"Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling "I am of no value" is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought- so what are you lacking? If you have will-power, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master." His Holiness the Dalai Lama

What is true self-confidence based on?

Generally, when we pause to analyze the basis of our self-confidence, we realize that it is primarily oriented toward our sense of external achievement and recognition or reinforcement of the environment through the adulation we receive for those achievements. Summed up in a materialistic system, our list of past and future achievements are outlined by our collective definition of success.

This external orientation produces that the sense of trust is fluctuating because it is subject to the inescapable swing of worldly reality in which we will inevitably see ourselves again and again in the reflection of the dissatisfaction of our desires, disappointment and loss. The result of this superficial disposition is the suffering caused by the constant anxiety to reach those external objectives and to obtain compliments and applause to sustain that sense of security erected.

When self-confidence lies under the dominion of worldly concerns, it is unstable as we are seeking firmness in the quicksand of samsara, which by definition is an untrustworthy place.

Gain and loss,
pleasure and pain,
fame and dishonor,
praise and criticism
They waver, they hang, they rise and fall, they sway in the endless misery of living attached to seeking lasting happiness in an unstable world, changing, cyclothymic and dyed by the afflictions of the beings that inhabit it.

So much  bodily worship, material goods, and external achievements that when a person does not conform to the conventional standards of beauty, intelligence or talent, when she does not respond to family and social mandates, when she becomes ill, grows old, becomes bankrupt or is faced with a "failure" (dissatisfaction of a desire) or loss in her career or personal life, she is dismissed as useless and comes face to face with the contempt and dishonor of others and the worst one of all: hers towards herself!

On the other hand, when self-confidence is rooted in our own sense of integrity, in our awareness, in our capacity to create virtue, to do good, in our capacity to transform our mind, to transcend our afflictions, then that trust is stable and is not influenced by praise or criticism.

Instead of finding their cause in the flattery of others, true trust in us comes from the intimacy of one with oneself in which we are confident of our own virtue, our ability to serve others with our good qualities, of overcoming adversity and growing from it, our capacity to transform ourselves in a positive way, to mature spiritually, to flourish.

In the words of the great Indian pandit Shantideva:

Self-confidence should be applied to wholesome actions,
The overcoming of disturbing conceptions and my ability to do this.
Thinking "I myself alone shall do it"
Is the self-confidence of action.

True self-confidence therefore comes from integrity, from the sense of dignity originated by feeling that one is living one's life aligned with his principles, that we are abstaining in the best way we can from damaging others and trying to be of benefit to others according to our abilities in each stage of the path.

When we trust in ourselves we know that we are not worth the money or material goods that we can accumulate, we are not worth the amount of "Likes" that we acquire in social media, our value is not measured by the reciprocity we get in relationships with others; neither by the qualifications or the titles that are assigned to us and we obtain in the academic world.

Each of the living beings is worth because we all hold the Buddha nature in us and we can honor that value as we know ourselves as possessors of an infinite capacity to display wisdom and compassion.

In the privileged singularity of our species, human beings have an added value because in this ephemeral experience as men we have the possibility of using our intelligence to actualize the potential of our mind to an unimaginable extent for our present conception (this is the one of Absolute Awakening or enlightenment).

Why have they not taught us about that potential of our consciousness as we grew up?
When a system is built on superficial values and turned towards exiting and material progress, the disdain of education in internal values is almost enormous. Therefore, the confidence of children becoming youth and adults is inevitably impoverished and in extreme cases, it is non-existent.

On the contrary, when the quest for conquest is turned inward, the measure of confidence that can be deployed is immeasurable.

How to develop a genuine confidence in oneself?

"With the realization of our own potential and self-confidence in our capacity, one can build a better world. According to my own experience, self-confidence is very important. This kind of trust is not blind, it is an awareness of one's potential, on the basis of which human beings can be transformed by increasing good qualities and reducing negative qualities." His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Self-confidence can increase with the progress in our process of self-knowledge. The more our boldness grows in the adventure of looking inward and holding ourselves worthwhile for what inhabits us, the more we come to know our character, our strengths and weaknesses, and the more we take responsibility for it with a greater sense of reality, the more we transcend the tendency to be slaves of our mind and the more control we have over it, learning to direct it fruitfully for our well-being and that of everyone else.

In addition, the more we embark with enthusiasm and courage on virtuous journeys (in the use of our body, speech and mind to do good), the more our confidence in what we can become increases, because by aligning ourselves with those benign values and by seeing how rewarding they can be, we have been encouraged to savor a pinch of our potential.
Don't we feel good about ourselves when we try to bring happiness or relieve the suffering of another in some way?

Self-confidence is the root of all good qualities

Knowing that our mind can be molded in any form by the habits we cultivate in it, it is not only a possibility but a fact, that we can develop whatever mental quality we desire through sustained and continuous practice. With this consistent conviction based in reason, no matter how many obstacles we encounter on the way, that confidence in our capacity to awaken - the same of every creature - is the fertile ground from which all the constructive and beneficial qualities that will make of our mind a joyous garden will ripen, where we can live and from which others can also be nourished and enjoy.

