What is confidence and where does it come from, and how do you get more of it?
People are always looking for ways to increase their self-confidence to go out into the world and do something different or behave differently.
Confidence, anxiety, and stress are the most common reasons people reach out for help or contact me. Often it's that their confidence has hit an all-time low, or they have never had the confidence to go for the things in life they truly desire.
Many people might want to have more confidence to apply for a better job or go for a promotion, and for others, it may be to be able to feel less shy in social situations.
Whatever the reason we want more confidence, it's true to say that almost everyone would like to have more confidence at some point in their life.
Confidence isn't something you need to find or get or build up. Confidence is something we already are; it’s something we are born with. It’s innate within every one of us from the moment we are born until we die.
When a baby is born, they are not born unsure of themselves or worrying about having the confidence to reach out through cries or giggles to receive attention and have their needs met. Or whether they are using the right tone in their cries or laughing to get what they need.
Definitely not! Babies are born with innate confidence (or faith/trust) that it will get exactly what it needs when they cry or giggle. They don’t attempt to control the cry or giggle. They allow it to flow through them. Confident that they will get fed, have their nappy changed and get a cuddle if they do what comes naturally.
Babies unconsciously know that intelligence flows through them, and they act on that intelligence with faith and trust.
If you look around at nature, that same intelligence is working all the time. We never question whether the sun will rise today or whether it will set, nor do we need to look for anything that will give us the confidence to believe that the sun will rise and set every day of our lives until the day we die.
We are confident, and we know that it will because that's nature; that's how it works.
But as we get older, we start to buy into the idea that confidence is something you acquire over time, maybe with practice or experience.
Confidence becomes conditional.
And these conditions are all set by outside factors.
Once I get my hair done, I will feel more confident to go out, or when I lose weight, I will go for that job. Yet our hair or our weight has nothing to do with confidence.
Confidence is an inside job; it's who we already are before getting caught up in all the unhelpful thinking we have about ourselves.
Confidence shines through when we become less self-conscious. When we no longer compare ourselves to others or measure ourselves against standards set by ourselves, our family, our social circle, our culture and the world around us.
When we attempt to grow our confidence by conditioning ourselves to look or feel a certain way, we pressure ourselves and attempt to control our environment. As soon as we do this, our innate confidence shrinks.
We shrink our lives and say things to ourselves like, “I need to get more confidence to start a business; maybe if I go on a course or lose some weight, I'll get the confidence I need to do that thing.”
So we stop showing up in our lives, waiting until we are ready. Until we have more confidence.
We start doing things to alter our image because we believe if we look better, we will feel more confident. And what happens when that becomes unsustainable, as it almost always does, then our confidence starts to dip again, and we are back to feeling insecure and self-conscious.
And our confidence dips and falls to an all-time low.
Or maybe we decide, "I will nail my confidence this time", and we start to embark on using mental strategies to think our way into being confident. Using positive affirmations and techniques that promise to increase your confidence. You start to “Fake it till you make it” or use visualisations that promise instant confidence.
And these are all great strategies and approaches until they no longer work, and again you begin to shrink your life.
And these are what I call conditional confidence. As long as you are doing these things, then you will be confident. It's a little bit like conditional loving; I will love you as long as you make me happy.
Confidence is innate within every one of us; we are all born with it.
When we are present and not caught up in a mindless state of fear, hurt, or anxiety, confidence is something that flows through us.
Confidence comes from who you truly are, not who you think you are or have grown to believe you are.
When we remember that, we let go of all the thinking that leads us on the path to feeling less than or lacking in some area of our life.
So how do we be "more confident?".
When you can drop beneath the self-conscious and unhelpful thinking about yourself and become more present and allow your innate wisdom to flow through you, all you need to do is to start to show up to your life.
When you have faith that this inner intelligence will come through no matter the circumstances and move you forward, you don’t need to worry or try to make it happen. The confidence to move forward will happen all by itself.
Letting go of control and trusting that you have everything you need inside, and all you need to do is to be more present with life. Be more mindful and in flow with this universal intelligence and allow it to move through you.
As you begin to do this, your confidence will innately begin to shine through, and you will be inclined to do things or take action on things that previously had conditions attached to them.
My top tip for unconditional confidence is to keep asking yourself - "Where does life most want me to show up" or "Where do I most want to show up in my life?"
Then move towards that and have faith in the intelligence that is guiding you to that place guides everything and will create the conditions for us to experience whatever it is and move us in the right direction.
If we are being called to action in some particular area of our life, we already have all the resources inside us to meet that call, including confidence.
So whatever you are being called to do today, even if you think you need more confidence to achieve, move towards it, and the confidence you need will shine through with every step you take.
If you would like help or support, you can reach out to me here to book a free discovery session or come and join us over in one of our Facebook groups, Avril Gill Coaching or Dissolve Your Anxiety, or follow me in IG for guidance and support.