The theme keeps coming up from clients, it comes into many conversations. It feels big and so I am circling back to it for another delve.
What is confidence anyway?
“The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something” (OED), so it follows that self-confidence is having those same feelings and/or beliefs about ourselves. If I ask the question “are you self-confident”, how would you answer? I venture not many of you answered simply yes. Culturally, in the UK at least, we have likely been conditioned (especially if you are a woman) to be modest, it is not polite and I was told also, not ladylike, to toot one’s own proverbial flute.. but if we put that to one side for now, nobody’s looking I promise, how would you answer?
What about if the question was “do you trust yourself?”. This one often makes people pause. It feels different. Does it feel more comfortable to say I trust myself, than I am self-confident? It does for me, it feels less pushy, less showy and here I recognise the playing small element that can creep in for me if I am not on guard – be nice, ensure people like you, BLEND WOMAN, BLEND!
Confidence has currency. Confident people are seen to get on, move forward, move up. In our social media prevalent world, confident people are popular, they are successful in life, love, family and money. The sun shines, things glow for these people. So, it follows that we would want to have it, have more of it and to keep hold of it. The stakes are very high indeed.
I get asked to help with confidence more than anything else. I get it, I really really get it. We see it as vital for life. A foundational block, if it’s not there or it’s shaky then not only is what’s next at risk, but quite often what’s next just isn’t an option – we hold off. I couldn’t possibly do, say, try that, I just don’t have the confidence. Fear holds us static. I could fill pages and pages of things I have not tried or said because I didn’t feel confident at whatever point in my life, I’m sure you can come up with more than a few yourself, and life really, really is too short to hold off from something we want to try. If not now, when? If not you, who?
Let’s try a different perspective, because there isn’t a pill anyone can give us that will transform us into a walking confidence advert and having someone tell you to be more confident isn’t going to do anything either, as much as we hope one person will be able to solve it for us and give us the magic. If I could do it for you, I would, just to ease some of the pain… but you would miss a beautiful journey of discovery of your own, and I know (as in believe and trust 😉), know that everything you need, you have.
So, come and stand over here with me for a bit. Let’s put confidence down for a moment and instead let’s look at how you feel about yourself. I ask all my new clients a series of questions in advance of our first session, it’s part of the getting to see how you tick. This is one of those questions – how would you describe your relationship with yourself? Take a moment- answer it for yourself. I am going to put a picture right here to attempt to make you pause!
Often, (and I am generalising) when someone feels they lack self-confidence, there is a degree of disconnection with themselves. Often there is a harshness and a judgementalness (my new word) in how they talk to and treat themselves, one that they would rarely, if ever, direct to another person. Care, compassion and kindness as something we give to the next person are almost always present for us, and were I to ask how you apply these to yourself, how would you answer? Where is the belief that you are strong, capable, knowing, that you have value to bring to the table, that you are worthy, indeed in need of your own care and compassion? And where is the trust? The trust that you have come through, you will come through again time after time. The trust that your knowing of yourself, your judgement of you, for you, is sound.
When we are connected with ourselves, when we can feel the trust, then we are at liberty to be ourselves and it is here that confidence lives. It is not a coat we need to remember to pick up on our way out the door, it is a by-product of the belief we have in ourselves. Does this mean then that if I trust myself and I believe in myself, if my connection to myself is solid, that nervousness, fear, uncertainty will never pay a visit? Nope, sorry, we’re human. As with every feeling, every emotion, confidence will ebb and flow, but when you believe and trust your own judgement the paralysis lifts. There will always remain the need for courage, to take the deep breath and step forward, step up, but we are coming from a very different place when we choose this approach.
We can only see of others what they are showing us, and many people are very careful what they choose to show. My personal belief is that the true winners in life have an inside and an outside very much in harmony, sure we don’t want to share everything, there needs to be boundaries, but being who we are is significantly easier than keeping up an appearance. However, we don’t know what is happening on someone’s inside. You see a shiny confident person, winning, on the up, successful, breezing through. I see a courageous person, trusting themselves, possibly feeling scared, anxious or nervous, taking a deep breath and having a go anyway.
It’s a practice, it’s a relationship and it’s only with yourself, everything else follows. So if you are someone who says about themselves, I am not self-confident, and it’s a something you want more of.. take a long compassionate look at how you feel about you, about how you talk to you, about how you treat you. Because that’s where it comes from, no magic, no formula, no coat to be put on. Belief, trust, faith – in you, by you.
If you are interested in how I can work with you around confidence, self-limiting beliefs and more, you can speak to me directly, you can book a free initial one hour session with me here
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