Made Vibrant

Confidence Is Really About Learning To Trust Yourself

See confidence in a new way by learning about how trust is built with friends and applying it to building trust with yourself.
Caroline ZookCaroline Zook Caroline ZookCaroline Zook

Written by

Caroline Zook

Confidence Is Really About Learning To Trust Yourself

One week, at the bottom of my weekly newsletter, I asked readers to email me with anything they might need right now—something I could help with as a small act of sending love out into the world.

Well, about 40 of those responses had one recurring word that stuck out to me and that word was confidence. So, I wanted to offer up some advice about how I’ve learned to gain confidence in my own life.

The problem with this, though, is that confidence is not a simple problem with a simple solution.

How does one encourage another to have confidence? How can I give someone something that so clearly has to come from within? 

But that’s when I thought to myself: I may not be able to GIVE someone confidence, but maybe I can help someone see their own confidence in a new light. Maybe I can uncover a new way of looking at confidence, a new angle that might allow some of you out there to finally have that light bulb moment that could make all the difference.

So I asked myself: What exactly is confidence? Where does it come from? How do we relate to it? 

I thought about all the times I have to call upon my confidence:

Each one of these moments requires confidence. And when I broke each of these situations down further, I realized that in each of those moments, the thing that allows me to walk confidently or speak confidently or share confidently is that I have built up trust with myself.

“Confidence is really about being able to TRUST yourself.”

The trust you have with yourself is what your confidence rests on.

And so that’s when I started wondering, well if confidence rests on trust, how do we build trust with ourselves? Because if we can understand how to build trust, then maybe we can better understand how to boost our confidence too.

Thankfully I remembered this fascinating talk by Brené Brown called “The Anatomy of Trust” that I might have shared with you guys a few weeks back.

In it, Brené talks about the fact that the research shows that “trust is built in very small moments” — these tiny opportunities in which people choose to show us they’re worthy of our trust.

She compares trust to a marble jar, where others can do small things to demonstrate they’re trust-worthy and each time they do we add a mental marble to their jar. Only when the marble jar is full do we feel we can trust someone.

In other words, trust is earned.

People have to show us that they’re deserving of our trust because that’s how we feel safe and protected from betrayal.

Brené goes on to break down the “anatomy of trust” into its parts, which can be remembered using the acronym BRAVING: Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgment, and Generosity. (I recommend giving the talk a watch now if you want to better understand what each of the elements of trust pertains to. It’s a great talk!)

But the reason I want to share all of this with you is that while Brené’s talk is in the context of trusting other people, I was struck by how transferable all her points were to the practice of learning to trust ourselves.

Just like trust, confidence is built through a series of small moments.

We have to demonstrate to ourselves that we are deserving of trust, and thus, that our confidence is not misplaced.

How do we do that? The same way we would show others we’re trustworthy. Through BRAVING

That last one in particular really stuck with me as the crux of this trust/confidence business: generosity.

Are you generous in your assumptions with yourself?

In other words, do you see the best in yourself? Do you give yourself the benefit of the doubt? If not, I’m betting you find it hard to trust yourself, and if that’s the case, you probably also find it hard to muster confidence at times.

So often we think of confidence as something that is dependent upon the behavior of other people. That our ability to approach a situation confidently relies on whether or not other people will accept us or reject us. But if we continue to think of it that way, we’re giving up our power to build our confidence and improve it over time.

Instead, we have to think about confidence as an inside job. We have to think of our actions as marbles in the jar of trust we have with ourselves. If we can build up enough trust to KNOW that the actions or responses of other people won’t prevent us from continuing to go after our dreams, then our inner selves will feel safe enough to create confidently. To share confidently. To speak confidently.

So, this week, I challenge you to take a hard look at where your confidence is right now.

Do you have trouble trusting yourself? If so, try to pinpoint why that is using Brené’s BRAVING model above. Is it because you break your promises to yourself? Because you’re afraid you’ll judge yourself if you put yourself out there? Is it because you have trouble living your values in moments that are challenging?

Whatever it is, I want you to identify it and decide one way you can start building more trust within yourself. Maybe it’s a commitment to talk more kindly to yourself or to make it your mission to follow through on your next promise no matter what.

Whatever you choose, remember ultimately that confidence has to come from within you.

You have to fill up your own marble jar with enough tiny moments to know that when you encounter a situation that requires you to be confident, that you have your own back.

Confidence Is Really About Learning To Trust Yourself

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Confidence is really about building a sense of trust with ourselves through small moments of courage and action. Once we prove to ourselves we're reliable and trustworthy, cultivating confidence becomes easier.

IT IT

This article written by

Caroline Zook

Artist, designer + writer passionate about helping soulful creatives grow into their brightest selves. Lover of bright colors + even brighter people! One half of the crazy duo running these parts!

Continue the conversation:

Now What?

Join “Wandering Weekly,” a newsletter to help you live, work and create with more intention.

Each Monday we’ll visit your inbox and share a lesson we’ve learned on our own entrepreneurial journeys. We keep it real and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, honest, and 100% transparent when it comes to working for yourself.

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence Intentional Living

It’s Okay If You’re Feeling Lost

Over the years I’ve dealt with feeling lost on many occasions. Whether it was taking my first step into the world of entrepreneurship (working for myself) or leaving behind a “successful” business (IWearYourShirt). Feeling lost seems to be part of the human equation. Something we all have to deal with at different times in our […]

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

How To Deal With Comparison and Finding Confidence When You’re Lacking Experience

The questions in this post came straight from Made Vibrant readers in my email community, Self-Made Society. If you’re not signed up yet, do so here! I asked subscribers to write back with one question they have for me, and I received dozens of responses, spanning topics like my creative process, creative business revenue streams, […]