One of the most common things I find in speaking with my clients, subscribers, and site visitors is that they are struggling with confidence and/or self-esteem. Just this week I’ve received 3 emails mentioning this, along with it being brought up in a phone conversation. I have shared a few techniques in the past on this subject, but realizing it is such a prevalent issue, I’d like to speak a bit more on the subject, and get right down to the root of the matter. Let’s talk about the real secret to confidence and self-esteem.
If you’re familiar with my materials, you may find that this circles back around to a few points I’ve made in the past about different issues. The reality is that when we address issues that deal with ourselves and our relationship with ourselves, things can be traced at the deeper level to a few simple common denominators.
Keep in mind that just because I say it’s simple, I don’t mean to minimize the endeavors that anyone reading this may be making to improve the circumstances of their life. Just because something is simple doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy. (But also, just because something isn’t easy now, doesn’t mean it can’t be easy either. Anything can be easy under the right circumstances.)
Let’s talk about confidence for a second in a specific example.
Say you’re somewhere in public, like a coffee shop, and you see someone attractive that you’d like to get to know. You’re in line checking out, you look over and notice them, maybe they make eye contact, and instantly that little reaction occurs. You know what I mean. That part of you says “oh sh**!” and you can barely hold eye contact with them. Depending upon who you are, maybe even your body reacts a little bit. You feel a little uncomfortable in your skin, and your mind instantly shifts into the “what if something bad happens” mentality.
As much as you would love to walk over to them and just be totally real and yourself, sit down and say “Hi. My name’s (fill in the blank) nice to meet you.” (or whatever your authentic self would say) you’re already so full of doubt, and layers of fear that you’re completely ready to abandon the thought entirely. In fact, you know that if you did walk over there and strike up a conversation that you’d probably come across with your own self-doubt and anxiety and make the whole interaction kinda weird. Even if you’re the type of person to be quite aware of yourself, you may feel like your reaction, your perceived lack of confidence has completely hijacked your body and mind to the point that you’ve lost control.
So you bail. After you walk out of the place, or maybe later that night, you may even beat yourself up over it, feeling the disconnect between the person you want to be, and the person you observed yourself to be in that situation.
And then, maybe, that night, or a few days later, you wind up on a website like this, reading about how to improve your confidence or self-esteem.
Why Confidence Building Techniques Aren’t Working
Well there are a million practices, techniques, and products out there that can be used to “improve confidence and self-esteem”. I’ve shared a few myself and definitely used a few as well. These can be quite helpful. But what I’m going to propose in this article is that until you get to the real root of the issue, you’re going to run around in circles and waste a lot of time beating yourself up, feeling bad, pushing against the flow, etc.
And the real issue could be very effectively dodging your awareness altogether right now. The mind can be very sneaky and self-deceptive.
So I’d encourage you to take a quick moment, stop reading and ask yourself the question, “what does being completely confident mean to me?”
- Does it mean that you can talk to anyone in any social situation without reacting or feeling anxious?
- Does it mean that you can fully express yourself at any moment when you feel compelled to, instead of silencing your voice in favor of “not rocking the boat”?
- Does it mean that you know how to ask for what you want at work, at home, in your relationships, even when you know that it could inconvenience someone else?
- Does it mean being able to say “no” for the sake of your own benefit?
- Or maybe it could mean being able to feel comfortable delegating, being persuasive, speaking in public, or doing any of those other things that “confident people” tend to do more easily than others.
It’s so easy to look at ourselves as broken and needing to be fixed when we don’t live up to our own expectations isn’t it?
And yet I’m sure you’ve noticed how circular and self-defeating this pattern can be. The constant, “you’re broken” mentality that only seems to lower your confidence and self-esteem that much more. It only makes sense. Let’s say that in that moment in the coffee shop we talked about earlier, all those thoughts you were thinking, all those feelings you were feeling, were actually some A-hole guy standing next to you saying all of it out loud to you:
“Look how red in the face you are.”
