The Surprising Truth About How To Actually Gain Confidence

Emily Steele
2 min readFeb 3, 2020
Photo by Court Cook on Unsplash

I write a weekly blog here that’s primarily about women’s health (particularly how our health pertains to our self-confidence and how our self-confidence pertains to our health.)

There, and on my instagram, I talk a lot about why I believe it’s so dang important that we like ourselves (not just love, but like) and why having confidence in one’s self matters deeply.

People (not just women) tend to think confidence comes from being good at something.

  • You’re a good soccer player -> which leads to confidence in your soccer abilities.
  • You’re great at debating -> so you feel confident in your debate skills.

And we also tend to believe the reverse of that is true as well: a lack of confidence comes from being bad at something.

  • You try salsa dancing & can’t quite get it -> so you don’t feel confident in this skill.
  • You know you’re no good at cooking -> so you feel unconfident in the kitchen.

Turns out, neither of this is inherently true — and if they happen to prove true in your own life, it’s probably a coincidence or a conclusion you drew by skipping a few steps from there to here.

The truth is: confidence does not come from doing things you’re good at.

And we don’t become less confident by doing things we’re not good at.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Confidence comes from that personal, courageous, bracing-for-impact journey you take when you dare to bridge the gap between
what you know & what you do not yet know;
what feels comfortable and predictable & what feels new and uncertain;
what you can see clearly
& what you cannot yet envision.

You don’t gain confidence by doing what you already know how to do.

And you don’t lose it by doing what you don’t yet know how to do.

You actually gain it in the gap — when you awkwardly (but successfully) tread water right in the middle of knowing & not knowing.

Succeeding in surmounting the uncomfortable & unknown is precisely where we gain confidence.

Emily Steele

lifter of heavy things: thoughts, words, weights, burdensome beliefs