CONFIDENCE IS A CHOICE!
When we ‘lack confidence’ in ourselves in one or more areas of our lives, this is usually associated with a fear and/or a belief that we have learned and as a result, we may ‘limit’ our lives by avoiding certain people, places or situations. In some cases our lack of confidence in our ability to deal with a situation causes us to experience severe anxiety, stress, panic attacks or develop phobias etc.
In this series of posts, I’m going to show you how it’s possible to cast off the ‘old lessons’ and learn new strategies, change your limiting beliefs, overcome the barriers that are holding you back and build an inner confidence that will enable you to expand and enhance your life.
We are born confident and at birth, we only have 2 fears:
- Fear of falling
- Fear of loud noises
Therefore suffice it to say, all other fears that we develop throughout our lives and which often determine how confident we feel in various circumstances and situations, are fears that we have learned and that we ‘believe’ to be true, even if in reality they aren’t.
Many of the fears we ‘learn’, particularly those learned in our early years, are simply untrue and yet they can continue to impact us throughout our lives. From birth, we learn ‘how the world works’ by observing what others around us do and how they respond. Many phobias for example are passed from one generation to the next and are completely unfounded. For example:
- If a child observes a parents ‘terror’ at the sight of a spider for example, the child will pick up on the parent’s emotion and ‘mimic’ their behaviour and in doing so, the child may also develop the ‘belief’ that spiders are something to be scared of.
In some countries, there are some dangerous spiders, however, here in the UK there are no native spiders that have a bite that would kill us and yet there are people, who are terrified of these tiny creatures. They’ve developed an irrational fear as a result of creating a ‘belief’ in their mind about something that simply isn’t true!
As a result of their learned ‘fear’, they may lack confidence in certain situations which could result in them avoiding doing certain things. In other words, they’ve learned a ‘limiting belief’ that could hold them back in their lives and significantly diminish their confidence in certain situations.
Have you ever met someone who has a fear of flying? (maybe it’s you…..).
- Logically, we know that travelling by plane, is actually one of the safest modes of transport and that far more people die or suffer serious injury as a result of being involved in a car accident and yet those who lose their confidence in flying ‘consciously’ know that this is true and yet ‘subconsciously’ they believe they may ‘die’ if they fly or they feel completely ‘out of control’…
- As a result of this FALSE ‘subconscious belief’, they won’t fly and consequently, they limit their life experiences and in some cases, their job opportunities etc.
So what about the more ‘day to day’ ‘subconscious beliefs that we create in our minds, which cause us to loose confidence in ourselves and impact on our daily lives and experiences?
- For example, maybe you’ve had a failed relationship and now you believe ‘you’re not loveable and nobody will EVER love me’ or perhaps you’ve been hurt badly and now you think that ‘all men are bas***ds’ or all women are ‘Bit**es’. How do you think those thoughts will impact on your confidence in ‘dating’ again?
- Maybe you simply think… “There’s no point in me putting myself back on the dating scene because I’ll never find someone who’ll care about me… I’m too old… I’m not clever enough… I’m boring…. nobody will be interested in me…” Do you think these ‘thoughts’ are going to hold you back from getting back out on the dating scene?
- Many people feel they aren’t ‘confident enough’ to stand up in front of a group of people to deliver a presentation and yet this could make all the difference in how their career advances. The ‘lack of confidence’, often stems from a fear that they will be ‘judged’ by others and/or that they will ‘make a fool of themselves’ etc.
This same pattern of behaviour i.e learning to believe that something is true when in fact it may not be true, applies to many of the fears and limiting beliefs that we develop throughout our lives. They can impact on our careers, our relationships and whether or not we live our lives to the full and are able to follow our dreams or whether we stay ‘stuck in a rut’ ……
The BRILLIANT news though is that as adults, we do indeed have a choice.
- We can choose to continue believing something that isn’t true and allow that belief to remain with us until we die, or
- We can choose to let it go and to learn something new to replace it.
