confidenceConfidence is a person’s belief that a chosen course of action is the right choice and that he or she can properly perform the action. Confidence as a personality trait is sometimes referred to as self-confidence. Self-confident people feel comfortable in their ability to perform well in a variety of life tasks, and experience less anxiety and self-doubt than people with low self-confidence.

What is Confidence?

Confidence can occur as a one-time feeling. For example, a woman about to give a speech might feel confident that her speech will go well. But confidence can also be a generalized personality trait that people bring to most areas of life. People with high self-confidence will feel comfortable that other people like them, that they can perform well at work, and that they can meet the daily demands of life. High self-confidence is correlated with high self-esteem, and people with strong self-confidence are generally happier than people with lower self-confidence.

Confidence in others is a belief that others will perform their jobs well, live up to expectations or keep their promises. While confidence in others can be affected by a person’s experience with another person, generalized confidence in others can also be affected by self-confidence. Someone with low self-confidence might be more likely to believe that other people will let him or her down.

Improving Confidence

A variety of factors affect a person’s overall feelings of confidence about his or her life. Children of confident parents are more likely to grow up to be confident adults, perhaps because their parents modeled this trait to them. Previous experiences of success can also improve confidence, but not all successful people feel confident.

Low self-confidence can influence the way other people perceive you and can alter your behavior. People experiencing chronic low confidence may benefit from psychotherapy to address issues that contribute to low confidence. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful, because it helps people to address negative, self-defeating thoughts and to reshape these thoughts into positive thoughts that can build confidence. Depression and anxiety can contribute to low confidence, and medication in conjunction with therapy often helps improve those mental health conditions.


  1. Self-confidence. (n.d.). University of Illinois Counseling Center. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 10-14-2016

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