SEEDS OF CONFIDENCE
If confidence was something we could buy in the shops, I wonder how much it would cost? If you have ever wished for more confidence in certain areas of your life, you are not alone. Even if you lack confidence in one area of your life, the good news is that this skill is transferrable. Many people suffer from a lack of self confidence but this can change very quickly. Confidence can grow like a beautiful tree in your garden. Once established it stands tall, it can bend in the wind, it can withstand a storm. It helps to ensure it has the right environment, good nutrition from the soil, sunshine and rain. Surprisingly, some trees can grow even in the darkest of places.
What does it feel like? Judy walked into the room, looked around and came straight over to me. She smiled and made eye contact, shook my hand firmly and said hello enthusiastically. There was an air of confidence all around her and this made her more attractive than she already was. She spoke clearly, calmly and looked relaxed. You could tell that she was at ease in herself and totally interested in what was going on. If confidence could be bottled and sold, she would be very rich indeed.
What is confidence? You can’t buy it, touch it, see it or taste it. But you can certainly feel it. Some people have it, others want more of it. Confidence speaks for itself; it is a natural energy that can be tapped into easily when you know how. When we are in a state of confidence we move into the “zone” where things flow freely and we are being authentic. In this state we give off a certain vibration that others can pick up on. This is self confidence. There are different types of confidence and self confidence is usually what most people mean when they say they lack confidence.
A lack of confidence can be quite debilitating and can cause many health problems, from mild anxiety to full blown panic attacks. Some people might find returning cold food in a restaurant daunting and others might decide they can never do public speaking. Whether it’s standing up in front of others or standing up to a bully, confidence is vital for a balanced and happy life.
Whatever is stopping you from being the confident person you want to be, is not founded in reality. It is usually a limiting belief. A belief is an opinion, your current view of things, and opinions can change. Some common thoughts that accompany a lack of confidence are “People will judge me”, or, “I’m not good enough” or, “what if I make a fool of myself?” or “I don’t like to complain”.
Typically, those with a lack of confidence give far too much importance to something they will never be able to control – other people’s thoughts and opinions. Confidence is the natural instinct that helps us to reach our goals and we have the right to be as confident as we want to be.
Where does inner confidence come from?
TYPES OF CONFIDENCE
Performance Confidence refers to your general beliefs about what you are able to do. People who are high in performance confidence believe they are capable of achieving things generally. They are often high in mental toughness. Before a match, the footballer, Wayne Rooney, is said to find out what colour shorts, socks and shirt his team will be wearing, so he can enhance his psychological preparation in advance of the match. According to an article in the Telegraph on 22 January 2014, Rooney lies in bed and imagines himself scoring goals and doing well. He is literally creating a future memory, so that his brain sees it as "already happened". By using all his senses, Rooney can imagine the feel of the ball on his foot, the sound it makes as it flies through the air, the smell of the grass and the sound of the crowd cheering. Rehearsing positive mental imagery is a good practice and builds inner confidence so that when it comes to the real event, it feels right.
In contrast, if we look at low performance confidence, we see someone who doubts their ability to be successful at achieving anything, they may even give up before they start. A dream of being a great footballer one day may sit on the shelf, forever out of reach. In their minds, they might see themselves sitting on the sidelines, not getting picked, or missing a good shot. The images they see in their minds are negative and lead to feeling uninspired and self-doubting. So much about performance is based on self belief, self confidence, mental imagery and emotional resilience.
Social Confidence is all about how we think, feel and behave with others in social situations. Low levels of social confidence can manifest as anxiety or negative self image. Thoughts like "am I underdressed or overdressed", "what if I don't know what to say?" "What if nobody likes me?" It's as if people with low social confidence are trying to read the minds of others and hoping that everyone will approve of them. By focussing on themselves rather than what's going on around them, they often miss out on having fun. High levels of social confidence allow people to mix easily and speak freely and confidently amongst others. They are not thinking about making mistakes, they are going with the flow and if they make a mistake so what, they move on. They appear more interested in others than themselves.
