Radhanath Swami on ‘How to Achieve Self-Confidence?’
“Actually, to fail is not much of a loss; to lose one’s character and integrity is a major loss to our inner life.” – Radhanath Swami
Self-confidence is a very essential ingredient for success in any field of life. Without such confidence we are afraid to take risks; we also don’t have the courage to explore higher horizons while performing our deeds within this world.
Real self-confidence is not based on our achievements or our successes in this world, but it is based on the realization of who we are, what our purpose is and what we represent to ourselves, to our families and to the world around us.
If a person has such self-confidence, then he can generate confidence and faith in others. Actually, to fail is not much of a loss; to lose one’s character and integrity is a major loss to our inner life.
“A person with proper disposition and attitude is willing to accept even major failures in the eyes of the world in order to preserve the high values that he or she believes in.” – Radhanath Swami
If we’re willing to sell our ideals, our ethics, our character, our integrity, and our very soul for the adoration of this world, then our so-called self-confidence will be built on a foundation of sand. It has no real substance and it can bring us no real fulfillment.
Six Common Indicators of Low Self-esteem
“Low self-esteem really means a lack of real contentment within one’s inner life.” – Radhanath Swami
1. People with low self-esteem like to gossip. Why? Because that’s what gives them pleasure. They do not have any substance inside. On the other hand, people who are actually self-confident speak of their ideals in life and not of the faults of others.
2. A person with low self-esteem is quick to criticize others, whereas a person with some inner fulfillment is respectful to others and is naturally longing to show respect to others, to be caring toward others.
3. A person with low self-esteem is arrogant. He thinks, “I’ve done this, I’ve conquered these nations, I’ve made these millions, and I’ve won these tournaments and so on.” Such people are very eager to try to convince other people of how great they are, how successful they are, and what they have accomplished within this world. But a person with actual self-confidence is humble. Why?
Because he simply doesn’t need to impress people with cheap words of conceit. If you are actually very weak within, you have to brag about whatever great or little things you have done to try to get the approval, the recognition, and the adoration of others. But if you have inner contentment, if you have confidence in yourselves, you don’t need that.
Once a sage in the Himalayas told me that when you do something good and you tell somebody about what you did, by that telling you exhaust most of the credits of what you have done.
4. In the world today we want to take credit for what we have not done and we want to give blame to others for what we have done. This is another quality of a person with low self-esteem. He makes excuses, and blames others for their apparent shortcomings, whereas a person with self-confidence doesn’t make excuses, doesn’t blame others, and takes responsibility for what he has done or what he has not done, and always strives to improve.
5. Persons with low self-esteem are dependent on the appreciation, praise and approval of others, whereas persons with self-confidence are willing to speak what is true and do what is right even if it is very unpopular. Especially for the youth in the world today association is such a powerful influence. Most people smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or do all illicit things, not simply because they really want to do it, but because they want to look cool and be accepted by the people around them.
But integrity means we understand what is right and we do it—even if people criticize us, even if people make jokes or laugh at us. Eventually, those same people will come to us when they are in trouble because they understand that here is a person with integrity.
6. Those with low self-esteem are easily jealous about other people’s successes. What is jealousy? That means we are so hollow, so empty within, there is so much lack of satisfaction about our worth, our value, and who we are, that we actually have to feel a type of hatred and jealousy towards others who appear to be better.
“A person with real self-confidence is the well-wisher of everyone.
He is not so concerned with his reputation, but is concerned with his character.” – Radhanath Swami
He is not so concerned with what he can get and what he can prove to others by his fashion, by his way of speech, by his way of talk and by the type of furniture he has in his home. He is more concerned with what he is giving to others. Actual self-confidence doesn’t mean we become absorbed in our egoistic self. The art of real self-confidence is to become selfless, because in becoming selfless there is inner fulfillment.
So it is very important to understand that real self-confidence is not simply about what we have achieved and what we have conquered, because that kind of self-confidence doesn’t bring any real inner accomplishment: whatever we do, we always have to have more, more and more. Real self- confidence is when we’re actually finding fulfillment and satisfaction with who we are and what we represent within this world. Some fools may think that, this type of self-confidence, this type of inner peace, is an impediment to making great strides of achievements in this world. However, the opposite is true. The purer our motives, the greater courage and faith we will have to accomplish things way beyond the horizon of even our imagination. When we have such inner self-confidence, anything we pursue is actually easy. It may be difficult mentally, and it may be difficult physically, but when we have the will, the confidence and the faith, that makes anything easy.
– Radhanath Swami