How to Develop True Confidence (and Let Go of Approval-Seeking)

What is true confidence?

There are a lot of misconceptions about confidence. People sometimes assume it’s a product of achieving something in particular, having nice things or looking a certain way. Some people try to talk themselves into confidence by thinking positive thoughts.

But both of those kinds of confidence are both artificial and shaky. What if your looks change or you don’t achieve a goal? What happens when you compare yourself to someone else who seems better?

And as for thinking positive thoughts—well it may seem like a good thing but in the end it doesn’t give us any lasting sense of self-worth. And often these thoughts create a kind of facade or mask we present to the world—blocking our ability to relax, show up as our authentic selves and have genuine connection with others.

Artificial confidence, when it comes down to it, is often about trying to get a sense of approval and self-worth from others.

But there’s another kind of confidence available to us. One that is cultivated from within and can be carried with you wherever you go.

Perhaps counter-intuitively this kind of confidence requires letting go of the habit of trying to impress others and get their approval. It means taking your masks off, letting the walls down and embracing uncertainty, vulnerability and courage.

When we do that we discover true confidence.

The word confidence comes from the Latin word confidere which means to ‘have full trust’. So we learn to trust ourselves and trust our basic worthiness instead of trying to get it from outside ourselves.

When we let go of the idea that our self-worth needs to be earned, bought or begged for, when we see that we don’t have to fit in or stand out to be enough – then we start to learn to rest in a deeper place inside ourselves and naturally a deeper form of self trust and confidence emerges. The more we let go of the stories and strategies to get others to love and approve of us, the more we begin to trust our own deepest nature and let that flow out into the world unimpeded.

Because this kind of confidence is not separate from who we are, it doesn’t depend on anything or anyone outside ourselves, we can’t lose it. It’s unwavering. That is true confidence.


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