In this episode I reflect on what confidence is and how I got the opportunity to learn about confidence through an experience.
Life is very interesting. Last week I was surprised by life two times. And you might call it that life teaches me lessons, but maybe it was already something happening in my mind and my attention was pulled there.
First lesson was: You judge something, until you experience it yourself.
I went to the shop called DM, where people buy medicine and self care products. And while I was going through the shelves of cold medicine, I said, "How boring! Every winter you automatically get cold." The next day, I started coughing and sneezing and my eyes started running: I got cold and I needed to rest for one full day, and then I took things slower. It was interesting. I was judging people for easily catching cold, immediately I got the invitation to experience it myself and to see how it feels.
The second learning was, again, about an experience I thought I did not understand. I was talking with a friend and a coaching client of mine and she said she wanted to get coaching on confidence and if possible would like to work with a group. I said, I would love to be of support and wanted to look into it first. I let it marinate a bit and I was reflecting on my own experience of confidence. I thought, "Hmm, I'm not really sure if I know what it feels to be challenged with confidence." Of course I have my own anxieties, but I could pinpoint exactly how that felt. But life showed me. Last week I was coaching a client in German, which is my second foreign language. While I was coaching him, I recognized that I actually was talking from a very high pitch. I was also struggling to to call him with the informal you even though that was our agreement. And I noticed: "Ah, That is a moment of confidence. Actually, maybe a lack of confidence." In that moment I recognized myself as a little girl as my sitting was different: I made myself smaller. On my face was the expression of a cute little girl who was asking for care and pity. I was struggling to find the right words in German language. And that struggle put me in a place of "Let me protect myself in this moment from possible threats", "Pity on me that I'm here little and I'm not able to find the right words". As I recognized this, I sat up straight, confident, open, and immediately my feeling changed and then the conversation changed.
That was quite an interesting observation on myself. I recognized that moment of lack of confidence.
And that probably was something automatic. In that moment of being challenged, in that moment of struggle to find the right words, I felt I was in a vulnerable place so I looked for protection. Animals also do that when they are sick. They hide themselves because they are vulnerable. I was doing the same thing but in a different way as I couldn't hide under the table (I had once escaped to bathroom though - it was my first presentation at the university). I made myself small automatically. and as I gained awareness of my body and my voice, I could shift that and I could gain back my power. I didn't have to think "You are right now so tiny and small and you are looking so unconfident, just pick yourself up and show up in a professional way." I didn't have to do it because I recognized my body posture and changed it. And it was enough. I heard my own call, I turned towards myself, opened myself to my own experience.
I think part of confidence is this ability to open up to what's coming in that moment. When you are totally open, your body is open. you stand or sit straight, you are grounded on your hip bones if you are sitting or on your two feet on the floor if you are standing, an automatic sense of confidence comes. I could experience that in that moment, and I could experience it right now. But, of course, don't take my words for it as my teacher Susan Piver would say. Don't take my word for it, please experience it for yourself. The moment you recognize your lack confidence, or the moment you recognize your body reacts in ways that you are surprised about maybe even afraid to experience, notice softly and plant your feet. Sit up or stand up however you are. Get into a posture of openness and power that you have, that you are, and see how it develops from there. And it might be possible that the feeling of lack of confidence comes over and over again and that's the practice every time you notice. Notice it softly. Focus on your experience and change the body posture and see how it affects you.
That is what I learned about confidence: how we can direct our attention to the experience, change our body posture to our innate power and confidence of being a respectable, valuable human being in this world: this means being you, being human. You don't have to do anything to be valuable, you don't have to be anything else than human. And when you are in that posture, you can automatically feel that, I hope. Or, curiously look for it how that feels for you, how is the shift for you.
I believe in the past what created my lack of confidence or problems with my self confidence was not believing in my own experience. I believe, that voice in my head that judged how I felt, that told me I should have felt differently in that moment was actually my reason of lacking confidence. Now, I can recognize the difference.
I'm working on it. I'm definitely not perfect and I have moments of "What's happening here?!". But I think there is a power of being "the first person of trust" to yourself. For example this morning I had anger. I felt angry to the world. I had things that I wanted to do and I couldn't find time for them. Instead everything was asking my attention: the cats were wanting food, I had to prepare the breakfast, I had to help for a phone call. I wanted to do these things I listed too but I mostly wanted to sit down and write. And I couldn't do it for so long and now I just wanted to shout to the world " Aaaaaaah! Leave me alone, give me space!" Is it right to shout at people? Probably not. Is it right to get angry? Yes. Because I feel angry. Who will benefit from me rejecting that I feel angry in that moment? I can suppress it. And what will happen then? It will come, maybe double, triple in moments that I really don't want to feel angry. So instead, in that moment, I expressed that I felt angry. I also told my husband Fabio "Now I feel angry with the world. And I go between anger and helplessness and beating myself and, aaaah!" And the moment I said it I noticed the space between all of these things: There was a space for humor, there was a space for nothingness, there was a space for creativity. I could see everything. And that seeing was only possible through accepting first, that I felt angry because the anger itself, the emotion or however I feel was pulsing. It was there for attention. It is like my cats. They keep meawing till they catch my attention. It's the same with my anger. It wants my attention. there's something pulsing that is pointing out something important and if I turn towards it, I can see it. I can see the part of myself, that is voicing a need. Then I could first, find calm because I went to the first aid of myself. , I became the first trustee of myself and because I can do it for myself, I don't need to push others to make me feel good. I don't need to do things to make me feel good because I can turn towards myself and give myself the space to hear what it is that I need. And I believe confidence has something to do with that. I believe confidence is trusting in your inner wisdom, trusting in the signals that your body gives you, the signals that your heart gives you. There is something here that I should pay attention. I am worth to pay attention to the signals. And I can contain this, I can look into it, I can create the space for it. And I can see it because I need to be seen.
All of us need to be seen but first we need to see ourselves. Once we see ourselves we can see others truly and can be seen by others truly. There is the intimate connection between people when people express their needs saying "That's important for me, I feel I have this need and I would be grateful if you help me work with it". That's how intimacy is created, and I appreciate all the conversations where a person can express themselves freely. But first, to be able to be intimate with another person. I should recognize what it is that I need, what it is that I feel. I should be willing to turn towards myself and to look. That I believe is confidence and that recognizing the moment when I feel the lack of confidence is a practice of confidence because I turn towards myself, and I see myself. And however I feel is valuable and meaningful. The more I turn towards myself, the more I create the space for it, the calmer I will be. I will be able to see what is inside of me that has a meaning, what it is that I need, how can I create the conditions for this, to give what I need to myself, how I can express my need to other people. And also knowing that I have these needs and these pulses inside of me to show me what I need, what I am feeling right now, and knowing that I'm able to be there for myself, that I have extra space to see other things around me, to see the humor, to see other parts at the same time; I can see it in others as well. I can be compassionate, when other people have anger and other people express their needs. And that's how I can connect to others, authentically.
I wanted to reflect on it together with you. Thank you for being here. And I hope that connected with you, in a way, and maybe you could take it as a practice of accepting how you feel, being the first trustee to yourself, being the friend to yourself, believing in your wisdom, looking into your heart, seeing everything that is pulsing, but at the same time that is calm and relating to others, with that feeling.
Take very good care of yourself.
If you'd like to exchange ideas with people who want to create unique careers, unique lives, access to tools, resources, discussions, join our community.