How to Have Confidence in Your Own Competence

How to Have Confidence in Your Own Competence

We're talking about how to have confidence in your own competence. You as single parents have to do it all, which forces you to do things that are outside of your own competence. You’re expected to do everything and all the time. 

Is there a difference between self-esteem and confidence? How would you define the difference between self-esteem and confidence?

Self-esteem is valuing yourself whether or not you can do something or you can’t. Your value comes from your identity of who you are in Christ as His creation. This never changes. 

Self-Confidence is the belief that I am capable of doing things. For example, you know that if your car breaks down on the side of the road, you are equipped to handle it. But there's a difference between them, one is overarching in self. Self-esteem is about value, not ego. Self-confidence is about the belief in your ability to get things done. 

Competence directly affects confidence. It doesn't necessarily affect self-esteem—that's why this is really important we all have areas that we don't feel competent in. It's not just feeling good about yourself. It's accepting there are some things that you’re not good at. 

How do we deal with feelings of inadequacy? 

Look at what you are feeling inadequate about and reflect on whether it’s something you’re truly not good at or whether you’re listening to a voice that is telling you a lie. Grieve the things you are truly not good at. And then reflect on the voices. Is it an external voice or an internal voice? Is it telling you the truth or a lie?

If it’s a lie, why do you believe it? A lot of times you don’t even realize you started believing certain things about yourself based on something someone said or areas that you didn't excel in. Maybe something your ex told you. Usually, the lies that have some truth in them are the hardest to deal with. 

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:5 that we can take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Pray about the voices and ask God to reveal which ones are true and which ones are lies. Then you’ll learn to stand up against the lie or face the truth. You’ll get to know yourself better and be able to say either “That's not true and here's why it's not true. Or that's true and that's something that I really want to work on.”

Also remember that just because you’re not competent in an area now, it doesn't mean you can’t ever be. Have the grace for yourself and the humility to be able to say it’s all right that I'm not competent. It doesn't make you a horrible person. It doesn't make you any less valuable just because you’re not good at this thing.
How do we set ourselves up to have more confidence in our competence? 

You really need to examine the story you’re telling yourself. Identify what parts are true. Acknowledge the negative and the positive and how it all affected you. For example, if you grew up in a family where your father never told you he loved you that affects you in many ways. Part of your story may be the reason you have negative beliefs about yourself. It’s important to challenge those negative beliefs.

You can also separate the can't from the don't want to. You may not be able to do something. For example, you may not know how to change the oil in your car. You could invest the time necessary to learn this but is that really where you want to spend your time? That’s up to you.

Then there are the things that you don’t want to do because you have limited bandwidth as a single parent. It’s okay to not want to do things. It’s okay to have this feeling. Instead of questioning yourself, question the measuring stick. What are you measuring? Are you measuring what you perceive to be important or what someone else deems important? 

One strategy that’s helpful when deciding what you want to do versus what you need to do is to think of your time in dollars. If you had an hourly rate you could charge yourself like a client, does it really make sense for me to be changing my oil when I can go to Valvoline and pay someone half of what I would pay myself? 

You have skills and gifts and you are good at some things but not everything. If you were married previously you shared the roles and both of you brought something to the table that you were competent in. And when that's separated, you can't tell yourself that you are now expected to be competent in all those areas. That was never the way it was intended to be. You can’t keep the house running exactly like it was with the two-parent household. You’re going to have to figure out how to do what you can with what you have. 

You have to know there are things that you’re competent in addressing and celebrating them. Love yourself for them. Figure out not only what being true to yourself means and understand what you are competent in and what you can bring. 

You're never intended to be competent in everything. And that's okay. Make a list of the things that you're competent in. These are the things you can do in your household. Add the things that you’d like to become competent in and know that you need to learn or you’d like to try. And then add to the list things you have no interest in and decide if those things are necessary. If they are, figure out how to accomplish them—who can you ask for help?

What are some practical things that we can do to build confidence? 

There's so much pressure to be what you need to be, and sometimes you do not know how you're going to have to show up. You have to tell yourself, “I'm going to show up and do the best I can.” There's the phrase, “Fake it till you make it.” Sometimes that's where you have to start because you have no other options. You may be scared to get it done. You may have no idea how you're going to take the next step, but sometimes saying I have no idea what I’m doing or where it's taking me is truly where you have to go when you’re in over your head.

The most important thing you can do is to be authentic. But there are situations you have to step up and do it scared and, and be okay with that. When you start stepping out and taking a chance, doing it scared and most importantly surrendering to God, He makes up the difference. And before long, there are things that you were tentative about that you are now confident about. The more you step up and do it scared the more you learn and then become confident.  

God puts people in your life that are equipped to help you in your areas of weakness. Have the humility to be able to ask questions to figure it out. 

You can't have success without mistakes. Making mistakes is a good thing. Mistakes are what teach you. Most people who seem confident—high-profile people—aren’t. They just know how to step into new things while afraid.  

In Romans 5:3-5 the Bible tells us suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character and hope. It pushes through “fake until you make it.” The verse tells you that God is building the ability in you to know who you are and who He created you to be. Perseverance develops character so that you can then go and help other people. You can do what God's called you to do. And then there's hope at the end. Real competence is built confidence, not something that you just tell yourself.

Your true confidence comes from your identity in God.

Be willing to do things, and take a risk when you feel scared.

Don’t measure yourself by what others are doing.

Be kind to yourself because you will make mistakes.

Mistakes are all bad. You learn from them. 

You don’t have to be competent in everything.

Turn inward instead of outward.

Prioritize what you need to be competent in. Ask for help with things you don’t prioritize.

Listener Question
What should I do about others interfering with how they think I should raise my child?

Consider the source. Is it someone you trust and who has your best interest at heart? Is the advice coming from a place of love? Sometimes you have to focus on the intention rather than the advice.

Be humble and consider whether there is any truth to the advice. If there is no truth, then ignore the advice.

If it's someone you don’t know well or a stranger who walks up to you in the grocery store and tells you something then be gracious and say “thank you for your observation” rather than get defensive. 

Either way, it’s not worth getting defensive. You can choose whether to reflect on the advice or not. Remember it's not your job to analyze why someone is giving you unsolicited advice. Don’t get stuck on, “Why would they ask me that? What gives them the right?” Use it as an opportunity to self-reflect and then move on.  

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