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If you are a confident person, where do you think you got your confidence from?

(83 Posts)
SlinkyB Wed 23-May-18 21:43:38

Do you think your childhood, or the way you were brought up, has had a big part to play in your confidence as an adult?

I'm just curious as I'm currently attending a course which is very self reflective. I'm a very confident person, and kinda think I always have been? I was the kid at school chosen to do the readings in church at Christmas, or speak in assembly. Maybe it started then.

Just interested in others' views on the subject smile

BackforGood Wed 23-May-18 23:33:11

Yes.
I've seen it with my own dc too. It's a bit 'chicken and egg' - because they were asked to take on the 'narrator' type role in Reception assemblies and plays, then they got experience of speaking in public and realised there was nothing to be scared of, so were confident about it and then got called upon to do it whenever someone needed a 'reader' or 'speaker wherever they were, and so forth.
Then there are experiences, so, for example at our Church, the Children and Young People are not only encouraged to read the lesson (each week on a rota basis from when they are about 8), but they also take the service at least twice a year - they grow up being used to standing up in front of a 'crowd' and doing, or saying something. Each week there is a 'children's address' and the preacher normally either gets them up the front to do something or hold something, or they roam around the Church with a radio mike, so again, all the youngsters are comfortable speaking in front of loads of people. That then means that when they are at something - for example with Scouts - they are already confident, if someone is needed to get up and say something in front of a crowd, and so they get a bit more practice / positive feedback, and so it goes on.
I've also encouraged them to 'go and ask then man / lady' if they want something, from when they were quite tiny, rather than doing it for them.
I think the way close adults speak to them, and encourage them to try things, and to stick at things also helps. I cringe when I hear parents shouting 'be careful' as their child is just starting the next step - be that riding a bike, climbing a tree, just going to the park, whatever.

BackforGood Wed 23-May-18 23:33:43

Sorry. Bit long blush. Something I feel really passionate about.

Stinkbomb Wed 23-May-18 23:39:18

Fake it 'til you make it!
I'm naturally very shy, hate small talk etc, however in the past few years I have somehow realised that I don't actually care that much any more about how others view me, my priorities and outlook have shifted massively, and as a result, I come across as a lot more confident. And have a lot more fun and friends as a result.

BonnieF Wed 23-May-18 23:48:17

I was the first, and only, person in my family to stay on at school, do A levels and go to university.

As such, from an early age, I naturally assumed the role of family spokesperson or ‘dealing with authority’ person whenever necessary. Reading, explaining and replying to official correspondence was also down to me.

This was a useful way of developing self-confidence ; simply because it had to be done.

GreenTulips Wed 23-May-18 23:50:56

so were confident about it and then got called upon to do it whenever someone needed a 'reader'

This is why some people never gain confidence because the 'usual' suspects are picked time and time again. Those that need it aren't given the he chance. Shame really.

YoucancallmeVal Wed 23-May-18 23:52:40

I was always an excellent faker of confidence, although it often appeared I was arrogant when actually I was bricking it but pretending not to be. Age has been the biggest confidence maker for me and am genuinely more confident now.

frasier Wed 23-May-18 23:52:59

It was quite weird but interesting in my case. Pushed by pushy (narcissistic) mother I did all the readings, amateur dramatics, even professionals stage and tv as a child... until my father died and mother turned on me (behind closed doors).

I went from confident to doormat within a year or two.

Took a long long time to get my mojo back. I was confident at uni and work with my work, but socially not so good. Unfortunately a jealous MIL just about finished me off. 10 years of her sniping and passive aggression along with my mother’s and a random relative who joined in, meant I had serious problems with even leaving my home at times.

Fast forward. Had DS. Mama tiger came out and bang! MIL gone, relative gone (cut off) mother dead and my confidence is back. It’s like a light switched on.

MrsDilber Wed 23-May-18 23:57:37

Yes and I don't know why or where.

Ozgirl75 Thu 24-May-18 03:52:35

This is such an interesting question. I am confident and am married to a man who now seems very confident (does talks to hundreds of people etc).

I definitely think it’s true that I was picked to do things (readings, narrator, solos) and this reinforced my confidence as I found it was no big deal to stand up in front of people.

