I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “confidence is an inside job.” Well, yes, it is. As exasperating as it may sound or feel sometimes, the path to building and gaining confidence is primarily an internal process. Despite perhaps being led to believe otherwise.
Building confidence is a process of spiritual healing. Linked intrinsically with self esteem, confidence reflects the extent to which we believe in ourselves, including the decisions, judgements and capability to manage different situations. Low self esteem and low self confidence are to some degree related, acknowledging that confidence can be projected as a learned behaviour to compensate for low self esteem. Both these scenarios and further nuances in existence however, crystallises the underlying root of self belief anchoring both confidence and self esteem.
The spiritual process of building confidence is wrapped around authenticity. Accessing authenticity can bring up many blocks and obstacles that show up as perceived low self confidence. Oftentimes these are emotional, mental and spiritual in nature as a multitude of dimensions including early childhood and adolescent experiences.
From an early age we are on the receiving end of a feedback system that contributes to our internalised view and belief about ourselves and the world we live in. Many times our authentic responses may have been shut down, ignored, denied, or rejected and we learned to do and be otherwise as a result.
Reclaiming your authenticity has everything to do with your self confidence. Getting back in touch with yourself, through the layers of conditioning that you unconsciously or subconsciously armoured up with is a process that is healing by nature. There will be discomfort along the way as you let go of things that no longer serve you or are preventing you from feeling truly who you are, however the return is invaluable.
Confidence in your whole self
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” –Cicero
Messaging from cultural and societal levels teaches us that to be confident is to succeed in life; indeed there is truth in this. Confidence and self esteem go hand in hand and this is not to be underestimated in the impact one and both have on our life. The key aspect that gets overlooked is the inner experience of low confidence and low self esteem; the majority of focus tends to be on the outward result. Hence the external measure of success.
From an early age and growing up in modern day society there are implicit and explicit social norms created that to succeed is to achieve, acquire, win and possess (mostly) material based goods. The inner piece on how individuals are doing internally is completely overlooked, however it is one of the defining aspects of confidence. Where there are insecurities, the cracks will show at some point as patriarchal messaging also denotes that to be confident is to not appear in touch with feelings and intuition as judged (collectively) as potential areas of weakness.
In a new unfolding paradigm, confidence is being supported and celebrated as an inner piece vital to success. The definition of success here however has also been adjusted to a very different world view. Self confidence speaks directly to where confidence is born; within.
Acknowledging that each individual undergoes a personal journey with confidence that is a reflection similar to that of self esteem. Healthy self esteem is rooted in an acceptance of oneself, able to assert and express oneself, as well as take personal responsibility for all words, thoughts, feelings and actions in one’s life. From this place, a natural, self assured confidence begins to flourish.
Getting in touch with authenticity
The internal beliefs we hold about ourselves, the world we live in and the people we surround ourselves with combine with that which we form as a personal and interpersonal viewpoint. Raising awareness of your own internal beliefs begins an extension outwards to perceptions of your environment, family, social connections, culture and society. These are influencing factors that correspond to our levels of self worth and confidence.
In all my years of personal and professional development, growth and healing I’ve come to define authenticity as the extent to which we feel safe enough to truly express who we are. To be authentic is to dissolve filters and beliefs, that mostly reside in the subconscious, that inhibit the expression of thoughts, feelings and behaviours we would otherwise wish to express. A subjective, internal journey is required to examine, understand, accept and transform outdated belief systems that prevent authenticity of our highest expression.
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ― C.G. Jung
What prevents us in the first place from expressing ourselves fully? A culmination of past events and experiences that resulted in self censorship and adaptation in order to avoid the consequence of pain or suffering. Namely, facing the prospect of rejection or abandonment.
Our subconscious holds the beliefs, thought patterns and habits of past experiences of when we experienced a threat to being accepted and loved unconditionally for who we truly are. As real as this threat appeared, the perceived threat felt and experienced meant that survival adaptations to our well-being were activated and an adjustment was required to regain a sense of ease and balance. The trade in? Authenticity.
The journey of reclaiming authenticity is therefore rooted in discovering the limiting beliefs still in place that block your true self from shining through.
A process of spiritual healing
Whilst emotional well-being is linked to mental, physical and spiritual well-being, an important aspect of emotional well-being is to consider the general day to day experience of feelings and emotions. Acknowledging that the indicators of poor emotional health shared above are not exhaustive, nor in isolation in and of themselves, they are indeed interrelated to overall well-being. A crucial factor for restoring emotional well-being is supporting one’s ability to manage and cope with difficult and challenging emotions and feelings that arise as a result of situations, relationships and life experiences (life stressors included).
Regulating the nervous system is a component to emotional well-being that supports one’s ability to manage and cope with feelings and emotions. A dysregulated nervous system inhibits one’s ability to deal with emotionally challenging situations for example. The fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses are trauma responses to perceived threats that send our nervous systems into dysregulation.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi
Whilst the layers of reclaiming self confidence, self esteem and authenticity can be worked on from the mind with techniques of mindfulness, rewiring conditioned responses, habit patterns and learned behaviours, the emotional and spiritual aspects are an integral part of holistic healing and well-being. Remembering that confidence is rooted in one’s internal belief and ability to cope with situations and circumstances in life, the emotional and spiritual layers are threaded into this too. Emotional and spiritual resilience are needed to lend support to overall health and well-being.
Without flow and ease in day to day life with self expression, in voice and relationships, blocks in authenticity arise and dampen the spirit, literally, lowering self confidence too. The process of spiritual healing is to unlock and transform low self esteem and begin a process of nurturing yourself towards wholeness where self confidence naturally flourishes within you. A connection to something that is greater than you, or ego level of consciousness, enables a relationship to exist that reminds us of our spiritual nature; that we are experiencing life in the present and have access to much more than the physical, material based world.
Awakening to our true selves, on a soul level, provides an opportunity to authentically be confident; something we all desire on some level. Confidence comes as a by-product when we are in touch with the essence of life; an unconditional energy of love that is expansive and life-giving. Life truly is happening for us, not to us and leaning in to this innate wisdom opens up deeper trust in oneself, gives more meaning in life and ultimately reconnects us back to Source.
Be confident and you will shine authenticity
When you feel aligned in who you are, confident in yourself, the outer expressions of self confidence radiate from the inner spark that is grounded in a deep knowing of self worth. When you feel comfortable in your own skin, i.e accepting all of yourself, including the parts you sometimes wish weren’t there or visible to see in moments of automatic reaction states that later you reflect were not necessary or misaligned, confidence begins to show tangibly as well as authenticity. The less filters, self judgements, criticism, comparison that are present in the conscious and subconscious layers, the more your authentic self has space to express freely.
Self censorship occurs as a result of past experiences, usually perceived and internalised as negative, such as rejection, denial, disallowed, disowned, discouraged, to name a few. Those are some of the layers that trap authenticity in its natural expression.
Confidence and authenticity go hand in hand with inner work; personal development and healing past wounds, traumas and dysfunctional learned responses and behaviours that are still impacting your life today. This can show up as low self worth, feeling insecure, self conscious, unable to make decisions, procrastination, seeking approval from others rather than choosing, and trusting what is best and right for you.
You may already be aware that you are holding yourself back somehow, or wish for more confidence to pursue your goals and desires in life. A choice to support yourself may require also reaching out to gain support from a group, coach, counsellor, therapist or inspiring friend. There are various personal development and healing modalities that can support you on your journey. Inner child work, cognitive behavioural therapy, personal coaching (voice, mindfulness), health, nutrition and fitness guidance, well-being practitioner, psychotherapy and many more.