Confidence. A Definition:
a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances. <had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed> <met the risk with brash confidence>
The word confidence has been labelled both good and bad over the last century. Contrasted with modesty, and associated with arrogance, we seem to have a love/hate relationship with our own self-confidence - wanting more to feel better about ourselves, but not wanting to be over-confident and risk failure or embarrassment if we are found out to be a fraud.
This post will be the first in a short series based on the habits that diminish our natural confidence, and how to minimise the detrimental effect these habits can have on us. The key focus is on how we destroy our own confidence, whether by conscious actions & thoughts, or by unconscious beliefs about ourselves & the world.
Self Awareness & Living Consciously
The most effective way to identify how we destroy our own confidence is through the development of self-awareness. By taking a closer look at our ingrained ego driven saboteurs, we can develop conscious methods for stopping the bad habits, and build new effective habits and beliefs to renew our self-confidence.
Confidence is our natural ability to feel good about ourselves, thus enabling us to do the things we want to do in life despite the fears we hold.
All humans are born with a consistent high level of natural confidence. As a baby unable to talk, we ask for what we want in the emotional ways we know how to, crying openly, laughing without reservation, letting curiosity rule our actions, and never holding back. We each have the ability to reclaim this confidence at any time - we just need know how to reclaim it, and most importantly - give ourselves permission to own it.
The Human Condition - Knowledge
From birth our confidence is whittled down by our increase in knowledge about the world as it is presented to us by early connections - our family, our teachers, our friends, and what we see on TV. As we watch, listen, and learn, we make judgements based only on mirroring the judgements that are presented to us.
As a result of this, we develop all the fundamental Building Blocks of Self from an impression that is naturally un-wholistic. It comes direct to us from family & friends who have preconceived dreams or ideas of who we should be, mentors who have experienced life from a completely different and skewed perspective, and marketing people who simply want to sell us things. Our early thoughts of self come from other's beliefs & opinions of the world, given to us before we even have a level of consciousness high enough to be able to form solid beliefs & opinions ourselves.
Of course, this is absolutely normal - it is the human condition - and it is not a question of fault or blame (except in the case of the media & marketing people who are just plan evil), it is just the way the personality & the ego evolves. However, to recover our natural confidence, we have to question - what can we do about it after all the damage is done?
The Building Blocks of Self
In essence, all human beings have a sense of self- confidence tied in to other parts of the personality, like self- esteem, self-worth, self-belief, self-respect, and self-love. All of these things make up the Building Blocks of Self.
Surprisingly when I investigated definitions for these words, there was reference to 'vanity & pride' - which I absolutely do not believe is true - to have a strong sense of self is not a negative thing - it is something of absolute value & will essentially enable you to genuinely live your authentic truth. By believing in the importance of self, we destroy the 'tall poppy syndrome' which holds so many people back from being themselves.
Self-Esteem - How you feel about yourself.
Self-Worth - How you value yourself and your contribution to world.
Self-Belief - How much you believe in your ability/capacity to do things.
Self-Respect - How you treat yourself - consciously and unconsciously.
Self-Love - How much you cherish or prioritise yourself and your own needs.
Intrinsically, all of these views of self are tied in together, and can be affected in different ways depending on your personal experience of life. Most importantly, they are also connected to what we traditionally view as Ego.
What is Ego?
Within common psychology and spiritual belief there is a conflicting idea of what Ego is, so it's important that we consider a philosophical way of defining it. I work within the premise that the Ego is the voice in our head, but it is not who we are. It is something to be tamed, not 'boosted' or indulged, and with effective awareness & use, the Ego can help us maintain a consistent level of natural self-confidence.
My logic behind this theory is, that at our purest essence we are the listener (the soul or spirit that is the silent inner voice making up our instinct & creativity). The Ego is the talker (the insistent chatter in our mind). You need one to be able to have the other -
The existence of one proves the existence of the other.
Our Ego constantly dictates to us how high the level of our Building Blocks of Self go, by making continual judgement in a constant flow of thought that we think we can't control. Its methods of destroying our self confidence become habitual, and are primarily in the following forms:
We will explore each of these in more detail across the next few weeks, and I will give you tools for overcoming these Ego driven habits within your mind, and take a look at how it will impact your life.
The Soul is our Foundation
The beauty of this whole equation is - the Ego proves the existence of our Soul/Spirit. This is our guiding light of motivation and faith that can drive us to let go of the Ego's impact on us. We can believe in the pure power of who we are at our deepest level, and we can reignite our confidence from a point of absolute certainty.
Engaging the silent inner voice can lead to incredible transformation, and have a hugely positive impact on self confidence. But before we are able to connect deeply with this hidden part of ourselves, we need to learn to quieten the chatter of the Ego.
The very first step to doing this is to develop regular moments of self-awareness. Begin the process now to really stop and notice what chatter is passing through your mind. Make it a new habit to invest 5 minutes of everyday sitting in silence noticing your thoughts. This form of open mediation will begin the process of awareness at a deeper level. Even if you find it impossible to silence the chatter - just to stop and listen, but not hold onto any of the thoughts, will create a space for the listener to exist.
If you know anyone who has been going through a rough patch, and could benefit from reconnecting with their sense of self-confidence please forward this post to them. You just might be the person who helps them change their life.
To make sure you don't miss out on the rest of this series on recovering your natural self confidence, subscribe to the blog here. I'd love to hear what you experience when you begin to practise becoming the listener. Join the discussion on FaceBook, or comment on this post.
Huge Announcement! We are hosting our first ever Meet Up & we would love you to join us! As part of the Live Your Legend Live Events, organised by Scott Dinsmore, we are getting together with our LYL friends in Sydney on Saturday 5th October. Attending my first LYL Event absolutely changed my life - the friends and connections I have made will forever be those that motivated me to begin MABY, and the inspire me to live with passion. Please check out all the details here, RSVP to join us, and begin to Live Your Legend.