What does confidence mean to you?…
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” – E.E. Cummings
For me, seeing confidence as yet another thought construct was extremely freeing, and brought with it great relief from my habit of over-thinking any situation that took me outside of my comfort zone.
In my opinion, what we describe as confidence is more about the narrative we have created about our abilities and whether we think we are enough.
What I’ve come to see is that during those times in my life when I “felt” at my most confident, were in fact the moments I was most focused on the moment I was in, having dropped out of my habitual insecure thoughts.
It’s time to drop the “shoulds”
I also feel it is more about your expectations of how you think you “should” look or act in any situation.
For example, if on seeing yourself in a mirror you think you look good, you are much more likely to have less on your mind when with others.
You will most likely act in a carefree way, which could be perceived as confidence.
I’m sure most of us at some stage have been nervous about meeting or speaking to someone. We can have a lot of thinking about how it will go which revs up our nervous system, moving us into fight/flight mode.
Is your nervous system running the show?
Our nervous system has been conditioned by past events, it has memorised how to act when in stressful situations, this plays a big part in how we act around others.
Some people are better at masking their discomfort, which has also been described as confidence. But to me, this speaks more to their ability to manage their nerves.
They do this by using their reasoning skills, reminding themselves that they are safe and capable. This regulates their nervous system and brings clarity and a sense of calm.
Is confidence an innate trait?
We aren’t born self-conscious, this develops over time as we are taught to conform to societal/cultural norms, or have put meaning on past challenging experiences.
You just have to watch a toddler at play to see this. They will give their all to something regardless of the outcome, they have nothing on their mind other than the fun they are having at that moment.
It is only as they get older and develop their conscious thinking, that they start to consider what others think of them while doing something. They often become more concerned about getting something perfect than just having fun.
This can lead to them doubting themselves and potentially giving up on something before they master it or not even trying in the first place.
If you were heavily criticised as a child, you are much more likely to feel cautious and overthink when doing something you consider outside of your skill level or comfort zone.
When you have a lot of thinking on your mind, you are not fully present to the task at hand and are much more likely to make mistakes, all of which add layers of self-criticism and possibly shame about your abilities.
This can then lead to the false perception that you are not a “confident” person.
Self-criticism and doubt can linger in our subconscious, it is important to be aware of this and question our critical thoughts before they grow, or to see through our limiting beliefs.
Can you really lose or grow your confidence?
We have all experienced times in our lives where it has “felt” like we lost our confidence, but as confidence isn’t tangible, how can it be lost?
In those moments we have most likely questioned our ability to do something or have compared ourselves to another. So rather than us losing our confidence, we are masking our greatness with insecure thinking.
Also, instead of thinking we need to grow our confidence before doing something new, we just need to allow ourselves to try it. We can only build experience through practice and so what if we mess up or make mistakes, this is how we truly learn and grow.
If we are self-critical or worried about how others might perceive us, we innocently create feelings of nervousness and insecurity. Which in turn masks our true potential.
No self-judgment or criticism equals a quieter mind. When our mind is quiet we are more present and can better focus on the task at hand.
What would your life look like if nothing held you back?
When we question if we are good enough, our fear of what others think can stop us from being spontaneous. We spend too much time in our heads trying to figure out if what we are saying or doing is acceptable to others.
All of this stops us from being in flow with life. Which are those moments when we are at our most light-hearted. Our thoughts, feelings, and desires are in harmony, our minds are free of conflicts or the need for the moment to be different in any way.
I now see confidence as that inner knowing that I am always okay, regardless of the outcome of any situation I may find myself in.
Click the link to read more about how insecure thinking could be keeping you stuck, https://angelamcevitt.com/freedom-from-fearful-thinking/
Thanks for reading.
Namaste- I honour the place in you, in which the entire universe resides. I honour the place in you, of love, of light, of truth, and of peace. And when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.