My husband said he never felt confident but his job forced him to do loads of presentations. He felt so nervous at first and yet now he is totally untroubled by them because he’s done it before, seen it’s no big deal.

We have two children - one is outwardly confident and yes, is being picked for things because of this (and because he volunteers), having it reinforced.

The younger one doesn’t volunteer but his school are very good at giving everyone a go - they do “news” from Kindy, loads of opportunities for speaking and presentations.

He is becoming more confident because of two things - doing more public speaking and also being in a family of people who either are, or seem confident. He has just asked to take part in a singing and dancing class and I would NEVER have thought he would do this.

So I believe that there are people who are naturally confident at being in the limelight, and then other people who wouldn’t seek it, but when they are out there, see it’s not so scary and then grow in their confidence.

TenGinBottles Thu 24-May-18 05:43:35

BackForGood you could have described my childhood there. And yet I am not confident and every time I had to do one of those things, it was pure torture. And each time any concern of mine was ignored or dismissed with a "you're being silly" reinforced how unimportant my feelings or I was. To the extent that by the time I got to uni I was so panicked by speaking in front of people that in our first tutor group I stood up, started to talk and promptly passed out.

lljkk Thu 24-May-18 05:54:10

DD is wildly confident, it came out of doing well at school & finding she was good at many other things.
I am more confident now than I was when much younger, came out of finding out I could deal with challenges.
DH is very confident... came out of his mother worshipping ground he walks on!
Friend is incredibly confident at talking to people; comes out of her mother forcing her to talk to people when she was small & then finding out that it wasn't so scary, she could do it well.

I'd say most these improvements in confidence came from finding one thing folk could do well & then finding those skills expanded to other areas. I'm often batted down on MN for saying this... that difficult or stressful situations are good for children because they learn to deal with them & then not find them so challenging.

Devilishpyjamas Thu 24-May-18 06:19:07

Age & having a severely disabled son.

I haven’t ever been massively underconfident, but something about growing older has made me really not care that much how o am perceived - that could go too far if i’m not careful grin

My son has very complex needs & has had a very difficult time - it has meant having to deal in the right way with various different bureaucracies to get the care he needs. It’s also meant dealing with complex situations with people who are at the top of their organisations.

I run my own very niche professional business. So I guess some from that.

I think confidence comes from getting on and doing stuff. It comes from experience. My middle son doesn’t think twice about singing a solo in front of 2000 people (the more the better as far as he’s concerned confused) because he is used to doing that. He has FaceTimed me before shows, or in the middle of shows, before a big scene he has to do and been practically horizontal he’s so relaxed (having said that - he is nervous for the first couple of shows, then it becomes ‘everyday’ and nothing to be worried about).But if I wanted him to run an errand at (say) the post office he would need to be coached through it and would be nervous - because it’s outside his comfort zone and usual experience. He’ll still ask me what to say to people for the most mundane tasks ‘say to them you would like to send it first class and ask them how much it will cost grin ) I would (like most people) be the exact opposite.

So yep, experience. And I guess the more you get out here and get experience in all sorts of situations, the more your confidence grows.

Devilishpyjamas Thu 24-May-18 06:24:39

I'm often batted down on MN for saying this... that difficult or stressful situations are good for children because they learn to deal with them & then not find them so challenging

True - providing they can find an achievement there & it isn’t so overwhelming they fail miserably. Challenge is how their confidence grows, I agree.

Just remembered my mum said my confidence grew a lot when I took myself off to New Zealand alone age 20 and worked/travelled for 3 or 4 months. I loved the freedom of travelling alone. It was incredibly easy to do in New Zealand, but I guess I didn’t know that until
I had done it.

I later worked in Japan for a year - so I guess again lots of challenge, but a sort of protected challenge in that it was on the JET scheme so we were very well looked after.

So yep - new experiences and doing stuff.

PhilODox Thu 24-May-18 06:33:51

My childhood was pretty grim and abusive... but I am a supremely confident person.
I think it.comes from having to rely on myself from a very young age, and being extremely competent at a wide range of things. I'm very confident at work because I am damn good at my job! I have worked and worked to get there.

