happiness.

Tips on How to Boost Your Confidence

Reference

More by this author

Evelyn Marinoff

A wellness advocate who writes about the psychology behind confidence, happiness and well-being.

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

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“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

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Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

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Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

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“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

Reference

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