Low self-esteem and pride: two extreme manifestations of the egocentric mind

Both the victimization of low self-esteem and pride are extreme manifestations of the egocentric narrow mind placing itself as Most Important, standing in the center of all.
The lack of confidence is retracted in itself coiled in illogical theories of inferiority,
pride on its side presumes expansion and outreach when in reality it is cut off by the aggressive impulse that moves it: the arrogance of superiority.

Devaluation of oneself is a mental state as afflictive as superiority. With the former we exercise an exaggeration of our limitations and impossibilities of achievement, with the other an unreal exaggeration of our good qualities and possibilities of triumph.

Trust in ourselves is directly connected with our humility, because by being humble we know that we are not so important, at the same time that we have irrevocable certainty about our value. If you trust yourself, you do not need to compare yourself with others and feel inferior or superior about your abilities, which is the disturbing way to proceed of pride.

Self-confidence abandons pride completely, because we do not need to prove our worth in front of others: we hold that certainty in intimacy with ourselves.

Conscious self-care and confidence

Self-confidence must be applied to the ability to overcome self-importance. That is, the tendency of the mind to always be placed in the navel of the world, making of every phenomenon a self-referential event and putting its relevance and benefit beofre than that of the other.
In contrast to the stereotype of extreme austerity and neglect of self-care, the person who has managed to develop a true and sustained self-confidence has learned very well how to take care of herself, because being aware of her worth, she knows that the more she attends to her body and mental health and hygiene, the greater her usefulness as an instrument to bring benefit to the incalculable amount of beings with which she exists inextricably linked.

Tips to boost self-confidence:
You in your intimacy with yourself, when the sun rises and sets

"Trust in yourself derives from your practice." Choegyal Rinpoche

When you get up in the morning

Following the advice of my teacher Choegyal Rinpoche, I can suggest to you the following:
At dawn, raise your eyes to the sun and think "May all beings be happy". Let this great desire reverberate in your mind and thus you will begin the day with an expansive, open, unprejudiced and altruistic spirit.
Then, adhere to the existentially shaking question:
"How can I, today, and every day of this precious life, collaborate with that end, and be of benefit to all beings?"

You could even expand your daring by decreeing:
"Today I commit myself to using my abilities, talents, internal qualities, my vitality in its totality to be of benefit to every being I encounter on the path. And if I can not benefit them, at least I promise not to harm anyone."


Ask yourself:

  • How victorious have I been today in my work of diminishing my disturbing emotions?
  • How victorious in increasing my positive qualities?
  • How much time have I spent in activities of body, speech and mind that contribute to my peace of mind and the peace of mind of those around me?
  • What has been the extension of my mind in my activities today, how many beings have I embraced in my intention to bring happiness?: Who has been at the center of my motivations: me or everyone?

  • Each night do a check of your positive actions of body, speech and mind and generate joy for them. To expand your mind, you can dedicate the merits you have accumulated for the well-being and happiness of all beings.
  • You can also do a check of what the non-virtuous actions you have been involved in, generate regret and commit to amend your mistakes and formulate a resolution not to repeat them.
  • At the end of the day, look back in retrospect at what your prevailing mental states were during the day. For every moment of love, mindfulness, compassion, patience, gratitude, wisdom, generate a deep sense of joy and achievement. For every instance in which you have been victorious in applying an antidote to an afflictive emotion (for example, if anger has arisen in your mind and you have been able to oppose it with patience or love, without reacting impulsively to it), also rejoice. Each of your conscious efforts is a drop appeasing the afflictive bonfire of the world.
  • Generate a vast mind whose vision encompasses all sentient beings and extends in the long run.
  • Commit to more activities, interpersonal relationships and lines of thought that will help you increase your sense of inner integrity: practice more generosity, be kind with your words, acknowledge and rejoice in the achievements of others, preserve the lives of the most defenseless, give food to the hungry, offer your comfort to those who are suffering, devote time to know your mind in depth, take responsibility for your emotions, make an intelligent use of the valuable and precarious time you have as a human being dedicating your hours to the constructive, the beneficial, the conducive to the welfare of all.

Every moment is a breath of freedom to cultivate virtue. It does not matter if the whole universe is on fire: no external circumstance can alter the virtuous state of our mind if we determine so. The abode of the mind is the only one that can not be assaulted by agents alien to it.

Step by step, the more you work with your mind, the more committed your lifestyle becomes aligned with your principles, the more you discover about your infinite potential to create happiness for yourself and others, the more your sense of inner purpose in life increases, the greater will be the vastness of your mind and the scope of your possibilities... and confidence in yourself will be unshakable!




[I] Saṃsāra (in Sanskrit: संसार) is the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth in Buddhism.
The sentient beings who circulate involuntarily and uninterruptedly in samsara do so under the domain of karma and afflictions.