Let Go of the Fear and Shine With Confidence
In my previous blog I gave you two strategies to help recover your confidence.
- Change your environment, your friends, your peers – the people you spend most of your time with, if they are undermining your confidence.
- Act as if you already have confidence in the area you lack it.
These two things will help you handle your current situation. But how do you handle your past? How do you get out of your head the memory of situations where you have been laughed at, teased, put down, and times when you have fallen short of your own or others’ expectations.
The three most harmful emotions are shame, blame and regret.
- Shame is being ashamed of something you have done – feeling that you shouldn’t have done it. In some way you have not lived up to your own or other’s standards. You may even feel ashamed to be yourself.
- Blame is putting the cause for something onto another person – not taking responsibility for yourself. By blaming another, we give power to that person.
- Regret is a way of turning something back on itself by wishing it hadn’t happened. Regret is harmful because we are trying to wipe it out by going back to it in our minds. It’s a case of intending to do something good and we did bad instead. By playing it over in our minds we are trying to erase it, but it doesn’t work, it just keeps us trapped in the past.
These three things – shame, blame and regret – all from the past, will undermine confidence in the present.
In order to be truly confident we must let go of the past and the negativity from it, and be truly in the now. That way we can ‘be’ the person we are and live in the moment – the best way to be energized and the most effective way to remain confident.
Sure, we may still make mistakes, say something that doesn’t come out the way we want it to, but if our intentions are good, we are clear on who we are and we speak sincerely from the moment, then the message we project will be accepted, or at least respected.
Sure, it sounds easy, but how do we clear the mind of these negative and harmful thoughts that jump up at us when we are least expecting them?
In my case, I read a lot of personal development books and went to courses, and even did some ‘processing’ (therapy) to help me get clear of negative thoughts and emotions and to forgive myself and others for incidents in the past. It can take a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to if the willingness is there to let go of the baggage.
Awareness that we are carrying baggage is the first step.
Awareness is an energizing and magical thing. It’s like a small ‘Aha’ moment, when we can suddenly observe and recognize something that we haven’t acknowledged before.
A simple exercise
- Write down some of the things that are holding you back in feeling confident in certain areas.
- With each one, observe as if you were another person, particularly taking note of your role in the incident. Be as detailed as you can about when the incident took place and where, what form it took, and particularly your own role in it.
When I did this with the relationship between my father and myself I could see that his intent was good. Years later he was shocked to find that his behaviour towards me had held me back.
It only held me back because I allowed it to – I gave my power away to him, and I continued to allow memories of the past to hold me back for years. It wasn’t until I had a good look at the situation that I realized I was using my insecurities to punish him and myself. I was making excuses for my failure, and giving my power away.
Moving on from the past
After I did my teacher training, many years ago, I became confident in front of my classes of small children, and even in running the junior school assembly. With encouragement from one of the other teachers I took my turn playing the piano for the assembly too. I knew that the children were not critical, and as long as I kept them entertained they would respect me, and give me their attention.
However, expressing my opinion at teacher staff meetings was a different thing. I experienced all the symptoms of extreme nervousness: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, inability to think clearly and express my thoughts in words. This came from my past experience, the shame, blame and regret I was holding onto.
A Speaking Club
When a Toastmistress Club was formed in my small town, I became one of the founding members. By facing my fears, standing up in front of adults and expressing my opinions and ideas, I became more confident in speaking up at staff meetings.
What I implemented to develop confidence were the following:
- I changed my environment, my friends and my peers
- I became aware of what was holding me back
- I took steps to clear my mind of the shame, blame and regret that were limiting me
- I began to Act as If – and joined a group that would allow me to practice doing this.
- I faced the fear of speaking up, to
- I became proud to be myself and responded in the moment, without allowing the past to affect me.
- I acquired a Fan Club
I will speak more about #7 in my next post.
I still belong to International Toastmasters, and this wonderful organisation has enabled me to go from strength to strength in speaking. I actually enjoy and am energized by standing up in front of a group of people when I have a message to deliver, and I have even learned to speak in an entertaining and sometimes humourous manner.
In my next post I will reveal more strategies to gain confidence and energy.
What strategies have you used to gain more confidence. Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below to add your successes or share your opinions.
Live with Energy
Visit: http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’