The Significance of Confidence and Self Confidence

I consider myself an individual possessing both confidence and self confidence.  I believe it has to do with my childhood and young adult years.  We were taught if you wanted to make something happen in your life, you made it happen.

What’s the difference between confidence and self confidence? A lot, actually… more than you may think. I myself was surprised when I did some research on the two words.

A person can have confidence about anything. Confidence can be a feeling or belief you can do something well or succeed at something.

Confidence is also a feeling or belief someone or something is good  or has the ability to succeed at something. Lastly, confidence can be a feeling of being certain something will happen or that something is true.

You may have confidence about a business project you are working on…believing you can make it successful, and having the confidence to work on it until it is so.

Your confidence in your doctor allows you to feel certain the  diagnosis and plan of treatment recommended for a health issue is the right way to go.

Your confidence in your doctor allows you to rest easy because you believe everything will be okay… your doctor is telling you it will be!

Confidence in your healthcare team is extremely important. I have been through many serious health senarios, including operations requiring  a pit crew!:)

If we are putting our lives in other people’s hands, we must feel confidence in them that is off the confidence scale! How could we not?

Moving on to self confidence. The difference between confidence and self confidence? Simple… and any narcissists out there will love this. Self confidence is all about you. 

Self confidence is the confidence you feel within yourself.  Self confidence empowers you to strongly believe in your personal power and abilities.  Individuals with strong self confidence feel as if they can take on whatever the Universe sends them.

I can honestly say I possessed a strong sense of confidence and self confidence.  I believed in my heart that with good intentions, hard work, tenacity and perseverance, anything could be accomplished.

That belief took a hit the winter of 1994. I was in a car accident, broke my neck, injured my spinal cord and was left paralyzed from the shoulders down. Permanently.

Having the rug of existence yanked out from under you snuffs the life out of your confidence and self confidence. And if it’s not killed,  it’s in purgatory.

I wish I could give you solid descriptions of how I initially felt about my confidence and self confidence, but I can’t.  My mind has very fuzzy memories of my initial hospital stay.

Today,  twenty years after that fateful night, I can say with confidence my confidence and self confidence are solid. Strong. I believe in the ability of others and myself. My personal power made it out of purgatory.

How? Well, I can tell you one memory from the very beginning of my injury, and it started me off on the right path to gaining my confidence and self confidence back.

It was the first conversation I had with the neurosurgeon and orthopedic surgeon who literally put my head back on straight. This is also the first time I remember being fully awake.

I told them they needed to be honest with me, so I could trust them. What exactly was I dealing with, living with a spinal cord injury?

They assured me they would be honest and leave nothing out. They had put my neck back together. My spinal cord, however, was not fixable. At the time, conventional medicine did not have a cure for SCI.

This initial conversation started me on the correct path at the beginning of this new journey. They said the longer they practiced medicine, the more people surprised them.

My  doctors recommended positive affirmations, visualizing my body healthy through meditation and the power of positive thinking.

They said anything I felt I needed to do to heal and be happy, I should do it, regardless if it had nothing to do with my injury.  Whatever I needed to experience to feel more like myself, do it…. Big or small.

I realized many years later, that conversation with these two true humanitarians was the key to me discovering, feeling,  owning both my confidence and self confidence again.

 I want to be honest with you… remember, I’ve been injured twenty years and have had time to experience things that led to building my confidence… particularly, my self confidence.

I spent three months in an acute care hospital, before being transferred to a rehabilitation center. In all the time in acute care, I had never looked in a mirror. It wasn’t on purpose… it just didn’t occur to me.

In the rehabilitation center, they had mirrors everywhere. When I saw myself for the first time, I came unglued. I didn’t recognize myself.

It wasn’t my body that bothered me… I was a little thinner but basically the same. It was my face.

You are given massive steroids when you sustain a  spinal cord injury. It helps diminish the swelling of the cord. It also gives you  horrific acne. It covered my face, neck, back and chest. And I had no idea this had happened.

Considering my injury, acne wasn’t the first thing on anyone’s mind. But nothing had ever made me feel less like myself than the way this severe acne did. If I had built up bit of confidence and self confidence at this point, it vanished instantly.

I refused to get out of bed. I didn’t care about physical therapy. The psychologists all said I was in some stupid stage of grief and it would pass.

I was scared to tell anyone what was bothering me because I didn’t want to seem ridiculous. “You’re paralyzed and you’re worried about acne?”

After a few days of not getting out of bed and feeling my self confidence become nonexistent, my dad asked me if anything was wrong.  I was doing so well, working so hard,  he said. What had changed?

I told him. He was great about it. He spoke with my main doctor, and he was great about it, too. My doctor said anything that could be fixed that will help boost my self confidence level, he wanted to know about  it ASAP.

He assured me nothing was too trivial. He wanted to know  anything and everything that could be done to help me feel more like myself.

Throughout the years, there have been many instances similar  to how eradicating the devastating acne hugely helped my confidence and self confidence.

I’ve traveled to other countries for controversial surgeries and to visit healers. I got braces in my thirties when my teeth started to shift. The first time I realized I didn’t want to smile with teeth showing, I went straight to an orthodontist. Having straight teeth was another huge uplift to my self confidence.

Similar experiences slowly built my  self confidence to a healthy level.  If I want to make something happen, I now feel the self confidence to do it.

Of course we go through times of self-doubt, with a lack in self confidence. It’s when we are experiencing these feelings that we need to dig deep and pull our self confidence out of our magic hat…. Our soul.




    WOW Amy great artical, very powerful thank you1

    • Thank you so much Susan for that beautiful compliment. It makes my writing all the more meaningful to me. I’d love to hear any life circumstances or situations you’d enjoy reading… It doesn’t have to be something a disabled individual may deal with, it can be something we all deal with! My very best wishes, Amy

      • Michele Montanye says:

        Your writing is so from your heart, you are such an inspiration to so many, whether wheelchairbound or not, we all have “wheelchairs” to overcome ! You should travel and do talks!

  2. Amy,
    As always, another great article. I remember the first time I looked into a mirror after my accident. I was in rehab & the O.T. was assisting me for the first time to brush my hair. It was about 5 months after my SCI and she strapped a long handled hairbrush to my wrist. Just lifting my hand to my head felt like I was lifting a boulder! She positioned my wheelchair in front of the mirror and I looked at myself not expecting what I saw. I was 38 but looked so worn out as if the life was slowly drained from me. I felt beyond my years, my hair was overgrown, grays mixed in, my skin was clear (I missed the steroids), by my eyes said it all. It took seconds before the tears flowed. My eyes were tired, puffy, and not happy with their reflection. It was at that moment I realized I could either put down that brush & give up, or put all my energy into how I now looked at myself. Of course, a haircut and color helped.

    • Love the hairbrush story, and good for you! I’m all for keeping yourself looking sharp and well groomed… It expresses how a person feels about themselves on the inside! And you’re right… A haircut and good color goes a long way! You are doing fantastic… Keep it up! Love, Amy

  3. Ronnie Boniface says:

    Enjoy reading your articles Amy !

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