Confidence is a muscle that you need to exercise October 23, 2017 – Posted in: Advice, Confidence, Personal Development – Tags: advice, authenticity, children, confidence, courage, family, goals, growth, happiness, life, love, parenting, Personal Development, positive thinking, self esteem
So many people think that confidence is something we are either born with or not but this is a lie! Confidence is a muscle – we all have a confidence muscle but some of us haven’t learnt to exercise it yet.
If you want tight, strong tummy muscles you go to the gym to do your sit ups, crunches, planks, and leg raises 3-4 times a week, you also watch your diet and, lo and behold, you will start to gain those tight, strong tummy muscles. It’s a tried and tested system.
Confidence is the same. You need to decide you want it, take certain steps to achieve it and then continue taking those steps to maintain it.
Deciding you want to be confident is NOT deciding you want to be better than others, or arrogant or loud or pushy or brash. People who act like this are masking their deep-seated insecurity with loud talk and competitiveness.
True confidence is about being WHO YOU ARE and being okay with that. It’s about a profound authenticity that allows you to be real with yourself and the people you interact with day-to-day. It’s about stopping the desperate search for approval from others and starting a journey of self-approval, self-management, and honest self-assessment.
Once you’ve decided you’d like some of this confident authenticity you need to get familiar with the voices in your head. We all have a loud, opinionated critical voice narrating and judging everything we do. It’s the voice that tells you you’re not good enough, that others are better/thinner/smarter/richer than you and that the future is a very scary place. It’s a voice that uses the words ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ a lot. It sounds like a critical parent/teacher and it encourages you to worry. It lives in the past (reminding you of your regrets and perceived failures) and/or the future (telling you that you have a lot to worry about).
When we are plugged into this voice we are very unconfident and lacking in self-esteem. This voice tends to live in your head and causes you to feel anxiety in your tummy or chest.
Thankfully there’s another voice inside you though, and this is your voice of wisdom and truth. It’s the voice you would use to talk to a child or a wounded/grieving person. It lives in the moment, it accepts everything that’s happening and it encourages you to respond (not react) accordingly. This voice sounds like a wise, calm elder. It lives in today and when you listen to it you feel calm, able, and quietly confident.
When we are plugged into this voice we operate at our most authentic level because we are listening to truth and wisdom, not fearful lies. Your wise voice tends to live in your deepest tummy or to the side of your head.
The best way to transition from listening to the critical voice of fear (un-confidence) and start listening to wisdom (confidence) is to write down the narrative in your head. Spend a few weeks nightly jotting down for 20-minutes what the critic says and asking your wiser self what it might say. Once you’ve done this for a while you will start to notice in the moment when you’re listening to the critic throughout your day and you can, in those moments, ask your wiser self for an alternate thought.
The more you notice when you’ve been caught up in fear and then ask for an alternative thought the stronger your confidence muscle will become. From here it’s a case of daily maintenance. You will already be much more confident from doing this work because you will be flooding your brain with truth and love, not fear and lies. But you’re human and you’ll get caught up in old thinking sometimes so, when you do just notice, unplug from fear, plug into wisdom, take action and move on with your day.
This article first appeared as part of a series for the Legacy Shift initiative, a membership site that helps parents write a book to their children that is packed full of helpful advice. You can visit their site here: www.legacyshift.com