Whenever anyone asks me about boosting confidence, my advice is something they never expect. But then, my definition of confidence is unexpected too.
Self Doubt is Everywhere
Recently, I was talking with a client, and she made a statement that intrigued me.
In fact, what she said so captured my attention that I immediately began listening for similar phrases in every subsequent conversation I’ve had.
I am stunned by how many of us say this same thing, albeit in many different ways.
Perhaps you’ve said it too, or said something similar:
“I could never do that.”
“I can’t do it.”
“I’d probably just mess that up.”
“I’m not sure if I can.”
“I’ve never been very good at that.”
Lack of Confidence
What is going on? Is this pandemic-related strain or ambivalence?
I don’t believe it is.
I believe it’s a lack of confidence that seems to reside inside so many us, and the results can be brutal. It may not kill our bodies, but it destroys our souls.
This lack of confidence uses many aliases to conceal itself; self-doubt, limiting beliefs, negative thinking to name just a few.
Most of us who are afflicted (that is, all of us from time to time) have a secret weapon we use to conceal this from the world.
We call upon our tiny brains to release the three Bs to combat the problem. You know the ones I mean?
Bluster, Bravado and B.S.
We even believe that others can’t see through the 3 Bs, but of course, they can. Yet for all this facade, we never manage to actually find the source or solution for the problem.
It starts with the need to recognize confidence for what it really is.
What is Confidence?
Confidence is nothing more than a belief we have chosen for ourselves, and then converted into a feeling we experience.
Let me say that again.
Confidence stems from a belief we’ve chosen, which is converted into a feeling we experience. Let’s dissect that a bit.
- Belief: A belief is nothing more than the meaning we have chosen to place on events or experiences that occur or on information that we have received.
- Choice: We choose our beliefs. Even if they arise from our subconscious, they do not persist unless we allow them to.
- Feeling: Feelings are reactions. These emotions arise when we assign meaning to circumstances.
So basically confidence is the feeling that comes from us holding the belief that we need not doubt ourselves. Why does it matter exactly what confidence is? The reason is simple: if we know how to make it, we can create a supply of it.
When Facts Create Feelings
As we have discussed previously, the events we experience and the feelings associated with those events are completely separate from each other.
The event is the event. It occurred in our lives. It is what it is. It happened. Perhaps we had control over it, perhaps we didn’t.
However, we place meaning on the events that happen to us. We choose this meaning. Either deliberately, or subconsciously, we choose to connect to our reaction to what we experience. This is important. If we choose something, we can also choose something different.
If we don’t investigate our emotions as they arise, we are basically telling ourselves that whatever meaning we place on a circumstance is the true, factual meaning of the event. Of course, it isn’t a fact at all. It’s a feeling.
We chose the meaning, and if we want to, we can choose another.
The Grass is Always Greener
Let’s apply this to confidence.
You see your neighbour mow their lawn. Their landscaping looks beautiful. You look at your own home and it doesn’t look anywhere near as nice. These are facts: neighbour is mowing, your lawn is growing.
You feel embarrassed because your yard is looking shabby, you feel envy because your neighbour’s yard is so nice. You feel like you aren’t a good partner to your spouse or parent to your kids. How could you be? It’s your job to provide them with a nice yard and you’ve failed. You feel like a bad spouse and a bad parent and a bad homeowner.
Whenever we feel like a failure, that tanks our confidence. Yet that only happens because you are choosing to apply negative meaning to a neutral fact. Your neighbour is doing yard work = fact. You doubting your worth as a partner and parent = the feeling you have chosen to assign to this fact.
On the other hand, if we really allow ourselves to select a different meaning to replace an existing one, we invariably experience the feelings associated with the new, more positive meaning.
You see your neighbour mowing their lawn. Their yard looks terrific. You look at your own yard, with its dandelions popping up everywhere and think, “Our yard could use a little love as well. I’m going to get out there this weekend. Good for Bob for getting a jump on it, he’s inspired me! My yard looked great last year, looking forward to getting it back on track.”
And you go about your day feeling like you’ve got a small problem (yard work) as well as a plan to address it. (going to tackle it this weekend) You feel satisfied and yes, confident that you’re doing just fine, because you haven’t applied a bunch of emotional meaning to a simple factual observation.
We can choose to feel confident.
If your problems are more significant than yard work, consider this tip.
One of the fastest, easiest ways to conjure up confidence is to go back to a time when we did feel confident and to allow that experience, and those feelings, to permeate through ourselves in the present.
If we hold our bodies in the position that represents confidence, and act as if we were experiencing those feelings of confidence, miraculously, we will enjoy the feelings that we call confidence. Try it, and let me know in the comments if this works for you.
Till we read again.