Many people believe a number of myths about self-confidence. They’ve heard these myths from relatives or friends, or perhaps they’ve read them in books or in articles.

These myths can be very damaging because they keep people from developing their self-confidence. They make people feel they can’t move forward, they can’t grow, and they can’t become who they dream to be.

Let’s review these myths and why they’re patently untrue.

Myth 1: Self-Confidence is Determined at Birth

One of the foremost myths about self-confidence is that people are either born with it or not, that it can’t be acquired. People with high self-confidence don’t have to develop it, and it comes naturally to them. There’s nothing a person can do to cultivate self-confidence, so they’re forever going to have to live with the low self-confidence they were born with.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Self-confidence is a skill, and it can be increased with knowledge and practice. All you need is the right guidance and a belief in yourself that you can do it.

Myth 2: Only Select People Have Low Self-Confidence

A second myth is that only very poor people, homeless people, or criminals suffer from low self-confidence. This myth stresses that low self-confidence comes from negative surroundings and that only certain people naturally cannot have high self-confidence.

The truth is that most people have low self-confidence and self-esteem, at least about certain areas of their lives. There are stories that abound about wealthy people and movie stars who get divorce after divorce, are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or who try to end their lives because they’re so unhappy. Low self-confidence can occur in anyone, regardless of their gender, race, or class.

Myth 3: Self-Confidence Comes Mainly from Praise

The myth that self-confidence is directly proportional to the recognition and praise a person receives in their life can be very harmful to believe. That means that if you don’t get recognition and praise often, you’re unimportant and can’t achieve anything.

Of course, you feel good if others appreciate you and what you do, but you can’t simply depend on getting compliments from others to feel confident. It’s important that you realize that you have to be who you are, no matter how much others commend you. Feeling worthwhile and capable comes from within, not from others.

Take a look at toddlers. They don’t learn to crawl and walk just because their parents encourage them or give them praise. They master these skills because of an inner urging and inner confidence that they can do it.

Watch a child when she’s just teaching herself to walk. First she stands up, then sits down. She does this many times. Then she stands up while holding on to a short table. She’ll walk around the table with her hands firmly holding her.

Finally, she’ll walk a few steps by herself before going down on her hands and feet again. She’ll do this over and over, day after day, until finally she can walk on her own with no help. She doesn’t have to have praise and encouragement to master walking. She does it on her own and gains the confidence, eventually, to run.

Myth 4: It’s Difficult to Gain Self-Confidence

Another myth that keeps people from developing themselves is that building strong self-confidence is a painful process that can take years. The myth states that it’s too challenging to make the necessary changes, that it’s too demanding for most people to go through.

This isn’t true at all. It can happen fairly quickly once you have the tools to do so. You can identify the events in your life that made you feel intimidated or worthless and learn to reinterpret them so that they don’t hamper your feelings about yourself now. You can become skilled at speaking in a positive way about yourself both inside yourself and to others. You can begin to see yourself in a new constructive way that nurtures yourself instead of beating yourself up.

These skills are not difficult to learn. You need to delve into them deeply and practice them often. Over time, they will become more natural and feel normal as you use them every day.

Don’t let these myths stop you! Now that you know they’re not true, you can discard them and never think about them again.

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers kits with articles, guided visualizations, and songs as well as online courses, group coaching and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. To identify where you are now on the confidence scale and understand why you need to grow to be on a much higher level, download her free kit How Self-Confidence Improves Your Life.