Feeling Good About Yourself

Question

Can you give some tips how I can work on my self-confidence? Are there Jewish sources that address this issue? Thank you very much.

, 1 week

Answers

  1. A shy or embarrassed person will not learn. (Avot 2:6)

    The fact that you even asked this question shows that you have a fair amount of self-confidence already! I will try to offer basic advice that I hope will increase your confidence to some extent. Ideally, you should reach a level of “I can do it!” and be the best you can be.

    However, I should caution that one should not strive too hard and become overconfident. This can lead to some of the most negative character traits and behavior, such as arrogance, haughtiness and false-pride. It is important to be confident but a disaster to be arrogant. Confidence is the feeling that you are personally capable of the mission, whereas arrogance is thinking that one is better than others. Who made any person the “Judge” that he is better?

    You ask for tips. Many, many authors and lecturers have offered much wonderful advice over the years and continue to do so. This shows that the need for self-confidence and self-esteem is widespread and important. You are not alone in this quest.

    The easy way for me to reply is to refer you to a long list of available resources. But since you wrote to me, I will offer two tips I have found relatively easy to apply and yield good results.

    I would suggest starting by your asking yourself, “What am I afraid of?” If you are afraid of failure or embarrassment, then ask yourself why you are afraid. If you can identify the reason, you can work on the specific point. I personally believe that the only fear that will remain is “Am I doing the best I can?” If the answer to that is “Yes!” – all other factors that cause lack of confidence will vanish in the wind.

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” (Avot 1:14). A person who truly believes in a cause or the need to do something positive, will automatically have the self-confidence to contribute his resources and self to help the cause. A person who is sincere in his faith and belief will not hesitate to demonstrate this. I have seen this in many people who were “small and quiet” and seemingly introverted – but did not hesitate to act or speak out when necessary.

    Some people try to convince themselves by saying “I’m the best!” over and over, and hope they’ll believe it eventually. This approach actually has merit when boosting the esteem of a child who is developing. But I don’t think you can influence yourself with self-compliments. You’ll know the real truth.

    As they say in sports, there’s “no substitute for hard work” and “practice makes perfect”. Likewise, I personally feel that if you are well prepared for what you need to do, you will succeed in your efforts, or at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best. What more can you do?

    Our Talmudic sages teach that “Someone who learns something 100 times is not similar to someone who learns it 101 times.” I’m not saying to be “obsessive” – just try to be competent, and I am confident that more self-confidence will follow!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team