The dirty secret of self-confidence is that no one believes that they are self-confident. Think of someone who exudes confidence. You can bet that person rarely sees themselves that way. In fact, most people are surprised to hear that they come off as confident. Our brains are wired for humility first. The brain thinks doubt, anxiety, and worry are necessary to protect us from harm. Taking chances, going against the grain, trusting ourselves to do new things, as far as our primitive brain is concerned, is asking for trouble, and we should do everything we can to stay safe in our cave.
The oxford dictionary definition of Confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”.
Here are a few tips for building trust in yourself.
1. Stop thinking that confidence is a destination. There is no place that you arrive that will “give” you confidence. For instance, you would think that graduating from medical school, reaching a milestone in your business, or finding a romantic partner, would make you feel more confident. But honestly, confidence is a micro experience that sneaks up on you as you learn these skills that get you to graduation or the next goal or accomplishment. Once you arrive at the destination, graduation, new career, it is incredibly anti-climatical. The anti-climax is due to a few reasons: you still feel like you, you realize that there is still always something more to learn, you often are taking on new challenges and responsibilities. Thus your brain does not feel “accomplished.” It goes to the next problem to solve with a dash of fear.
2.It is much easier to build trust in yourself when you ignore other people’s opinions. Everyone is going to have an idea about you. None of them matter. Your opinion of you is what matters. Your family may care about you, but they are always going to question you. Some people are lucky to have unconditionally, supportive families, but this is rare. You have to be the loving parent of yourself and build that into yourself. If you did hypnotherapy with me, you might remember that our session segment together where you become the loving parent of yourself.
3. Be willing to experience doubt, and work towards your goals anyway. Our human brains love to doubt everything. Feeling the emotional vibration of doubt is not a problem. You can feel doubt when doing something for the first time and still do it anyway. Doubt is uncomfortable, but if we had to get rid of doubt before we tried anything new, then we would never get to do it. Doubt is one of those emotions that you have to take with you.
4. Skincare products, expensive clothes, and a new car do not give you confidence. Your thoughts about yourself are what gives you confidence. I wish affirmations like “I am amazing” worked, but they don’t. The path that sticks is practicing thoughts that you can believe. Believing that you are worthy, or are good enough, often happens in micro-steps. It would be odd and dangerous to think, “I am the best opera singer there ever was,” without doing the work to build the skills, train and listen, grow continually. But the first step is to start to take lessons. Taking that first step requires you to think, “It is possible that I can learn to sing.” To take the next step, you need to start believing something else, such as “I can stand on a stage and sing for people. ” Then the next step is to practice and begin to consider the thought “People may enjoy listening to me.” etc., and so on.
5. Take your ego out of the equation. What takes people into confidence is not checking in with how others think, not checking in with what you even think, but serving some outside purpose. If your focus is on helping your audience, customers, patients, or clients, you get lost in the doing and the serving. In the end, looking outside yourself and leaning into the connections with others or focusing on your art or your purpose is where absolute trust settles.
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