On Confidence

confidence (n.) [kon-fi-duh ns]

For those of you who don’t want to approach the subject of confidence, it’s too painful or too abstract, no worries.  You are sitting on a gift of great magnitude and fortune.

For those of you who have mastered confidence and are operating within it’s glorious, healthy boundaries, congratulations!  You are what we need more of in the world, and I cannot say thank you enough for how you bless the rest of us.

Although the exact subject of confidence has only been on my radar for a few years, it is something I know about intimately.  Mostly because I did not practice it as a child, and therefore walked into my young adulthood with an enormous desire to do good things, and not much self-esteem to back it up.  My first encounter with true confidence was through my brother who happened to be born with it in spades.  He just always knew who he was and what he wanted, and that mystified me and also enraged me.  I didn’t understand where it came from or how to get it.  And I didn’t even know what “it” was.

Looking back, I now see that having to learn confidence from the ground up was one of the greatest gifts life could have bestowed on me.  In fact, if you want to learn something, find someone who had to figure it out one little step at at time.

Often, when people have a natural gifting they do not know how it works and therefore can’t teach it very well.  That’s not a judgement, just an observation.  We all have greatness to share, and greatness comes in unending forms.  Bottom line, if you have a “confidence problem” consider yourself one lucky son-of-a-gun.  Cause you get to figure it out, and from that learning you have the potential to know it in a very deep way.  And in that depth, my friend, is where all the really good stuff resides.

This post will probably end up being a series, because who can write 1000 words on confidence and get to the bottom of it?

Maybe someone, but that gal ain’t me.  Yet.

So, I’d like to share a few resources I’ve found valuable in learning what healthy confidence is and how to go about incorporating it into your concept of self.  What I do know for sure is that confidence is a gift to the world (see first paragraph).

We are often taught that confidence might propel you into a state of over-blown narcissism, but TRUE, real, powerful, transformational confidence is regal and lovely and vulnerable and fun to be around.  We want to follow people who know who they are and believe in what they say.  Our concepts of confidence need a big overhaul, if you ask me.  If we continue to believe that true confidence will ruin us, we will not be able to make the changes we desire in ourselves and the larger world.  (And, if you can’t tell, that’s my total and complete obsession – making huge, freaking lovely changes for the better.  We cordially invite confidence to the party.)

What is Confidence?

This answer will develop and change (and hopefully deepen) over time for each of us.  In order to figure it out, though, we need to start with the definition from dictionary.com.  Cause that’s what you do, right?  Start all research on dictionary.com?  Duh, of course!

confidence[kon-fi-duh ns]

1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing: (including self, I daresay)
2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:
3. certitude; assurance:
Start with the Obvious (ie. Cultivate Low Hanging Fruit)
Ok, so the definition of confidence makes you sweat a little, and you don’t know why.  Start playing games, and name the obvious.  For example: “Look at me!  I just chewed my food!  All by myself!  Well, gosh dang it, I guess I can do things!  I’m really good at that chewing business!  And, for that matter, look!  I just walked across the room on my two legs!!  I’m amazing!  I did that all by myself!”
You think I’m joking?  Of course I’m joking, but not about doing this wonderful exercise.  It’s so ridiculous that you will HAVE to laugh at yourself and that will bring light and ease to your mind.  I double dog dare you to try this one.  Go ahead, get brave and do it with your singing too!  Ahem . . . . la,la,la, . . .  “Dang, girl, look at you!  You just sang that whole 2 bars all by yourself!  You learned that whole passage and sang it right out of your mouth!  You did that!”
So fun.

Find You a Mantra

I have to throw in a few Southern language funsies every now and again.  So, find YOU a mantra, grrrrl.

There are some that rock the boat, and will help ferret out any limiting beliefs and parts of yourself that don’t “believe” in your goodness yet.  I’m going to list a few here with their referral sources.  Here’s how they work:  pick one, say it no less than 200-300 times a day.  I mean it.  Over and over and over and over again.  For a month at least.  Write it on post it notes and place it on . . . your bathroom, locker, computer screen, other bathroom, car dashboard, fridge, and spice rack.  This is a good place to start when you don’t know where else to start.  And ain’t that the thing?  Just doing something to get the ball rolling?

  • I am enough. (Marisa Peer)
  • I approve of myself. (Louise Hay)
  • I love my voice. (You)
  • My voice is beautiful. (You)

Manufacture the Feeling of Confidence

Research now shows that posing in “confident” postures will help you feel, well, more confident.  I teach this simple technique to my young students on the regs ’cause they can be utterly silly with it and simultaneously get results.  It also doesn’t require any emotional plumbing, and we all know sometimes ain’t nobody got time for that.

Here is a life-altering TED talk on choosing body language for confidence by Amy Cuddy.  (Hey, Amy, thank you, no seriously! thank you for CHOOSING to be a confident, brilliant, shining star.  Mm, mm, mm!!  Yes!!)  Hope all these things at least spark a conversation in your own head or with your students.  Cheers to real confidence, everyone.

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