Imagine what your life would be like if you could feel good in your own skin in every situation and at all times.
Often when we think of confidence, we think of the things we need to do to build our image. Perhaps we decide we need to master a skill, whether it be parenting, gardening, or having a worthwhile career. Sometimes we think that we need to improve our physical appearance in order to gain acceptance. Although these endeavors can be quite satisfying, enriching, admirable and helpful to us, the confidence gained from these outer changes may not be true confidence, but only be temporary fixes.
Another type of false confidence that you may aspire for is a method to break through social anxiety. Often it’s the seeking of this type of confidence that will drive a person to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana or even eat certain sugar-rich foods. The goal, subconsciously, is to block out the pain of life, and the craving is for freedom and a feeling of aliveness. The problem with these methods is evident: They are but a mere illusion of true confidence.
So What is True Confidence?
True confidence is the sense that you are worthy to be exactly where you are in this moment. It is not feeling that you have to prove yourself, withdraw to keep yourself safe and protected or to earn love. In essence, true confidence is returning to the state you were in when you came into this world, a state of love and openness—while maintaining the wisdom you have gained from the life you’ve lived.
Regardless of your past, you can start over and embrace the innate confidence that was your birthright. Have you ever see an insecure baby? No! A baby knows he or she is supposed to be here and doesn’t question his or her value. The truth is that you have value just because you are here, alive and breathing in this moment. That’s it. It is not because of what you say or do. You don’t need to earn love—you ARE love!
The Walls We Build
If this is true, why does life so often feel uncomfortable and limiting? Most people don’t feel the sense of freedom that they were born with because over time they have erected walls around themselves. Does a baby get embarrassed because he or she is crying, laughing, spitting up, going to the bathroom or expressing deep joy and love? No. But, unfortunately, people soon begin to feel pain as they grow.
For example, mommy doesn’t come to feed you right away, so you put up a brick, trying to block out the unpleasant feelings of frustration and hunger. Then, a little later you get teased on the school bus. You put another brick in our wall. Your best friend in kindergarten betrays you. Another brick goes into the wall. Your older brother or sister hurts you. One or two bricks go up. Dad and mom don’t come to your rescue. More bricks go up.
When people replay mental movies about the injustices they have incurred due to the insensitivity of those closest to them, they tend to turbo charge their wall-building skills. Each time these scenes are replayed on their mental movie screens, the bricks begin going up higher and higher. Soon they are surrounded by bricks of pain, shame, hurt and guilt.
Seeking a Solution
If the film reels are rolling in your head, the perceived “solution” could be anything that gives you a sense of momentary relief. You may turn to food, alcohol, drugs, being overly social, being busy, withdrawing, or over exercising to help distract yourself and cultivate a false sense of confidence.
As mentioned, these activities lead to the relentless pursuit of false confidence, an added predicament in which you don’t want other people to become aware of your shortcomings for fear that the love you do have could be withdrawn. So on top of wanting to have confidence so you can feel good in your own skin, you desperately seek to become confident as a way of becoming more appealing to others. For instance, it could be creating an attractive appearance and a fit body, excelling in a respectable career, marrying a good-looking and successful spouse, showing off or taking pride in your smart and creative children.
Building True Confidence
Luckily, the true confidence that is your birthright does not need to be earned, just as a tree is not only valuable in its fruit-bearing season. Even in the winter when its branches are bare, a tree maintains its intrinsic value. It doesn’t have to apologize for taking up space or for going through a season with no fruit or leaves. In the same way, even if you were stripped of all the outer fixings of your life—including your material possessions, productivity, the knowledge you have acquired, and the relationships you have developed and nurtured—your essential confidence remains.
True confidence is feeling that you are supposed to be exactly where you are and who you are.
Think of a beautiful garden filled with flowers of every possible color, size and shape. Each one adds something glorious, and yet each one makes space for the other to also express its unique beauty. One flower’s exquisiteness does not take away from another’s. In the same way, your right to exist, breathe, express yourself and be fully alive does not impinge on your neighbor’s entitlement to do the same.
Taking Down the Wall
Once you acknowledge to yourself that you desire true confidence and that nothing outside of you can give you the long-term safety and freedom you seek, you will have motivation to take down the wall. Once you see that what hurts the most is not the lack of love coming to you but the lack of love you are able to fully receive and give unconditionally (due to the wall that is supposed to be “protecting” you), your motivation to tear it down will strengthen.
Make a conscious choice to look at your wall and take it down. Every time you notice yourself becoming defensive, angry, compulsive or withdrawn, ask your inner subconscious mind to show you what’s underneath that feeling or urge. Find a photo of yourself as a baby. Close your eyes and bring that image deep into your heart. Feel what it would be like to be filled with that innocence and love again. Never mind the hurts that caused you to put up the wall in the first place.
What if you don’t need that wall anymore? What if you are safe and protected exactly as you are in this moment?
Know that everything happened exactly as it was supposed to unfold to get you to the point you are at right now in this moment. Breathe. Affirm: “I am alive. My life is good! I am confident. I exist. I embrace my aliveness with gratitude!”
Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World, The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “Easy Willpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype and in Sarasota, FL.