Is Courage the Same As Self-Confidence?

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If an adolescent is self-confident, is she necessarily courageous?

Most of our choices require confidence and courage. It takes a lot of courage to choose to speak up and to let someone know how you feel, especially if that person has authority over you. It takes confidence, on the other hand, to try new things. It takes confidence and courage to put yourself first.

The good news is that most of you can work on pumping their confidence and courage. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. Recognize your confidence and courage. Confidence is that “I can do it” feeling. Chances are, you’ve felt it at some point. Maybe it was right before a game. Or maybe it was just before a test that you studied for thoroughly. Courage, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily the absence of fear. Sometimes, courage is about being scared and going ahead with something anyway.

2. Start small. To build your confidence and courage, take small risks where you have a good chance of succeeding. You could do this, for instance, when you already know you can do two out of the three steps required. By accomplishing this first, you can gain more skills to go after a more challenging goal, like becoming a reading tutor. After you gain confidence by conquering small risks, you’ll feel ready to take bigger ones. Each new challenge can build your confidence even more.

3. Face your fears. Fear can be your gut’s way of warning you, though too many fears can hold you back from taking a risk or going after a dream. Are you afraid of failing? Are you afraid of looking silly? To overcome fears like these, think about their source. Often, fears come from being uncomfortable with the unknown or feeling out of control. But sometimes, the cause is that you don’t believe that you deserve success. Give yourself a boost by telling yourself that you can do it and are worth it.

4. Don’t worry about being imperfect. Lots of girls are on the ‘be-perfect treadmill.” They believe that they have to look and be perfect n order to be accepted and loved. However, this is far from the case. You don’t need to do everything right or be number one all the time. To build confidence, don’t try to be perfect and live on the edge a little. Practise taking risks where you’re sure to make some mistakes.

5. Find heroines. Having heroines comes in great when you’re building up your confidence and courage quotient. Your heroine or role model could be someone in your family, in your community, or in the public eye. She might even be someone from the past. Determine which qualities and values that you aspire to have that your heroine has and then try to develop them for yourself.

It is never easy to develop our courage and self-confidence. However, we have to develop both in order to act in a self-assertive fashion and to take the kinds of risks that will help us to excel in life.

Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for teens and tweens. She is in the process of writing a few E-books for teens and tweens on the topic of confidence and self-assertion. She also has an adolescent blog at http://www.adolescentgirlsblog.wordpress.com.

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