The impermanence of our feelings… August 7, 2014 – Posted in: Confidence, Personal Development, Spirituality – Tags: , , , , , ,

As part of a recent Confidence Building Workshop, the delegates and I were discussing what confidence is and also what it isn’t. When I wrote the following statement on the board, “Confidence isn’t permanent,” there was a collective sharp intake of breath as light-bulb moments fired off across the room. This statement proved to be very powerful as it freed the people on my course from thinking that in order to be a confident person they had to feel confident all of the time.

So let’s look at this because I don’t think anyone feels 100% confident 100% of the time. For example, I’ve been a mum now for 9 years; I have three daughters and a foster son so I would say I feel pretty confident as a parent most of the time. However, when one of my kids is having a hard time or is displaying difficult behaviour I can start to question myself and my parenting abilities. In other words, my confidence takes a knock until I notice what’s going on, speak kindly to myself, get support, take action and remind myself that life is full of ups and downs. Does this blip mean I’m not a confident parent or not a confident person? No! It means I had a moment of self-doubt.

In my work as a coach and through my own personal development I’ve come to realise that positive states are never permanent. However, what’s amazing is that once we’ve learnt how to create and maintain a positive state we then know how to return to it when we need to. Positive states (confident, happy, resourceful, empowered, content etc.) are internal muscles we need to work on and develop like our physical muscles. Aristotle said that, ‘we are what we repeatedly do’ and so if you train your body you’ll develop physical muscles and if you train your mind you’ll develop strong emotional muscles. Ones that don’t age…

Freeing yourself from the pressure to feel confident all of the time also gives you the permission you need to develop your confidence rather than seeing it as an ‘all or nothing’ state. Even the most confident of people have moments when they waiver – usually when they are facing a new challenge or experiencing a new emotion. But, I would argue that these people know from experience their feelings are impermanent but that they always have a choice over which feelings or states to linger in.

This blog post first appeared as an article in my Life Column in The Bath Magazine.

« Co-dependents and control freaks
The 7 [thinking] habits of really unhappy people »