Why does confidence seem so easy for some and yet so completely elusive for others?
Are the people we see as confident truly standing deep and firm in their own boots?
How do the seeds of confidence get planted, nurtured, and radically expanded?
First off, let’s dispel the tidy illusion that so many of the people you see walking tall are actually steeped in deep abiding confidence. A majority of what you think you see are the images people are projecting and wanting for you to see. These visions are largely smoke and mirrors. What passes for confidence on the street is usually some form of arrogance, otherwise known as insecurity dressed up in its Sunday clothes.
In the moments when you yourself are not confident, you can be easily fooled by imagery. Your own insecurity will be the lens through which you view life and people. If this is your case, you may not fully recognize the distortion until you experience points of view free from this energy-draining filter.
Abiding confidence arises through the visceral knowledge of who and what you are. Achievements and honors from the external world only build long-term confidence when they stimulate this inner recognition of your true nature.
If you don’t regularly taste this well-spring of confidence, you’re likely to be missing discipline around some form of meditative practice that actually reveals this true nature to you on a consistent basis. Consistency is the key.
One of the best practices I know of for getting a meal of Truth is meditation. Some form of daily (ideally twice daily) meditation. The most transformative forms of meditation I’ve come across are ones that encourage letting go of control and release the meditator from the rollercoaster ride of thoughts.
For this reason, I’m a big fan of active breathwork. It so quickly engages the sympathetic nervous system and alkalizes the body that the thinking mind lets go, relaxation runs deep, and the heart opens. Imprinting the mind and body to trust this opening is the biggest part of my work in revealing Truth within.
Without this constant contact, you’re lost. All that’s left is to negotiate and barter with the external world for temporary energy spikes, brief moments of respite through food, sex, shopping, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants.
If happiness and confidence are dependent on another person, place, or object, they’re not yet abiding. They’re temporary, and like all temporary things, can instantly be taken away along with your sense of self. What follows is some form of drop in energy that will likely have the hallmarks of depression.
The challenge in all of this is in cultivating enough belief in what’s possible to take actions, and take them consistently enough to have experiences of growth in confidence. Which comes back to practices that bring what’s possible right into the foreground of your direct experience.
There are plenty of people working to grow confidence. So why isn’t the work proliferating? One reason is gossip.
Gossip is an investment in other people’s energy and opinions at the expense of your own rooted sense of Self. And it can also appear as listening to and believing those niggling thoughts in your own mind about yourself or another.
Gossip is like kudzu in the South. It will spread and spread and choke out anything not like it self, sucking up the water and nutrients for miles and miles.
If you listen to gossip and engage with it (internally or conversationally), your confidence can only go so deep, your sense of Truth will be distorted, and your capacity for intimacy nowhere near what it could be. This is simply because gossip creates separation between people, and when you sow separation, you yourself experience separation.
A Course In Miracles states that “All minds are joined,” so what you do to one you do to All.
My friend and mentor David Elliott spreads a well-known magnifying glass in other words, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Gossip is rooted in a hidden fear of intimacy, a fear of repeating past hurts. The irony is that gossip sows the seeds deeply for future suffering.
Every seed must bear its fruit. Which ones will you plant and nurture?