The Wisdom Of Insecurity: What You Learn By Gaining Confidence

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated July 28, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

It's Possible To Gain Confidence And Live A Full Life


Confidence is that elusive quality that everyone wants to have, but that very few people can define. We know it when we see it in others, but often struggle to identify it in ourselves. The world makes it difficult to stay confident, however. Body image, societal definitions of success, and anxiety are all factors that can cause confidence to decline.

More specifically, anxiety about things that we cannot control is often a major source of worsening self-esteem. Despite the difficulty of bypassing this problem, various scholars have explored possible solutions.

In his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, Alan Watts discusses the ways that our focus on the future can be damaging to our confidence and well-being. He suggests that staying more present at the moment can improve our self-confidence and reduce anxiety.

At first, it can seem difficult to stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. Anxiety can overwhelm you, and the pressures of society can feel unavoidable. Self-confidence can seem far away if you do not see yourself as worthy of it.

However, it is even more difficult to remove the source of your worries - a fear of failure, anxiety about the future - if you have not gained self-confidence.

You can learn so much by letting go of anxiety and gaining confidence. There are numerous benefits to gaining confidence that extend from your professional life into your personal life. Once you have the self-assurance you need, productivity and recognition await you. If you want to understand why confidence is so necessary for a fulfilling life, read on.

Confidence Makes it Easier to Relax

We have all had moments where we have laid down in our beds for the night, shut our eyes, and been hit with uncontrollable anxiety. Our minds start racing, and thoughts start to surface about the coming day.

Tomorrow…What do I have to do tomorrow? What if I can't do it? What if I forgot something? What if…?

These thoughts can keep us up at night, cause panic attacks, or take us out of the present moment.


Luckily, confidence works wonders against this toxic pattern of thought. In The Wisdom of Insecurity, Watts states that anxiety about the future keeps us from staying present in the moment. He writes about one way to effectively reduce this type of anxiety, encouraging mindfulness as an antidote. By focusing on what is happening now, we can gain confidence and relax more easily.

Confidence gives us the peace we need to stay present. Rather than speeding mentally into the future, you can focus on remaining mindful of this moment.

If you have confidence in your ability to handle whatever tomorrow may bring, you can focus more on relaxing. This decrease in anxiety will lead you to become more effective in your life, which will then lead to more self-confidence.

Gaining confidence also means that you can react better under stress, which contributes to overall relaxation. Before gaining confidence, a difficult situation might send you into a spiral of fear and anxiety. However, increased self-confidence can help reduce the stress of these situations. This leaves you better able to handle the problems in your life.

Success Comes Quicker

Although confidence can help you relax, it can also help you take control of your life. A decrease in self-confidence is often associated with a lack of success. Unfortunately, a lack of success can also cause a decrease in self-confidence. These two factors can feed on each other and cause a cycle of negativity that can be hard to escape from.

Feeling disappointed in yourself after a rejection is normal. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or your job application was rejected. It's natural to feel disappointed or to assume that this disappointment will last forever.

However, it is necessary to understand that building up your confidence, rather than tearing it down, is the only way out of these situations.

It's Possible To Gain Confidence And Live A Full Life


When you seek out new opportunities, an increase in self-confidence allows you to focus on presenting your strengths. You are more likely to continue to look for new opportunities when you have confidence, which increases your likelihood of success.

Furthermore, you often do a better job at putting yourself out there when you believe in your abilities. When you believe in yourself, others are more likely to start believing in you.

Once you start projecting that confidence, others take notice. Whether it's a potential employer or a current boss, people start to see you as the capable person you are. This means that you have more opportunities to succeed, advance, or otherwise prove yourself.

Although a lack of success can decrease your confidence, an increase in confidence can lead to further confidence. This cycle begins when you start succeeding. Once you succeed, you gain more confidence. As you gain more confidence, you receive more opportunities to succeed. All it takes is that initial boost of confidence.

This cycle can benefit you outside of the workplace as well. Regardless of whether it's a personal or professional goal, any journey toward success requires confidence.

Relationships Get Better

Once your worries begin to melt away and you start succeeding professionally, your personal life will naturally start to improve.

If you are looking to meet new friends or a potential partner, gaining confidence is a surefire way to draw people to you. Because of their calm, self-assured attitude, confident people are more likely to attract confident people. Confidence gives you the energy to attract people to you, as well as the self-assurance to approach others.

Furthermore, once you have made contact with someone else, the other benefits of your increased confidence continue to help you. Things like your increased success or calm manner make others more likely stick around.

Your existing relationships can also benefit from an increase in self-confidence. Anxiety, insecurity, and a lack of ambition can drive people apart.

When someone loves you, whether that is a partner, a parent, sibling, or friend, it can be hard for that person to see you think negatively about yourself. An increase in self-confidence, then, can make your relationships run more smoothly.


Your Health Improves

Gaining self-confidence has many social benefits, but its benefits extend beyond the interpersonal. Because physical and mental factors can often influence each other, a lack of confidence can affect both your physical and mental health.

As far as mental health is concerned, people with little confidence often struggle with anxiety, panic disorders, and depression. Social anxiety, in particular, is very common, as are eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. When you feel like you are incapable of handling a situation, it can lead to feelings of panic and hopelessness that can spiral into disorders.

A lack of confidence can be detrimental to your mental health, so gaining confidence is crucial. Confidence helps people take control of their lives. People often cite a boost in confidence as the source of improved self-image, confidence, and relaxation.

Stress and a lack of self-confidence are not just hard on the brain. When it comes to stress, the cartoon rendering of it - complete with a bright red face and smoke coming out of the ears - is not far from the truth. Your body suffers from the strain of low self-confidence.

Because a lack of confidence often leads to stress, high blood pressure, overeating, and alcoholism are typical side effects. Gaining confidence can help you realize that you do not need unpleasant coping mechanisms, which can improve your health. Additionally, because stress can cause high blood pressure, the stress-reducing effects of sense of confidence can improve physical health.

How Can You Gain Confidence

Living a full life when a lack of confidence plagues you is impossible according to The Insecurity of Wisdom. Confidence has numerous physical and mental benefits that can improve your life greatly. However, staying present, stopping anxiety, and maintaining a positive self-image can still be very difficult. Often, people find that to gain confidence and improve their lives; they need professional help.

However, mental health care can be difficult to navigate. Without that needed confidence, it can seem impossible to seek out the help you need. If mental health care seems out of reach, there is still a way to seek professional help for your problems.


BetterHelp can set you up with affordable, convenient counseling that can give you the care you need. With over 1,500,000 registered users and 2,500 licensed counselors, BetterHelp is a service you can trust. With a variety of flexible, digital counseling options, BetterHelp is discrete and available on your time, which means that there is no reason to put off getting the help you need. Users of BetterHelp can communicate with their counselors by exchanging messages, instant messaging, talking on the phone, or through video conferencing.

BetterHelp can place you with a counselor that will be right for you and your needs. If you are tired of struggling, head over to BetterHelp today.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.