Have you ever felt like your confidence has evaporated into the ethers? What once seemed like simple decisions become monumental feats, requiring every once of your strength to accomplish.
Recently, I was in this exact situation. It felt like my years of confidence fell away, like the petals of an aged rose. “How could this be possible”? I asked myself. What had once come naturally and easily, now took my sheer willpower to face and achieve. It felt like the very foundations of my self-confidence were cracking and crumbling away without warning or reason. I felt helpless as I watched my dreams and plans for the year fade away with my inaction.
Finally after months of spinning my wheels I decided to uncover the source of my lost confidence. Each morning as I walked along the beach I kept asking myself the same question, “How did I gain my confidence in the first place”? Was it something internal, like the feelings or beliefs I had about myself? You know the feeling you have when you know you are good at something and it brings you joy.
Maybe it was the external feedback I received from other people, or my life experiences? Such as those times when you’re told you’ve done a good job or made a positive impact on someone’s life.
Have you ever thought about where your confidence comes from? Does it come from within you or is it something that you receive from external sources, such as your family, friends or work colleagues?
So one morning as I was walking, it came to me that genuine confidence is an inner knowing and experience based on my relationship with myself. It is based on accepting myself as I am right now, without judgment and criticism. I had spent way too much time comparing, judging and criticising myself and as a result my self-acceptance had been severely eroded. If I didn’t accept myself why would anyone else? The first step to accepting myself was to embrace the totality of who I am without leaving bits out because they didn’t fit in or weren’t fashionable. The second step was to humble and genuinely accept ‘who I am’ in the here and now without all of the preconceived expectations, the ‘should’ and should nots’ that I’d been carrying around in my head.
A huge part of my self-acceptance was to finally allow myself to be okay with me! I realised that if I was okay with myself, then I would be okay with my life choices and decisions, instead of doubting or criticising these. If I was constantly criticising my choices and decisions there is no space for self-trust to grow. We all make mistakes or decisions we wish we hadn’t. The key to developing self-trust is to learn from these and make better decisions and choices next time.
How long have you been holding back from chasing your dreams? Like putting your hand up for a job promotion, risking a career change or starting again with a sea change? Developing self-trust has helped me to believe in myself and take the risk to be different and stretch my comfort zone in the pursuit of my life dreams.
What happened next was quite amazing. As I developed my self-acceptance and embraced the genuine beauty of who I truly am I began to trust my decisions, choices and actions. I began to feel a deep knowing that ‘I am enough’. I am ‘good enough’, ‘worthy enough’, ‘smart enough’, ‘loving enough’ and ‘beautiful enough’. All because I am me. I realised that there was so much to value within me that I had overlook because I kept looking outside of myself. I was measuring my value by an external set of criteria someone else had set, partner, family, society and felt pressured to live up to it. It was time to be okay with the unique, and quirky, me!
Have you felt the pressure of living up to a set of standards or rules that someone else handed you, yet they have no connection to who you are or how you choose to live your life? Whether these came from your family, friends, peers, society or the media, they can dictate how you accept, trust and value yourself.
As I worked on building my self-acceptance, trust and how I valued myself my confidence grew. I began to trust my intuition and inner wisdom as my internal guide. My life choices and decisions began to be guided by my inner knowing rather than external circumstances or people. I felt my courage grow inspiring me to chase my dreams and dare to be the person I’ve always wanted to be. My new found confidence propelled me to stand up and speak out about what mattered to me the most.
The biggest insight that I gained to help me build genuine rock-solid confidence is that it must be a daily practice until it is a part of who you are. The more I practiced the greater my confidence grew. Cool!
So let’s create a quiet and peaceful place where you can fully immerse into building your confidence. You may like to sit up in bed, sit in a meditative position or in your favourite arm chair. Maybe you would like some background music or simple quiet. Begin by taking three slow breaths. Inhale slowly and steadily and then release slowly and steadily. Each time you breathe out feel yourself relaxing. Bring your awareness to your heartspace and allow yourself to gently connect with your inner self.
Reflect upon your life and contemplate your unique qualities. What makes you unique and special? Maybe its your honesty, kindness or gentle nature. As you contemplate these qualities consider what is about yourself that you genuinely accept. For some people it may be they accept they are a nurturing person that others turn to for comfort. For other people it is their deep rooted integrity that shines through situations. While for others it may be their generous nature where they freely give of their time to others. When you are ready write down three qualities that you accept about yourself. For example ‘I am kind-hearted’, ‘I am generous’, ‘I am caring’.
Return to your meditation and reconnect to your heartspace. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy being surrounded by the love within you. Contemplate upon your life and consider the times in your life you trusted yourself – your choices, decisions, and actions. Think about how the made you feel. Allow examples to enter your mind you may even see images of events. When you are ready write down the successful choices and decisions you have made in your life. How have these improved your life? Write down three things you trust about yourself. For example, “I trust my integrity”, “I trust my inner wisdom”, “I trust my ability to find a solution”.
Again, when you are ready return to your meditation and reconnect to your heart space. Begin to see images of events in your life where you valued yourself. What did you think? How did you feel? What are the unique qualities that you value about yourself? What feedback have you had from other people about how they value you?
Write a list of three ‘I am …….. enough’ phrases (e.g. “I am good enough”, “I am worthy enough”, “I am smart enough”). Take action and use your favourite ‘I am enough’ phrase as your daily mantra.
After much soul searching, I developed these daily practices to inspire you to develop your own rock-solid confidence. I would love for you to share these daily practices with those you love!
I believe in you. I believe in your brilliant LoveLight. Let it shine brightly for all to see.
Copyright 2017 Illira Margaritis