Enquire Now

How to Mindfully Develop Your Self-Confidence

Why focus on self-confidence?

How many things in your life would you be doing differently if you were thinking and acting from a place of deep self-confidence? The capacity for authentic self-confidence offers many benefits, for example we become more creative and expressive, we find access to greater capacity for focus, mental stamina and energy, we experience greater peace of mind, and we experience life as fundamentally enjoyable and playful.

What is self-confidence?

We will all have our own ideas of what self-confidence is, but the definition I normally work with (following Nathaniel Branden’s definition of self-esteem) is that self -confidence consists of two distinct parts:

  • Self-worth – The belief that I am worthy of happiness, pleasure, enjoyment, well-being, success & so on and..
  • Self-efficacy – The sense that I have the capacity to be successful in the face of life’s challenges. Even if I currently lack the skills to be successful in a particular task, self-efficacy is a confidence in my ability to learn those skills as and when necessary.

If you lack a fundamental sense of your self-worth or of your capacity for self-efficacy, then your self-confidence is going to be built upon shaky ground!

Mindful methods for developing your self-confidence:

With the above definitions in mind, we can then start to adopt a multi-faceted approach to developing self-confidence, here are a few suggestions:

1. Connect and nourish your present self-confidence – No one completely lacks self-confidence, look for times and places in your life where you have felt and experienced self-confidence. Revisit them mentally, take an inventory of them, recall how it felt. Then look at how you can translate those experiences into feelings and attitudes of self-confidence in the face of your present life challenges.

2. Know what self-confidence feels like in the body – Practice holding your body and feeling it in a way that communicates confidence and self-assurance to your mind. Our posture is often communicating all sorts of messages to us psychologically, so we need to take advantage of this rather than being victimized by it!

3. Make friends with the parts of you that are not self-confident – As the famous Gestalt therapist Fritz Pearls said ‘As long as you fight a symptom it will get worse’ (I recommend meditating on that sentence for a long time!) Open to and get close with your fears, your vulnerabilities, the parts of you feeling fragmented. Care for them, experience them, open to them, allow them to become the basis of your self-confidence, rather than the things you are trying to escape from by developing your self-confidence. This needs careful thought, reflection and experience to understand, but it is super-important to get right!

4. Find role models for your self-confidence – Find real life examples of people who are appropriate and inspiring role models for the type of self-confidence you want to have. Study them carefully and draw conscious inspiration from them.

5. Do something each day to engage your self-confidence – Do something manageable each day to test and develop your self-confidence experientially and in real-time.

6. Practice mindful framing – ‘Last month I was depressed, and this month I’m still depressed’ sounds like a bit of a failure. ‘Last month I was very depressed and although this month I am still depressed I feel less depressed, and there have been days when I have actually felt good’ sounds like progress and a cause of boosting our self-confidence. How we frame what happens to us mentally is crucial in terms of whether we experience something as supporting our self-confidence or not!

Conclusion:

If you want to make this article a practical exploration, you could take one of the above six suggestions per day as a point of mindful focus for the next three weeks or so. See where it takes your own experience of Mindful Self-Confidence!

Giving “Grey”​ a Chance !!

The toughest thing to deal within life aren’t the mistakes we do or even repeat, not even the heartbreak or obstacles we face, the toughest thing to deal with is our own rigid attitude towards things, people and situation.

We expect everything to be either black or white, whereas the color grey wins it all at the end of the day. A coin has two sides, and both sides defines it’s value, a day comprises of morning, as well as night hours, and both together makes up a day! Similarly any person, thing or situation always holds two perspectives which together mark their existence.

It is not important what do they bring for us, what stands important is what we ask of them. They will anyway offer what they have got to offer; we need to be careful and sensible of how we accept and then what we choose. But our acceptance shouldn’t be for either black or white, we should always find place for the color grey. Good will be accompanied by bad and bad would always exist in order to make us understand what good is.

Accept it all, and then choose wisely what seems more convincing for you. Accept the person, thing our situation completely with all the existing black and white, let them blend and be grey, then choose whether you would want a shade darker, or a shade lighter would do. As that would define it all.

Dealing Mindfully with Anger and Conflict in your Relationships

Dealing Mindfully with Anger and Conflict in your Relationships

How can you deal more effectively with anger and conflict in your life? Here I am referring specifically to the anger and conflict that you experience in your outer relationships with other people. Below are some pointers for becoming more mindful in this area. This in turn will then naturally start to suggest practical ways you can be more successful dealing with the challenges presented.

  • Observe the way in which you currently experience anger and conflict

Ask yourself the question: What is my current relationship with anger and conflict, both within myself and into relationships?
Bring to mind a time when you have been angry. What happens when you get angry? How does your body start to feel? Practice mindfully creating anger in your body and mind, and learn to relax into it, without being panicked by it or forced into a reaction. Get used to holding anger in your body comfortably, letting it flow.
Similarly, bring to mind a conflict you have in your outer relationships right now. Observe how you feel in the face of another person’s anger, disapproval or aggression. Practice mindful holding your own space and breathing with the experience of conflict, so that when it happens in real-time, you are not panicked or intimidated.

  • A working definition of anger

‘Anger is a powerful emotion centered around issues of justice and fairness’. In its negative expression it is incredibly destructive and dangerous. In its positive expression it can be a powerful cause for order, justice and good in the world. ‘Positive anger’ might be thought of as simply the benevolent expression of justice and fairness in the face of malevolence or aggression. There is a lot to be gained from working to transform your own negative anger into positive anger.

  • Working with conflict in your relationships                                                                                                 Once you have done a little contemplation around Point above, here is a short exercise you can apply to any relationship you may have where there is anger and conflict. Firstly, consider the situation from three perspectives –
    1st person – I/mine/ours – What is happening in this situation from your personal point of view? What are you feeling?
    2nd person – the other(s) – What is the other person/people experiencing? What do you start to see if you mindfully take their perspective for a period of time?
    3rd person – It’s, objective – What do you start to see if you take a more objective/detached point of view, outside of all the personal stuff?

Based on your insights from these three perspectives then decide ‘Am I going to’:

  • Change myself/adapt to the other person/people, (maybe not worth the hassle to confront?) or
  • Try and change the other person, or take a stand for what I feel is right (genuine issue if justice, and or ‘worth it’)?

Finally, having made your decision, strategize! Use your natural intelligence to come up with a way of approaching the relationship conflict, communicating skillfully in a way that you think is going to give the best result!

Experiment with small conflicts
Small and relatively insignificant conflicts are great places to start working with the above methods. Finding ways to gently work with conflict, anger and confrontation in minor situations helps you build the skill and confidence so that when something big kicks off, you are able to hold your own and enjoy learning how to articulate your own power in relationship conflicts.