“This is awkward. You’re awkward.”
“They’re not going to want to talk to you. You’re not hot enough, smart enough, cool enough, confident enough.”
“If you go over there and sit down it’s going to go poorly, I promise.”
“Best to just get out of here and forget about it. You’re not the type of person who can do something like that.”
And then later:
“You’re not very confident. You should probably take a class or something. There’s got to be something you can do to fix that.”
“You messed up today. Think about all the opportunities you’re missing out on.”
If someone said all that to you, it’d be…kinda douchey wouldn’t it? And yet this is the mentality that so many of us have as we are “addressing our confidence issues”. We’re trying to fix something that we see as broken.
Well here’s something I want you to consider. What if you’re trying to fix something that can’t be fixed? What if you’re trying to fix something that DOESN’T NEED to be fixed? Even more so, what if you’re fixing THE WRONG THING?
You could go around in circles all day long. Yes you may make some progress, make some headway, but tell me if you’ve already been playing this game for a while and feel like you’re pushing uphill day in and day out for just a little bit of new headway.
I’d like to propose to you that your level of confidence, and your level of self-esteem has a lot less to do with what you think it does.
Getting to the real issue behind confidence
I want to propose to you that you may be looking at confidence in a way that doesn’t really serve you. I want to propose to you that confidence is an issue of IDENTITY.
You might say, “yeah duh of course it’s an issue of identity” but bear with me. To explain even more, I’m going to say that confidence issues, and issues of low self-esteem all stem from a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY.
Who Are You?
Are you the lady who gets red in the face too easily? Are you the guy who stops himself from going after what he wants because he doubts himself, or because he gets anxious to the point that he’s talked himself into believing that his own nervousness is going to ensure that he fails? Are you the person who doesn’t meet up to their own expectations? Are you the voice, inner dialogue, or inner critic that feels bad about how you don’t live up to your own expectations?
No. You’re not. And thank God you’re not. Or you might just be screwed.
Sorry ego, once again I’m going to point out that you’re not able to do this on your own, in fact, you can’t do this at all. As much as you want to believe that you can somehow fix things by being afraid, and coming up with solutions to the issues that only exist because you created them in the first place, you can’t. Once again, little fearful, self-deceiving ego, the only problem going on here is that you’ve convinced awareness to believe that it is you, when it’s not.
You must first understand that the only reason you are coming up with a solution for your confidence issues is because you created the confidence issue in the first place. And a problem can’t be solved at the same level it was created.
In other words, the only reason you see these reactions you have in social situations, or in your life in general, as confidence issues that need to be fixed, is because you believe that they are you. And you also believe that they are problems. And you resist the living hell out of them.
Now please understand, even if you are quite the self-aware person; even if you already know all of this, these types of fear-based, resistance-based kinds of reactions are still going to happen to you and it doesn’t mean you get to take this self-deprivation that much deeper and tell yourself how crappy of a spiritual person you are because you let your fear-based, resistance-based mind dupe you one more time.
Until you learn that your identity is so much more grand, so much more infallible, indestructible, and invincible than these silly little reactions, self-concepts, mental gymnastics, and emotional triggers, you are always going to struggle with confidence and self-esteem. The reason being that you believe yourself to be something that has no real safety or security. There is no real, deep, foundational security to be found in a false identity. It is not possible for you to feel safe, secure, and confident if you are identified with something that is, by its very nature, subject to change at any moment, based upon the ever-changing circumstances and conditions it finds itself in.
Just how many times in a day do you find yourself feeling pretty good, carrying on with your business, everything going the way you want it (maybe the weather is nice, nobody is bothering you (yet), your bills are paid (or you’ve managed to forget about them), and your body feels good) All of your terms and conditions for your happiness have been met, so you feel great; and then all of a sudden, one of those terms is broken: somebody says something unpleasant to you, you remember a problem with your money situation, a memory pops up that consumes you, or in the case of what we’re talking about here, something or someone comes along and makes you feel uncomfortable, or unable to assert yourself in the way you wish you could assert yourself.
