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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem--page 18
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.

Step 18. Act with Confidence.


Many people view confidence from the wrong direction. They believe “When I have self-esteem, I will act with confidence.” Yet, confidence is a behavior more than a feeling. And behaviors can be produced even when you don't experience the emotion. For instance, have you ever been in an argument with someone, you're feeling intense anger, you receive a phone call, and with a smile and brightness in your voice, you answer, “Hi! It's great to hear from you!” This is a common example of how we can compartmentalize emotions and almost instantaneously switch our behaviors—in this instance, tone of voice, facial expression, word choice. In fact, I would bet that if you pay attention in such an instance, you would even notice a relaxation of the angry tension you were experiencing.

The axiom often used by recovering alcoholics in AA, “Fake it til you make it,” is based on a concept proposed by psychologist George Kelly in the 1950s (The Psychology of Personal Constructs) and incorporated into “fixed-role therapy.” Kelly believed that we act based upon the roles that we have constructed for ourselves from past experiences. However, we can construct new roles and concepts of ourselves and base our behaviors upon those new roles. For instance, he described a man acting based upon a written description of the person he would like to be. By doing so, his belief about his ability became “I CAN change” because “I HAVE changed.” By acting differently, he was able to prove that he has the ability to be different. Therefore, this therapy circumvents one of the common core beliefs that prevents change: “But that's the way I am!”

This concept of “act with confidence” builds on the other skills you have been developing by following these steps to better self-esteem. It combines the non-verbals such as holding your head up and making eye contact with the internal self-talk of seeing yourself as successful and mentally rehearsing achieving your goals. By expecting success you can act with more confidence. When you act with confidence, whether or not you truly feel confident, people will respond accordingly. They only see what you show them, not what is inside. So if they see confidence, that is how they will respond to you. And when you experience others treating you as a confident person, you are likely to develop more confidence. You may notice that this creates a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now, I have had some clients, especially perfectionists, who are already acting with confidence but still have low self-esteem. How can this be if acting with confidence should help improve self-esteem? It is due to an irrational belief they hold that negates their capability even when they are successful and others treat them accordingly. They often view themselves as a “fake” and if others only truly knew them they wouldn't be so impressed. What makes this belief irrational is the same thing that makes “act with confidence” effective: it is impossible to fake success! You can fake failure by not trying or giving up, but you can't fake success. If you succeed at something it means you are capable. Period. You can't fake that! In this case, the individual also needs to change the irrational belief about success so as to experience the boost to self-esteem.

Therefore, acting with confidence is more likely to lead to feeling confident and being successful. One final caveat: do not mistake acting with confidence to mean the same as being arrogant. Some people use these assertive methods to bully others so they can get their way. However, a truly confident person is not arrogant but shows respect and consideration for others. By doing so, you also improve your relationships with others.

At this point your goal is to practice acting with confidence. As you do so, you will become more skilled. The final step in these “20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem” will draw together everything you have learned from following these steps. So, keep in mind, practice takes time. Just because initially you might not be effective in your attempts to act with confidence, keep trying! By using all the skills you have learned and practiced up to this point, you will be able to appear more confident as you continue to try.


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