One of the questions I get asked a lot is, ‘Michael, how do I build my self-confidence?’ I love this question because it’s something I wrestled with myself for quite some time and not for the reasons you might think.
I have a slightly different slant on confidence these days. You see, in the past, I used to think that it was a skill of some sort that I needed to get better at… a bit like training your muscles at the gym. The more you work them, the stronger they get. But I found that I was looking in the wrong direction.
Let me explain.
There are two types of confidence that I have come across. The first comes from the knowledge that you are good at something like the work you do, a hobby, or something that you have no doubt you are good at.
This type of confidence is what I call ‘experiential confidence’. It comes from that part of you that is connected to your ego which feels comfortable around a particular role, task, or behavior. The challenge with this type of confidence is that it belongs solely to the mind and the mind is influenced by so many factors.
One of those factors can be a change in circumstances. Many years back I had an experience where I lost complete confidence in my ability to find work or make money after I was unexpectedly retrenched from my high paying job. It took me several months to recover from this experience, yet one simple thing like losing my job had basically destroyed my so-called flamboyant and happy-go-lucky personality.
In reality, my confidence had not gone anywhere. It was still fully functioning and waiting patiently inside me for me to acknowledge it. The only reason that I didn’t experience it was because my mind was now stuck in a spiral of fear, instead of its usual state of calm and balance. That’s how powerful the mind is.
That brings me to the second type of confidence which is by far the most powerful and also the hardest to lose. In fact, once you master this level of confidence you’ll never doubt yourself again. Best of all, it doesn’t belong to the mind – it belongs to you.
So, how does it work?
The best way I can explain this is to talk about self-worth. If you believe that you are fundamentally okay as a human being and you know in every cell of your body that you deserve to happy, healthy, and fulfilled, then your self-worth is intact. If you don’t, then your self-confidence will most likely only ever be superficial at best.
Wherever you lack self-worth, that’s where you’ll find that a lack of confidence appears in your life. The good news though is that when you increase your self-worth, then your confidence automatically increases.
Self-Confidence Made Simple
So how exactly do you increase your self-worth so that you value yourself more than you currently do?
That’s the simple part. You focus more on what’s right about you, than what you believe to be wrong with you. If you spend twice as much time reminding yourself that you love and approve of yourself regardless of what’s going on in your life, then you will double your confidence in no time flat.
I used to think that because I was fit, strong, healthy, had a good job, and had great friends that these things helped with my confidence. But when I lost all those things and all I had left was stress and anxiety I knew that my idea about confidence was a fraud.
Once this dawned on me I knew I had to start looking for the truth about what confidence was really made up of. This simple shift in focus helped me to get started on the most empowering journey of my life.
Before I knew it I’d spent a bunch of time and money on personal development programs, seminars, workshops, books, and retreats. As a result, it became crystal clear to me that all my self-confidence issues were limiting or negative beliefs that I had given power to since I was born.
Once I understood this, then the solution became obvious. I just needed to stop giving my power away to old patterns of thinking and feeling, and the way to do that was to make friends with those parts of me that lived in doubt and fear.
I did this by doing 20 minutes a day of mindful meditation. The focus of my meditation was to just sit and watch whatever thoughts and emotions that came up, and instead of judging those I didn’t like, allowing them to be okay.
This was a very gentle way to start letting go of any judgments I had on myself at a subconscious level. They beautiful part of this technique is that the longer you sit in non-judgment of yourself, the less you start to believe in anything limiting or negative the mind has to say.
I did this meditation each morning and in the evening I would focus for 10 minutes on what I was grateful for about the day. The combination of these two practices was incredibly powerful in helping me to develop a new relationship with my inner-self that was based on acceptance instead of judgment.
If you are looking for something right now in your life to help boost your confidence levels, then start with self-acceptance. Once you stop judging yourself and pushing down things that you don’t like or aren’t comfortable with, then your natural confidence will rise up to the surface of your mind and body.
We don’t ever have a confidence issue, we might think we do but that is never the case. We either experience love or fear. If we are experiencing love, which can also be experienced as happiness, peace, or feeling centered, then our confidence is naturally there – we don’t have to do anything to make it appear. only have love or fear. When we choose love over fear, then our confidence is unwavering. So next time you find yourself judging that you lack confidence in any area of your life, stop for a moment and notice that thought and whatever emotions come with it, and then accept them and let them go.
But if we are experiencing fear, which is also experienced as doubt, anxiety, worry, of feeling uncentered, then until we resolve the fear then there is no chance for confidence because our mind is telling us a story that we are lost in that keeps us from feeling powerful in our lives.
When we choose love over fear, then our confidence is unwavering. So next time you find yourself judging that you lack confidence in any area of your life, stop for a moment and notice the thoughts and feelings you are having, and then accept them and let them go. They’ll only hang around if you aren’t willing to let them go.
You can double your confidence with one simple act of choosing to accept yourself instead of rejecting parts that you don’t like. It’s all part of you. And the sooner you make peace with yourself, the sooner you will fall so deeply in love with life that you’ll wonder how you ever doubted that you were born to be happy, healthy, and free.
Self-acceptance is the key to happiness and inner-peace. If you were to do nothing else with your life but focus on accepting yourself exactly as you are then everything you ever dreamed of would magically start appearing in your life.
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