And all of a sudden that illusion of happiness, contentment, or security is shattered and we’re stuck in our heads again, struggling with ourselves and our self-created conditions of who and what we should be compared to who and what we are observing ourselves to be.
Really, how many times in a day does this happen to us, and yet we rarely stop to notice just how crazy and out of control this really is. Are we not like total leaves in the wind? Do we really have any sense of control at all?
There is no safety or security to be found in an identity that is so infallible that any given set of inevitable circumstances can send it flying into a whole different type of identity at any moment. Does this make sense? We have the everything is good identity. We have the I just got out of bed identity. We have the someone just pissed me off identity. We have the I’m hanging out with my mother in law identity. And we have the I’m at work identity. And we’re so bought into all of them that we don’t realize how fluidly and drastically we shift from one to the next to the next, automatically.
And instead of realizing just how insane this all is, and taking the back door out by getting in touch with our unchangeable nature, we’ve tried over and over and over again to fix something that can’t be fixed. We are expecting this ever-changing nature of our ego-mind to somehow stop doing what we’ve observed it to do our entire lives, and magically one day just do exactly what we want it to do so we can experience the solidity and security that we need to be truly confident. Well that’s not going to happen.
When we look at it this way is it any wonder we have confidence issues?
Developing REAL Confidence
To be confident and sure in ourselves we need a sense of security. We need a sense of constancy. We need a foundation.
Fortunately we do have a foundation, a very solid, firm, unchangeable and reliable foundation. And it’s based upon some of the best things ever- things like love, acceptance, relaxation, and invincibility. In fact, this foundation is, by its very nature, completely invincible.
So how do we get there? How do we experience this foundational sense of security that enables us to be confident in any given situation?
We must learn to recognize, and identify with our True nature. And alternately, we must have the courage to let go a little of our extreme identification with the part of our mind that reacts, rationalizes, conceptualizes, and incessantly talks in a nonstop stream of inner dialogue.
So first there must be the decision to do this; the willingness and intention, if not at least the openness, to learn to see beyond the smoke screen of the mind and its reactions so we can tap into a larger more expansive identity.
Secondly, (and here is where I tell you what you might have suspected I’d tell you) I know of no better way to develop this type of awareness than through meditation.
There are many ways to meditate and many different kinds of meditation. In my opinion the most powerful use of meditation is as a tool to silence the mind in a way that you can get in contact with your transcendental self. By getting in touch with this part of yourself, and practicing the art of this level of self-awareness, we not only develop a new relationship with our True self IN meditation (which ripples out into our daily lives) but we also learn to use this type of awareness more easily and naturally outside of meditation, and, with continued practice, more specifically in those types of situations that trigger us and cause us to react.
How to use meditation for confidence
This type of meditative practice may not be the easiest thing to do at first, but it is not difficult to get started. In fact, you can get started right away. When searching to connect with our transcendental self, the miracle is that we don’t have to go looking for it. It is already right here, with us now. Our only task is to remove the obstacles that are blocking us from being aware of it, namely, the mental noise that is drowning it out.
So you can begin simply by practicing inner silence, or stillness. This may be difficult at first, but if you start small, one minute at a time, you will find that it’s just like anything else, where practice develops the skills needed to succeed.
So let’s revisit the example I gave earlier about a situation where one might feel a lack of confidence, and explain how all of this can change things for the better:
You walk into the coffee shop. It’s a normal day, you begin ordering your coffee. And then you notice him/her- the strikingly attractive person that you would love to start a conversation with. And then the internal chaos begins. Your anxiety spikes, your heart races, you start to feel awkward and doubt yourself. It seems that your confidence is just as low as it has always been.
