Do you believe that confidence is just something that some people have and some people* don't have?
*You, that you do not have
Spam Filter for Your Brain Episode 17
Do you believe that confidence is just something that some people have and some people don't have? If you're in the latter camp there, you're probably also someone who thinks that they just happened to be someone who might not have it.
Just looking at the way that we treat confidence as an external object that is bestowed upon particular humans, I think, can be a really interesting way of us looking and assessing how we feel about ourselves, how we speak about ourselves, and how we conduct ourselves out in the wider world.
What can be really interesting about this sort of externalising of what we believe confidence is when we think it's something out there that the lucky people win with the lottery tickets. Perhaps we were not one of those people; we can also think that it's something given to us rather than something from within.
Confidence is an emotion, and that emotion comes from our thoughts on this. This knowledge can be really liberating because we can choose what we think.
If you have listened to a few of these other episodes, you know that this is my theory that we can change how we think. But it could be easier to say than it is to put into practice for sure. But it is a practice.
If you have some abstract thought that you haven't come across often in your life, let's say a log cabin made of purple smoke (that's the first thing that comes to my mind). The first you hear it, you might think it's just a ridiculous clump of word salad. That's not a real thing. But if you spend 5 minutes a day thinking, oh, a log cabin made of purple smoke, look, the cabin made of purple smoke, say to yourself, have a little make-up, a little jig to it. Sing it to yourself whilst doing the washing up, and write it out a few times like Bart Simpson on the blackboard in the open titles. You could cross-stitch a log cabin made of purple smoke.
After a few times or a few days, or a few years, depending on how ingrained the thought is, you can start linking these neurons in your brain each time you think of them. I imagine it to be a bit like putting a tiny spider's web between the two electricity poles, creating a tiny little thread of connection. And the more you repeat a thought, the more there is a connection between these two points in your brain.
And that might sound like a weird thing because you might not want to think of a log cabin made of purple smoke in the woods. But what if that thought was something a bit more useful? Like "I'm confident in the decisions that I make", "I'm confident in my body", or "I'm confident that I can make new friends easily".
These thoughts may also initially sound like words salad, or you may have a whole load of other ideas that bubble up like, "Oh, that's all very well for other people", or "That's not me", or "That's not the kind of thing that I would think". But actually, we can train our brain to think whatever we want to, and what magical about creating new thoughts by choice on purpose with diligence and continued effort is that the more that we practice these thoughts, the more that we get to associate them with ourselves, and the more that we get to feel the reactions to these thoughts within our bodies.
So if, for example, you have a very well-practised thought like "I'm just not a confident person", that's probably going to lead you to some feelings along the lines of feeling quite insecure, feeling very vulnerable, feeling a bit anxious, maybe feeling quite exposed, probably feeling quite unsafe. Whereas if you spent some time practising a thought like "I'm someone who's willing to try to have some confidence", or perhaps "I'm someone who would like to have more confidence", or maybe something like "there are some areas of my life where I feel quite confident". All of those thoughts get you very different emotions, and all of these thoughts become slightly more accessible the more that we practice them.
So rather than thinking of confidence as just something outside of us or something that other people get, with the luck of the draw or lack of genetics, luck of family, or societal circumstances, what kind of things would you like to be moving more towards that would help you feel safer in your life, in your body, in your surroundings, in your relationships?
Where can you bring more confidence to how you feel about yourself? What are some of these thoughts that could get you there?
If you'd like to learn more about and do some of this stuff? I'd be delighted to help.
And if you want to make a little salad bowl of thoughts that you want to dip into and have a little snack on whenever you feel like you need to get your own little boost, the more often we practice these things, the more they become available to us.
I wish you confidence for your week, thoughts that guide you there, gentle steps that don't feel out of reach, and then much self-care.