CommonFishDiseases Thu 24-May-18 06:37:45

I agree with you totally BackForGood!

For me it was church - actually, healing from self esteem issues which I experienced through the church.

For my DC it is church and modelling confidence to them, encouraging them to be bold, be adventurous, talk to grown ups etc.

AgedTawnyPort Thu 24-May-18 06:48:16

Age and knowledge for me.

I was not confident as a younger person at all apart from when playing music or on my horse (both things I excelled at).

I grew in confidence throughout my twenties. Confidence came from the knowledge I gained professionally which was recognised by the people I worked with and for.

So it grew at work and eventually (mid thirties) rubbed off in other parts of my life.

Bodicea Thu 24-May-18 06:55:26

I was a really confidant child. Moved around a lot, never struggled making friends. Then is hit my teenage years as we moved again and found I didn’t quite fit in and didn’t have that grounding of a freind base. My confidence took a severe knocking. I would say I was pretty shy in my teenage years. But have gradually got my Mojo back. I am pretty confident now, or come across that way ( but do often feel like that awkward teenager though I try to hide it). I wish I was a bit more assertive at work but that’s about it.

Oblomov18 Thu 24-May-18 06:57:29

Mine is nature rather than nurture. I was just quietly confident and comfortable in my own skin, right from the off.

My mum says the same of me. I have 2 older brothers. I think this sometimes partly makes a difference - where you are in the siblings.

Ds1 is much more anxious.
Ds2 is just like me. Frightening so.

I don't worry, I'm not anxious, and when I choose to do something, say going travelling for a year pre uni, I just do it: no hassle, no worries, I just do it, in a very headstrong determined way.

Can you teach that? I don't think you can. I'm aware and happy about what I'm good at and accepting and non worrying about I'm not, and I just go with that/play to my strengths.

FrangipaniBlue Thu 24-May-18 06:57:46

I think some people have to work at it and are shy underneath, but some are just born with it naturally as part of their personality.

DH is the former but DS and I fall into the latter.

Don't get me wrong there are moments when I am nervous before doing something, but I don't ever feel like I have to concentrate and put effort into overcoming that iyswim?

bimbobaggins Thu 24-May-18 07:01:30

stinkbomb that’s exactly how I feel

SlinkyB Thu 24-May-18 07:04:22

Oh wow, these replies are brilliant - thank you so much everyone!

Have only had a chance to scan read, as getting ready to leave for the course now (EPEC).

Keep them coming and I'll look forward to reading tonight when the kids are in bed!

LittleCandle Thu 24-May-18 07:13:44

I am probably more confident now in some ways than I have ever been. Part of that is age, but most of my life I have felt like a complete fraud and I still hate confrontation. I have no problem speaking and singing in public and never have had, but every time I have applied for a job, I have felt that I got it under false pretences. This current job is the first one that I have felt I genuinely deserved to get and even then, I have had some confidence wobbles.

On the other hand, I encouraged my DDs to do things like ask where the toilet was when we were out (much to DF's disgust) and to stand up for themselves and they are both incredibly confident and will say anything to anyone. I am very proud of them both and only wish I had a smidgeon of their self-possession.

Zoflorabore Thu 24-May-18 07:20:21

I've always been confident and I think I get it from my dad, were very alike.

He was on lots and lots of quiz shows when I was growing up ( even won Countdown! ) and we have a lot in common and I suppose it rubbed off on me.

Outwardly I am overweight and I know that can cause lots of people to have confidence issues but not me, I don't "over compensate" for being bigger by being witty etc, it just doesn't negatively affect me.

I'm a talker which helps, I can talk to anyone, I also am well read which makes conversation easier at times.

One of my dc is like me, my dd.
My ds has zero confidence but it's a work in progress.

Luckystar1 Thu 24-May-18 07:22:09

Yes I’m very confident. I always have been. Partly encouraged as a child as my parents liked to outwardly display us if that makes sense!!

I’m also good at things (sorry that sounds so boastful....!) and I’m sociable so I think people like me too. I think it’s a sort of self fulfilling thing.

My children both seem to be confident too (although they’re still very young) and I absolutely encourage it.

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