BUT…you’ve been practicing meditation, and have begun to develop both an ability to tap into the silent nature of your mind and to identify less with all the noise and more with your transcendental, peaceful self.
At this point, as the mental chaos begins, you see it all from a slightly different perspective. As the mind and body starts freaking out, doing that thing it’s always done, you shift your awareness. The mind is still doing what you’re used to it doing, but things have changed significantly:
First, you are less identified with the whole reaction. This gives you a power you’ve never had before. You notice that you care a lot less about the fact that you’re anxious, nervous, or low in confidence. You know it’s not you, and that knowing enables you to realize that the “stakes” in this situation are not high at all, in fact, there really are no “stakes”. You don’t care about how the silly little ego responds to things, because it doesn’t affect your self-esteem anymore. You know that’s not really “yourself”.
Regardless of what you do at this point- walk over and talk to them and wow them with your charisma and charm, walk over and make an ass out of yourself, or put your head down and run out the door- you’re not going to beat yourself up over it, or feel down about it. Your confidence stems from a new sense of Self that is not so fallible as to shift because of an external situation like this.
Second, at the point the mind begins to react, you are able to shift your awareness (through your practice) to that part of yourself that isn’t freaking out. You get in touch with the silent part of your mind behind all of the reaction and chaos. This gives you a sense of stability, as you are now investing your confidence in a part of you that is NOT swayed or changeable because of circumstances and situations. This instantly gives your confidence a boost, and shifts your frame of reference internally, where you have a feeling of control, instead of externally, where you are grasping for ideal outcomes in order to feel good about yourself.
Third, due to this heightened ability to step back from your anxieties, fears, etc. even if just by a little bit, enables you a much greater ability to just watch and learn. As you watch and learn you are also much more able to just simply accept what is happening, instead of struggling with yourself. As you do this, not only do you learn much more about yourself and why you are reacting the way you are, but you also allow the energetic pattern of this whole reaction to dissipate, instead of reinforce itself.
And by doing this, you will find with time that these types of reactions, these self-doubting moments, happen less and less frequently.
And the beauty of it all is this: at this point it stops mattering to you how you act! You could walk over there with this new sense of confidence and assert yourself, and totally achieve the desired outcome. Or you could walk over there, nervous and sweaty, fumble your words, and totally fail. Or you could decide that it’s not worth your energy and walk away. At this point, you will be content and happy with yourself regardless of what happens. It won’t be an issue of self-esteem anymore. And you won’t feel like beating yourself up over not being as confident as you wish you were.
How Brainwave Entrainment Speeds Up the Process
Brainwave entrainment is a powerful tool for developing your confidence because it enables the meditative process we have been discussing to shift into 5th gear. Ordinarily meditation, and using meditation in the way we have been learning about can take a good amount of time. It’s one of the most worthwhile endeavors you could ever take for yourself, but it can take a good degree of patience.
Brainwave entrainment speeds up this process by enabling your brainwaves to automatically mirror the pattern of profoundly deep meditation, simply by listening to an audio with stereo headphones. By giving you access to these deeper brainwave states that would ordinarily take years of disciplined focus to enter into, you literally save yourself years of time and effort.
Not to say that this is the entire piece of the puzzle. Many people who sell this technology will tell you that “all you have to do is listen to the audios”. In my opinion this is not true. Though brainwave entrainment gives you a MASSIVE shortcut, the mind still requires your direction, and effort to move its progression in the direction you wish it to go. It still requires a specific type of focus, intention, and direction on your part. This is a journey that you must consciously take part in.
If you find that this subject matter resonates with you, and have any questions, remember that I am always available to contact via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Do stay tuned, as over the next period of time I will be sharing more information, and more specific step-by-step techniques and tips that you can use to further increase your level of confidence and self-esteem. In the meantime, remember that you deserve all good things, regardless of who you think you are, and where you are at in your life right now.
You’ll be hearing from me again soon.