Physical Confidence refers to how people view their physical bodies, attractiveness, appearance and body image. Low levels might show up when someone thinks they are ugly, fat or unattractive to the opposite sex, even though they may be just average. High levels might allow someone to believe in themselves totally and strive to look their best, feeling attractive and confident and strong in their body - no matter what they actually look like. It literally is all in the mind. We know that attractiveness has many different ingredients and low self confidence (low self esteem) can be counter-productive.
Laying down the foundations of Self Confidence
Self confidence can grow over time through positive personal experience and reinforcement. It can be developed by successfully achieving our goals, however small, and acknowledging them. We can build upon the positive aspects of ourselves and also learn from people with high levels of self confidence. Like cooking your favourite meal, select the best ingredients, follow the recipe, practice, practice, practice..... and soon it will be second nature to cook your favourite food without having to refer to the recipe.
7 Steps to Confidence
Create a personal model of confidence. List the things that make you feel good about yourself. It might be your smile, your creative skills, your kindness to others; you might be a good listener, a great driver, etc. When you are in this natural state, doing what you like doing, confidence comes easily; you don’t even have to think about it. Recognise your own state of confidence and build a bank of memories that see you acting and feeling confident. Now notice how you represent this to yourself, what things do you actually see yourself doing? What do you hear yourself saying? How you feel on the inside? What is your body language like? Power pose in the mirror! Find an affirmation that works for you. Mr. Motivator says "You can do it girl!" Next look at someone who you think is more confident than you and notice what they do differently. Evolve your model of confidence and you will grow into it.
Acknowledge and accept compliments graciously and gratefully. Consider hearing a compliment from someone else, in your head, and notice your reaction. Practice looking in the mirror and see what your face looks like when you do this. Smile and be positive in your tone of voice when you say “Thank You”. Refrain from adding anything negative. Be grateful that someone has given you this gift (a compliment) and look at it from their perspective, it’s usually given from the heart; When you have the confidence to give a compliment, be honest and say what you think without being embarrassed.
If something is difficult, create a strategy to deal with it. Look at any problem as a challenge to be overcome. Problems can be broken down into smaller steps that make them easier to deal with. Imagine the result you want to get, and then brainstorm ways of achieving this. Speak to people who seem to have a lot of confidence and get some ideas. Map out a list of things you need to do, to take to take the first step. The real problem might be in not knowing where to start. Once you have a strategy, all you have to do is take the first step, the rest will follow. If you don’t take action, nothing will ever change. Imagine that you are in a race and that you have to jump over 10 hurdles to reach the finish line. At the finish line you get an amazing prize, something you have always really wanted - the house of your dreams/a fantastic new car/the love of your life. You wouldn’t stop at the first hurdle, would you? You would find a way to get over one, then the next and then the next until you got to the finish line. You just keep going.
Create a powerful Inner Voice. Internal dialog is the key to self confidence. Purposefully encourage yourself all the time. Tell yourself “I can do it” “I am amazing”. If others can do something, there is a high possibility you can do it too, as long as you are being realistic. However, if you persist in telling yourself not to make an idiot of yourself in front of others, or you keep reminding yourself how things went wrong the last time, then that internal voice will be contributing in a big way to your lack of confidence. You are in charge of your inner voice – make it work for you. Say STOP to any negative thoughts before they run away like a train that is out of control. Look in the mirror and say to yourself “I accept myself unconditionally” and see what thoughts come up – “yes but….I hate my big nose/I am a rubbish cook/I am too fat/etc..”. If there are conditions on your accepting yourself say “I accept myself unconditionally even though I have a big nose/am a rubbish cook/etc. etc.”. When you let go of resistance to the thought, you let go of the tension associated with it and you enable change. Say this for 30 days and see what happens. The Principle of Dominant thought says that whatever your recurrant thoughts are, you bring more of that experience into your life – use this to work for you rather than against you.
