Self-confidence, like self-esteem, is a Goldilocks problem. Too little is bad, but so is too much. You want to have the amount that is just right. It is the same for women and for men.
I explain this in my book Don’t Feed the Narcissists! The Mythology and Science of Mental Health:
The best way to get the just-right amount of self-esteem is to seek out guidance from people whose advice is worth taking. The best way to develop the just-right amount of self-confidence is to have the just-right amount of self-esteem and to know how to manage irrational fear.
The best way to learn how to manage fear is to get good at analyzing risks, and then to practice facing the things that are not as dangerous as you feel that they are.
Our emotions are feelings that help to guide our behavior. Fear is the feeling that you get when you think that your body or your feelings might get hurt. A phobia is an irrational fear. It means that you have a lot of fear about something that poses little or no real danger. As a result, the phobia can shape your behavior in dysfunctional ways. By learning to face scary things, you develop courage, which means the ability to do what you must, even though you feel fear.
I have worked as an editor in medical and academic publishing for 30 years. As a result, I have edited many books and journals about medicine, psychology, psychiatry, and education. I have also sailed to Bermuda and up and down the East Coast of the United States and to the Caribbean in a 35-foot fiberglass boat. So I know something about how to manage fear.
Contributor: Laurie Endicott Thomas, MA, ELS