Thursday, March 18, 2010

Confidence or "I'm Not the Only One?" or "Nurturing the Sink Hole"


confidence–noun

1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
2. belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.
(source from dictionary.com)

Except for a few examples, almost everyone I know confronts their own waning confidence from time to time. Despite outward appearances, why do we suddenly find ourselves raking through self-doubt and climbing over thorny hedges of distrust? We can look at our lives from the outside and say, "Everything looks fine. Actually, everything looks pretty damn great," and yet here we are feeling a sink hole of despair growing in our guts. Many of us keep this sinking hole a secret because we don't want to reveal that we struggle with confidence. Why would we want to expose our lack of confidence and risk feeling even more vulnerable?

I say that it's time we share our struggles, and to expose a very common human experience, but I'll get back to that in a bit.

From an energetic standpoint, what we are experiencing when we feel a lack of confidence is an imbalance in our Solar Plexus Chakra. This chakra is the third chakra of the body, located below the breastbone, near the diaphragm. When this chakra is out of alignment, we may feel confused, have trouble making decisions, feel depressed and unconfident, and distrust our gut instincts. Sound at all familiar?

So what can trigger a sudden plummet in self-confidence? I believe each of us answers that question in a different way. For me, criticism, even when for the most part positive in nature, triggers in me a cascade of self-doubt. Perhaps my perfectionism has something to do with this. From a very young age, I noticed a strong desire in me to not only be "perfect," but also to be liked -- by everyone. Now this is not possible, and I know this, but something in my energetic body still holds on to that worry of not being perfect and not being liked. And as much as I try on a new paradigm of "not caring" what others think or how I perform, I often slip back into that thorny hedge and feel a little scratched up.

What, for you, triggers a distrust in yourself? This would be a good time to get out your journal and start writing. Write about what unnerves you, unglues you, makes you feel less than your joyous, confident self? Write fast. Go.

The first step in taming the self-doubting voice inside you is by naming it. Where does it come from? What is its story? Expose it to the light. Share it with others. When we share our vulnerabilities, I believe this makes those around us give gargantuan sighs of relief, as if everyone's energy is saying, "thank goodness I'm not the only one" and "you, too?"

Conversely, have you ever been in a room full of people who are holding tight to their confidence, as if on a leash, and you can tell they are so fearful to let go? Letting go means admitting human vulnerability. Letting go means understanding what's really at the end of that leash -- is it true, authentic confidence or an act of preservation, of saving face?

The thing is we don't need to feel miserable about ourselves, but if we do during moments when we are out of alignment with our sense of personal power, it's okay to explore it, admit it, and even "go" with it. Instead of fighting your feeling of distrust, go into it. Dive in and explore it. Who are you in there? What does it feel like in this place of low self-esteem? Is it rigid and cold, murky and moist, dark and cavernous, dizzying like a teacup ride? What is at the root? Tug at that root a bit to understand it. Then take a deep cleansing breath, taking in all your self-loathing or self-doubt or even little minuscule unsettling feelings, and incinerate them. That's right: burn these feelings that don't serve you and breathe out their remnants as invisible smoke. And instead of wishing them away, transform them. Breathe out peace or love or hope or confidence or calmness.

Acknowledge + share + explore + breathe in + incinerate + transform into something lovely.

Do this as many times as needed until you feel yourself lighter. You may notice that your diaphragm is able to expand and contract fully and deeply. You may feel a glow inside you, similar to the sun. You may feel more love toward yourself and others. You may experience forgiveness.

Whatever you feel, I hope that you know that you are indeed "not the only one" and that you begin to feel inner peace replace that sink hole. Maybe even a sunflower will sprout there.