Believe in yourself. More often than not, you are the only one holding you back. Get over yourself. Learn to laugh if you get it wrong sometimes. You are a human being and humans make mistakes - that is how we learn. There is usually a hidden belief somewhere that tells you you can do this, but you can’t do that. Limiting beliefs are a form of self sabotage. If you act “as if” something is true, then you make it your truth. For example, “I would like to be promoted at work, but I probably wouldn’t even get an interview”. That is a belief about not being good enough, it’s not founded in reality and it may stop you from even applying for the job. You could say instead "I would like to be promoted at work and I have as good a chance as anyone else of succeeding, I am definitely going to apply." Confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it the more it strengthens. The good thing about identifying a limiting beliefs is that you can change it to a positive empowering belief that is more likely to see you succeeding. Change your mind and win. Your beliefs are the ones you create and perpetuate. You buy into them. You feed them with active reinforcement. You are responsible for keeping them healthy and relevant.
See yourself already as a confident person. A powerful imagination is the language of the unconscious mind. We already run movies in our minds of how we think something is going to turn out. For those who lack confidence, this is often a movie with a bad ending. Think of how you would like to be in a given situation. Describe it to yourself exactly – what you would be feeling, what you would say to yourself, what you would say to others, how you would present yourself, how would you imagine yourself interacting with others? Visualise the best possible outcome vividly and with positive emotion, and rehearse seeing yourself as confident and effective. When you practice this often enough, it becomes easy to do it for real.
Be assertive. List some situations where you would like to be more confident, for example, asking your boss for a pay rise; making conversation with a stranger; returning some food in a restaurant because it’s cold. You can be assertive and confident with a little practice. All you have to do is be respectful, be honest, state the facts, say what you feel and say how you would like the situation to be resolved, in a calm and relaxed manner. Usually, you will be successful and things will go smoothly. If you feel unsure of yourself, the other person will pick up on this and may see it as a weakness.
Build a new neural pathway inside your brain
We know that reality is a concept and it depends on how events are interpreted, how you look at things. Imagination is part of the survival engine, we use it all the time, whether we are aware of it or not. If we could not imagine, we would not be able to get to our destination, we would not be able to plan ahead. Why not put it to good use? Imagine things turning out right, feeling calm and confident in social situations, getting that promotion, scoring the goal.
If you begin to act as if you have more self confidence already, you begin to actually develop self confidence really quickly. The brain is continually modifying patterns in the brain, either reinforcing negative or positive programmes. The brain doesn't actually care, it doesn't make judgements - you do that with your thoughts - it just responds to patterns that have already been stored.
There is a saying "Fake it 'till you make it" which many people do, in order to gain confidence. Behaving “as if” you already are successful in whatever you want to achieve gets the ball rolling. Neuroscience tells us that the brain is plastic, we are continually creating new nerve cells and remodelling our world. We have the ability to enhance confidence through our thoughts and mental imagery. Some simple things make a difference:
You may have already noticed that when you do the following, you are in a state of confidence:
Notice what happens when you adopt confidence in your everyday life, in every communication. As you make conscious changes to your world, the world around you begins to respond more positively to you, and this reinforces your confidence. The more you practice, the more the new behaviour becomes natural and unconsciously occurring.
Hypnotherapy is one way to plant the seeds of confidence in your unconscious mind by creating new empowering pathways to success. The path to Inner Confidence is a bit like following the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Travelling along towards their goals, taking one step at a time, the Scarecrow found his brain, the Tin Man discovered he had a heart, the Cowardly Lion developed his own courage, and Dorothy happily found her way home.
Find your own Yellow Brick Road to Confidence and take the first step towards a bright new tomorrow.
Contact me now if you want to improve your confidence - click the link here Go For It!
top of page