Confidence can be hard to pin down. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. A little reminder in the form of a quote that you’ve memorized or hung on your wall can help.
Not all confidence quotes are created equal, though. Some of them are right on and some of them are bullsh*t. I’m here to sort those out.
The Confidence Quotes that Are Right On
These are the confidence quotes you should think about when you are feeling like maybe you can’t do that thing you want to do. They have the right idea behind them. Let me explain.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
–Vincent Van Gogh
We all have that voice, don’t we? Who is it? It is coming from inside of us, so we can’t really blame anyone else for it.
We can only ignore it, right? It’s not like a person on the street is saying, “HA! You can’t PAINT!”. And we can turn and say, “SHUT UP! I CAN SO!”.
I mean, you could do that, I guess, but it would be a little weird and you’d need a mirror. It’s just awkward.
So, like Vincent says, ignore that little mite that is so negative inside of you and paint anyway. And when it tells you, “Ok, you can paint, but you stink at it”, you can keep practicing and silence that voice forever.
Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
— Golda Meir
There are so many things I love about this quote. I love that it says “Make”. Because every day you wake up and you make your Self.
You get up and you try something new and you make your Self more confident.
Or, you get up and shy away from challenges and you make your Self more timid.
I love that it uses sparks and flames as the images for building confidence. Because that’s how you build confidence. You start small and build.
You fill your well, a drop at a time, sometimes.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
You might not like this one very much. But I have to tell you.
A lot of the times, (not always, not when we’re talking about an abusive situation) when someone puts you down about something and you feel bad about it, it’s usually because you already sort of knew that that was something you weren’t very good at.
If someone said to me, “You are terrible at writing. You’re such a bore”, it wouldn’t bother me in the least.
I’m aware no one says things like this out loud and that it’s going to be strange to read, but, I know I write well. I know I’m not boring. I’m confident in both of those things.
So the jerk who said I’m terrible and that I’m boring, doesn’t bother me in the least.
If, however, someone said, “You should do better at cleaning your house”.
That would cut me a little. Cause I am TERRIBLE at that and I should be trying harder at it. But I hate it.
So, I’ve allowed that person to make me feel bad because I know they are a little right. Ok, a lot right in this situation.
Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours.
— Richard Bach
If you’re reading this sequentially and not just skipping to the quotes you like, then you are going to say, “Wait, you JUST did this in the last paragraph!”.
I did. I just talked about what a crap housekeeper I am in the last paragraph. I argued my own limitation.
I wasn’t trying to prove a point, I am really a crap housekeeper. And see, I keep doing it.
Sometimes people will do even worse than what I did, which was just admitting outloud that I’m bad at something.
Sometimes someone compliments us, “Oh, that’s such a pretty wreath!”
And we say, “Oh, but I put too much hot glue here, and the colors aren’t exactly what I hoped”. We actively convince them that they are wrong, it’s not a pretty wreath, it’s completely messed up.
Instead, of just saying, “Oh, thanks!”
It’s kind of crazy, isn’t it? It’s even a little insulting to the person who paid you a compliment.
Confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities, arrogance is when you think you are better than others and act accordingly.
— Stewart Stafford
After I just said that I know I’m a good writer and that I’m not boring, just a few short paragraphs ago, you might have thought, “What an arrogant a-hole!”.
I’m not arrogant. I said that because I do have confidence in my abilities. It’s something I can do well and I believe with my whole heart that there is nothing wrong with talking about what you are good at.
I do not, however, think I’m special or better than anyone else. I know that each of has some special something inside of us. And I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with sharing that.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie
Do you ever get that frozen feeling? You know have to do something, but you can’t bring yourself to do it?
As a blogger, I get that feeling all the time. I want to try something new, but I’m not quite sure how. So I think about it. A lot. Too much. If I had just tried the thing I would have figured out how it works in less time than I took to think about it.
As a mother, too. I see an opportunity for one of my kids, but I sometimes get stuck in the “But is this the right thing for them?” mode of thinking.
But most of the time, it’s by doing things that we get answers. And that’s where the doubt and fear come from, right?
From not knowing what the answer is? The outcome?
Sometimes you just have to go out and try things.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. – Marie Curie
There are two important things here.
They should be in opposite order, really. We are all gifted with something. But I think a lot of people never realize that. Or figure out what their gift is.
If you try something and give up after your first fail, if you don’t persevere, you never really will know how well that might have gone for you.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
When we’re kids we’re taught not to brag. Not to be a show off.
I’ve never bought into that. Ever. Not then, when I was a kid and not now.
I think the no bragging rule was written by someone who was insecure and didn’t know they had their own light to shine.
If that’s you, go find your light! There’s plenty of room for you!
Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are. – Jo Blackwell-Preston
Jo Blackwell-Preston, I couldn’t agree more. And not because I think that you should surround yourself with people who tell you how awesome you are all the time.
I think that you need to be surrounded by people that you KNOW think you’re awesome so that when they do kindly give you negative feedback, you know unequivocally that it is coming from a place of love.
…and the Confidence Quotes that are Bullsh*t
“Confidence is everything. Confidence is what makes that simple white tee and jeans look good.” – Ciara
There’s this thing about confidence being sexy or somehow making you more attractive.
I don’t get it. Sorry, Ciara.
You don’t let off a scent when you have confidence. I think the point is more that you recognize that other people are noticing you and because you’re confident, you understand that it is in fact because you look good.
If you lack confidence, I think two things happen.
- You don’t even notice other people noticing you.
- You do notice and assume you have something stuck in your teeth.
“Confidence is a very fragile thing.” – Joe Montana
No, Joe! Exactly the opposite in fact.
It’s resilient! So resilient because it has been built on trying and failing and finally succeeding.
If you fail and it breaks you and you give up, you didn’t have confidence in the first place.
Try, fail, try again, now you’re filling your confidence well.
“Sometimes, if you fake confidence long enough, you’re going to be confident.” – Elle King
Elle, you’re sort of right. Except why call it faking? I think it’s more like practicing.
Like, in Taxi Driver, Deniro saying to himself in the mirror “You talkin to me?”
He’s warming up. Getting ready for the big moment.
“Confidence isn’t optimism or pessimism, and it’s not a character attribute. It’s the expectation of a positive outcome.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
I appreciate the sentiment here, but I don’t think you necessarily have to have the expectation of a positive outcome.
I think that a confident person understands that there is the possibility of a negative outcome, but they are going to try anyway.
Because they know that most failures are just the start of a journey to success.
How do they know this? Because they’ve done it before. They’ve tried, failed and tried again.
But What Does it All Mean?
Confidence is built one small bit at a time. The more you do, the more you try, the more you come back after a failure, the deeper that well of confidence will be for you.
And you should practice at it. You don’t have to go big. Start just outside your comfort zone.
I make things to practice building my confidence.
If making things sounds like a fun way to build confidence, you should try it!
If this meant something to you, I would love it if you shared it.