Who Do You See When You Look In The Mirror?
When you look in the mirror and you see your reflection, who do you really see? Often we see a different image to what other people would describe if they saw the same reflection, based on our ‘internal beliefs’ about ourselves, which are often ‘false’.
Try standing in front of a full length mirror and then listen consciously to what those voices in your head are saying..
Is your ‘internal committee’ telling you that you look amazing – If so WELL DONE – You’re one of the rare people!! Go the extra mile and add a few extra compliments in there…
However, for many of us, looking at ourselves square on in the mirror triggers our internal ‘negative committee’ to start commenting… Are they shouting that you look ‘too fat…too thin… dull…boring…. spotty…. dreary…. saggy, wrinkly etc. etc. etc.’
If so, pause for a moment and ask yourself what you would say, if you were a friend looking at this ‘picture’ of you in the mirror? Would your friend be using the same negative language? I doubt it….
Our minds are pretty amazing. We have the ‘conscious’ part of our brain, which we use in a ‘logical way’ to help us. So, for example… when we’re learning something new, we tend to process the information and respond using our ‘conscious brain’. However, the most powerful part of our brain, is our ‘subconscious brain’, which controls the majority of things that we do without ever being aware that we’re doing them. Most of our ‘automatic’ bodily functions are ‘managed’ within our ‘subconscious brain’ such as blinking, breathing, moving blood around our body etc.
Once we’ve become accomplished in something, it moves from our ‘conscious’ to our ‘sub conscious’ brain function, which as mentioned in the previous post, means that we start to do things like driving a car ‘automatically’ and without ‘consciously’ thinking about changing gear or braking etc. as we move into ‘auto pilot’.
If we’re telling ourselves that we ‘look silly’ or ‘rubbish’, do you think it’s likely that this will be our ‘self fulfilling prophecy’? You’re right.. what we tell ourselves, is the results we will see in our lives! This works for the ‘poor’ language we use and also for the great and uplifting language we could use….
The great thing about our subconscious brain is that it doesn’t know the difference between ‘reality’ and ‘imagination’ therefore it’s possible to use our imagination to re-programme our subconscious mind and it doesn’t matter whether we believe our own words initially, they will sink into the subconscious mind and change our automatic thought process if we re-train our mind to think something different.
As with any ‘new lesson’ that we have to learn, we first have to do this ‘consciously’ before it starts to become ‘automatic’.
As a hypnotherapist, I help people to develop new ways of thinking about themselves more quickly, using the power of ‘relaxation’ and ‘visualisation’. Many of my clients suffer from low self esteem and a lack of confidence either generally or in a specific area of their life and helping them to learn powerful visualisation techniques, has a massive impact.
Think about someone you know or who you admire who you believe is a ‘confident’ person – this could be a member of your family, a friend or colleague or someone ‘famous’ or who you’ve come across on Youtube etc. Thinking about that person, what is it about them that makes you think that they are ‘confident’. Take some time to really study them and ‘consciously’ notice their language, tone of voice, body language, the way they present themselves.. possibly their sense of style etc. What is it about them that makes you believe they are confident?
Now stand in front of the mirror and notice how you’re standing and the clothes you’re wearing…. Are you standing in the way that you think a ‘confident’ person would stand? Do you ‘look and feel confident’ in the clothes you’re wearing?
When you talk aloud, listen to your tone of voice and the language you use and notice whether this resonates with ‘confidence’ or whether your voice sounds timid. It is possible to make small changes to the way you ‘appear’ and ‘feel’. For example, if you tend to look down or ‘around’ rather than looking directly at your reflection, this will appear to others as insecurity and you are likely to feel a ‘lack of confidence’.
- A few ‘fellow bloggers’ mentioned that they ‘lack confidence’ when they go into a larger group at work or in a social situation.
- Making a ‘conscious shift’ in your deportment, will really change how you feel when you enter a room and as a result will change how people respond to you too…
- Preparing in advance of any meeting or social gathering is essential
- Practice, practice, practice – in front of a mirror and soon you will shift your ‘confidence’ up a gear and into ‘auto pilot’!
Practice standing infront of the mirror with a ‘new confident’ posture.
- Imagine you have a cord attached to the top of your head which is being pulled upward. Straighten your shoulders – don’t ‘stoop’ and imagine that you are adding ‘inches’ (old school haha) to your height.. Lift your head up and look at yourself directly…
- Stand with your feet slightly apart and imagine that they’re ‘rooted’ to the ground, so that you avoid ‘shuffling’.
- When you walk, visualise yourself walking in the way your ‘confident’ person walks and then start practicing your own walk ‘consciously’. When your going about your daily activities at home, be ‘conscious’ about how you walk and practice walking around your home ‘with confidence’..
Next time you’re due to go into a social situation or a ‘business meeting’, be ‘conscious’ about your posture and put into ‘reality’ what you’ve been practicing at home.
Think about your tone of voice and the pace at which you speak.
- At home, once again, infront of the mirror, speak out loud to yourself – what do you hear? If you lower your ‘tone of voice’ and ‘slow down’ your words slightly, do you sound more confident and assured?
- Try recording yourself reading a passage from a book. Do you sound animated or dull? Getting the balance right in your ‘pitch, tone and speed’ of voice is really important and it’s essential that you practice speaking out loud and consciously listening to yourself when your in a larger group of people too. When you become ‘conscious’ of yourself, you can start to make ‘conscious changes’. Initially these ‘changes’ will feel unnatural, but after a while, they will simply become automatic.