- We can choose to believe that something is ‘impossible’ and tell ourselves that ‘I’ll never be able to do that’ and continue to feel the sometimes debilitating emotions and physical effects of anxiety, worry and stress…or
- We could choose to believe that if someone else can do X we can learn how to do it to.. we can learn how to make it possible and in doing so, we expand our horizons and our confidence grows…
Quite simply, the choice is ours to make! Yes ‘Confidence really is a choice’.
In many cases, the difference between a confident person and someone who ‘lacks confidence’ is the choices they make. They may both feel ‘nervous’ about something and yet the ‘confident person’ chooses to ignore the nerves and continue with the action regardless.. They aren’t ‘put off’!
Some people lack confidence in a particular and very specific area of their life and may be extremely confident in other aspects of their life, Other people may have generally low confidence in many areas of their life. In both cases, learning new strategies and new ways of thinking can massively boost confidence in one or all areas of our life.
From both personal experience and from my work as a hypnotherapist and coach, to help others develop improved levels of confidence, I know for absolute certain, that if we ‘bury our head in the sand’ and don’t take positive action, our ‘fears’ will grow even more extreme and our confidence will sink even lower!
This is your first choice…
- Choose to follow this weekly series and to complete the exercise and feel your confidence grow as you learn some new techniques and develop your Brilliance Within!
I hope you’ve decided to participate and if so, here’s a great exercise to start the process of ‘boosting your confidence’…
We often ‘over generalise’ and focus on what we feel we ‘can’t do’ and I’m sure we’ve all experienced days or situations where we’ve said:
“I never get anything right” or “I’m always rubbish at ………..”
When we use ‘generalising’ statements about ourselves in a negative way, we are re-inforcing a belief about our abilities to our ‘sub conscious’ mind.. Our mind can’t distinguish between ‘reality’ (what is actually true) and ‘imagination’ (what we ‘imagine’ to be true) and therefore when we tell ourselves something, even if it’s a ‘false and limiting belief’, our subconscious mind will ‘believe what we tell it’….
We may also take on board what other people tell us. Maybe you were told by your parents, siblings, teachers, friends, bullies etc. that you were rubbish at something and now you also believe that’s the case, when in reality maybe you just hadn’t learned ‘how’ to do that thing and it may be possible for you to learn it now…
It’s well researched, that we are more effective in our lives when we recognise and work to our ‘strengths’ and yet we are often reluctant to even acknowledge what our personal strengths are, so this first exercise is to remind ourselves what we are good at…
- Write down a list of all the things you think you are good at.
- Ask you family, friends, colleagues what they consider your strengths are and add these to your list. You may notice that your friends and family etc. will come up with ‘strengths’ that you’d not even considered..
- Write down any examples you can think of that ‘back up’ your ‘strength’.. (you don’t have to come up with examples for every ‘strength’ but it’s good to add some in where possible…)
- Over the next few days, keep thinking about your strengths and challenge yourself to add at least a couple of additional ‘strengths’ to your list each day…
Here’s just a few examples to help you get started:
- I’ve got a good sense of humour
- I’m a good listener
- I’m great at writing/art/fixing cars/gardening etc.
- I’m kind/caring/loving
- I love helping people
- I’m a really good mediator
- I’m great at sticking to a budget
- I’m an awsome photographer
- I’ve got a good understanding of IT systems and I enjoy the challenge of learning new IT skills
- I’m a good wife/husband/mum/dad/brother/sister/grandparent…..
- I’m very organised
- My favourite part of my body is……..
- I’m brilliant at…………
- I’ve mastered getting fit/cooking healthily/blogging………
Acknowledging your strengths is going to help you to start identifying how you can start to change your perception about what you can/can’t do, as we work through the process of boosting your confidence over the next few weeks.
Tip: I suggest creating a folder that you can keep the ‘confidence boosting’ exercises all together in one place as you will need to refer back to some of them as we progress through the next few weeks…
I’d love to hear what you feel your strengths are… please leave me a comment and let me know – telling other people what you’re good at will also help your confidence to grow! Go on… Feel the Fear and Tell Me Anyway!!! ………
It would also be great if you could ‘subscribe’ by adding your email address to the ‘pop up’ opt-in box, as I will be sending some additional materials to email subscribers over the coming weeks…