If you’re like me, your greatest challenge to expressing yourself honestly, and thereby living your most authentic life, is your own lack of confidence. Most people are uncomfortable with conflict, especially within family relationships, so they “go along with things” they may not believe in or support for the sake of keeping peace between the people with whom they are the closest. As our culture evolves, and people learn that suppressing their truth causes everything from mild depression to addiction to disease and death, we are finding ways to get support to live our truth and stand our ground, making our lives happier, freer, and healthier, but this can be scary. Sometimes even the best support fails to keep us steadfast when the pressure to go along with something we don’t agree with is strong.
Living my truth is tested regularly as politicians promote agendas that harm people, drug addiction causes upheavals in families, and systems of belief vie for our attention. I have found that these days more than ever I need to embrace confidence in my truth, or my self-doubt will destroy me. Situations where my self-confidence wavers often leave me full of fear, anxiety, fatigue, anger, sadness, you name it, all because I simply lack the self-confidence to take a stand on what I believe in, and hold to it no matter how things turn out.
Defining self-doubt and confidence can be tricky, so it’s important to understand clearly what they mean. Self-doubt actually stems from a good quality, as it leaves us open to changing our view on something when we are lacking the information needed to understand it fully, but too much self-doubt can leave one empty as we dismiss our opinions to please others. Confidence should not be confused with stubbornness which stems from the fear of changing a belief. True self-confidence is having the courage to align yourself to what your quiet voice is telling you is true despite how painful, uncomfortable, or scary it may be. It is a fluid state of mind, open to adjustments that new information brings to the situation, but secure in the current point of view.
During one particularly sleepless night as I was struggling to release my fears and relax, I decided to imagine I was completely confident about everything I was doing in my life. I didn’t have to believe I was confident, I just had to imagine it. As soon as I did this my self-doubt vanished, and I was completely relaxed. I realized that both confidence and self-doubt could not exist within my psyche at the same time, and wondered how I could fill myself completely with confidence, leaving no room for self-doubt in the future.
As I lay in bed pondering this dilemma, the idea came to me to actually try to conjure confidence for myself from cosmic energy, and to do it by creating a painting. It is common to state an intention before doing things like yoga, so why not do the same using paint and canvas to harness the energy of self-confidence from the universe into our souls.
Equipped with paint brush, paint, and canvas, I dove into it with enthusiasm, slashing the canvas with bold colors, dotting it obscurely, dripping water by mistake, pounding out patterns, throwing caution to the wind, and all the while asking this action to capture energy from the universe and fill my soul with the confidence I was born with, the confidence that had eroded as life took its toll me, as it does us all.
It worked! Not only did the act of creating the painting instill confidence in me, but now every time I look at the painting I am reminded to be confident. It started as a simple feeling of pride of my accomplishment, and grew each day, as I became clear and secure in my feelings. The painting became a strong visual image I could use to connect with the truth deep within.
An amazing thing about self-confidence is that once you feel confident about something without wanting reassurance or validation from anyone or anything, you become a magnet for circumstances and assurances that support your view. It’s as if the act of becoming self-confident causes the situation to go your way.
So find a way to conjure up some self-confidence for yourself by setting it as your intention when you do something. You can do it when you do yoga, paint a picture, go for a hike, whatever works for you, because believing in yourself can move mountains. Don’t be surprised if you experience strong emotions as your confidence grows because confidence is built on truth, and truths that can be hard to accept are often realized during acts of intention. You know what you know, and believe what you believe, and living that truth is not only the best way to live, it honors your soul and purpose on Earth. You heal yourself as you heal the world by listening and respecting the quiet truth of the universe. Of that, I am confident.