- If you sound excessively animated, this may come across as nervousness and you may have a sense of feeling ‘panicky’ and other people will pick up on your ‘nervousness’ too..
- If you speak in a ‘monotone’, you will come across as ‘dull’ and you are likely to feel ‘bored’ of your own voice.. the response you get from others will be that they start trying to ‘walk away’ and then you’re likely to hear your ‘internal voice’ kick in.. “nobody finds me interesting”… etc…..
Preparation is Priority!
A few years ago, I was due to give a presentation to a large group of people.. I’d given ‘ok’ presentations previously, but on this particular occasion, I’d run short of time and hadn’t ‘practiced’ in advance… Just before the presentation, I was told that due to previous ‘speakers’ running over, that I’d have to shorten my presentation from 20 minutes to 5 minutes and for the next few minutes, I panicked.. I told myself repeatedly “sh*t – I can’t do this.. I can’t cut down my 20 minute presentation to just 5 minutes”
Guess what – I was right!! I wasn’t ‘prepared’. I hadn’t ‘thought through’ the ‘what if’s’ in advance of the meeting, so when I was asked to adjust my presentation, I didn’t have the ‘confidence’ in myself to do it and I focussed on what ‘wasn’t possible’ rather than what ‘was possible’.. Of course, we all know don’t we that ‘what we focus on is what we get’ and therefore I’d created my own ‘self fulfilling prophecy’?
- I had a complete panic attack and fluffed the presentation.
I learned a great lesson that day!
- I learned the ‘hard way’ that preparing in advance of a meeting or a social gathering is essential.
- If you ‘lack confidence’, going into a situation ‘unprepared’ is likely to result in you feeling even more ‘timid’ and you may feel that you simply want to disappear into a whole in the ground, – as I did on the day I fluffed that presentation!
- In advance of the meeting or party etc., think about the ‘topics’ that may come up and ‘consciously’ prepare some questions and answers around these. Particularly in a ‘meeting’ situation, it’s perfectly reasonable to make yourself some ‘notes’ to refer to. I find that simply having these things written down means I rarely need to refer to them, but they help me to ‘feel’ more confident.. You’re much less likely to feel ‘lost for words’!
- If it’s a ‘social’ gathering, think about the other guests who’ll be attending – do you know them and if so, what are there interests/hobbies etc.? Think of some questions that you could ask them about these. You can feel ‘confident’ by having a ‘stock’ of questions that you can ask and then being ‘conscious in the moment’ – listen consciously to their answers and don’t be distracted by your own ‘internal voice’… You will appear ‘attentive’ and ‘confident’…
- If it’s a social gathering and you don’t know the other guests, using some of your ‘stock questions’ that you’ve thought about in advance, will help you avoid the situation of feeling that you have ‘nothing to say’. Remind yourself also about some of your personal hobbies/achievements in advance so that you can respond to other people about yourself too.
- As a result of ‘fluffing’ that presentation, I also learned a much better way to communicate with myself. Instead of telling myself repeatedly that ‘I couldn’t do this’, I realised that a much better alternative, would be to ask myself the question “how can I do this?”, because when we ask ourselves this question, our subconscious brain will automatically start searching for the answer.
- If I’d asked myself that question on the day of my presentation, I would have realised that I simply had to deliver the last 5 minutes of my presentation instead of starting at the beginning, because the last 5 minutes and the last couple of ‘powerpoint’ slides, contained a ‘summary’ of all that I’d mentioned previously!
In preparation for a very important interview, I felt myself ‘reverting back’ to old ways of thinking and as a result, my self confidence took a nose dive in the days leading up to the interview and I became a nervous wreck.
Fortunately, I recognised what was happening, in time to make a ‘conscious change’ and I remembered a great exercise I’d used with my hypnotherapy clients.. (funny how I know the ‘theory’ well enough to help others and yet sometimes forget to put it into practice myself!).. This exercise really works (when I remember to actually ‘do it’)!!
- Think about the ‘confident’ person that you admire and visualise them stood in front of you… What do they sound like when they speak, how are they standing, how are they ‘smiling’ … Now take a step forward into that person. Stand like they stand, speak like they speak and smile like they smile.. Imagine for a few moments that their confidence is filling your body. Keep repeating this exercise and you will start to fill yourself with an ‘inner confidence’. When you are then due to go into a ‘group’ meeting/gathering, imagine yourself going in filled with the ‘inner confidence’ of ‘that other person’ – walk how they would walk etc. You’ll be surprised how just picturing their ‘persona’, will help you to carry yourself with more confidence.
I imagine myself to be a combination of ‘Joanna Lumley’ – for her sense of style, elegance and humour and ‘Albert Einstein’ for his ‘intelligence’ and ‘wisdom’ and ‘Anthony Robbins’ for his amazing ‘stage presence’ and ‘inspiring nature’. Boy – did that combination help me when I stepped into the interview room! …. I got the job!!
I’ll let you into a secret though.. When I imagined myself as ‘Joanna Lumley’, I also incorporated her ‘character’ in the ‘Ab Fab’ Series… and thought to myself – “Really – who gives a ‘fu*k’ anyway – there’s always ‘plan B!”
If you keep practicing this, it will become ‘unconscious’ and you will natural feel and display a greater air of confidence and other’s will start to respond to your confidence, which will help your ‘spiral up’ to true inner confidence.
Start making a ‘conscious effort’ to show confidence and soon you will truly ‘feel confident’ in your own skin! Why blend in when you were born to ‘stand out’!