“Without self-confidence we are as babes in the cradle.” – Virginia Woolf
Would you like to have more self-confidence? Chances are your answer is yes. A lot of people want more self-confidence. And a lot of people would benefit from having more self-confidence. But how do you get it? Ah – that is the question. After all it’s not something you can go to the store and purchase. (Unless of course you believe the implicit promises in cheap beer commercials 🙂 )
Rather it is a way of thinking, acting and being in the world. And a tricky one at that, because just like a window, when it is whole and clean you don’t notice it. But let’s start by looking at what it’s like when it’s not there.
First off when someone lacks self-confidence it often is really about wanting a guarantee that someone else will like them, or what they do. And for sure, this is one of the false lessons society teaches us well, to always focus on what others think. In school we write an essay about our summer holiday, so that the teacher may grade it. Your peer group will have any number of opinions on the clothes you wear and how you wear them. And the media – you are already well aware of the difference between life on TV and life in your life.
But there is another way.
Whose standards are measuring up to?
I like to sing. And I truly enjoy singing. Sometimes other people don’t enjoy my singing. Sometimes people will tell me that I got a tone wrong. “Wrong”!?! As if they knew what a right tone is. In fact the right tone is the one I sing. I sing because I enjoy it. It is as simple as that. And the tones that go with the singing I enjoy are therefore the right ones. And in a similar way, sometimes people will tell me that I got the lyrics wrong. Nonsense I say. The words I sing are exactly the same as the words in my head!
It is a bit like the world wide fear of what the Italians think. Personally I enjoy latte. And I have no restrictions regarding when I enjoy a latte. I can drink a latte in the morning, during the middle of the day or during the evening. Now some people take great pride in pointing out that this is “wrong”. Yeah, right, wrong according to whom? – Wrong according to the Italians! Because in Italy people drink Latte only during a certain period of the day. But so what! It’s like their reasoning goes: the Italians invented the latte, so they get to decide who can enjoy their latte when, and you better not upset them by enjoying your latte at the “wrong” time of day! Now seriously, I highly doubt that Italians are bothered by the fact that I drink my latte at any hour 🙂
You may know that I am also a writer of Haiku poetry. And yes – I am both proud and pleased that some of my Haikus have been selected to be included in the world haiku anthology. But there is no way I could have written them if I had been attempting to write them for the redactors of that anthology. I would not even have known what their standards were. When I write, I write for myself. When I find that a Haiku resonates within me – when I like what I see on the page in front of me – then I have written a good Haiku. No matter what anyone else may think it is something I like.
And we hope that a similar drive is the foundation for how you live your life. That you live it for yourself. Not for someone else! I mean, what would be the point of that? That they like you? – What could they possibly give back to you which would be more valuable than living your life for your self?
So. One of the secrets about self-confidence is hinted at in the first half of the word. It is about self and not the others. It is about what YOU think.
I mean, if you walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself at a party, and they reject you, all it really means is that they don’t have very good taste. The sooner they reject you, the sooner you figure this out, so you don’t have to waste time spending it with someone who lacks taste. Be grateful for every rejection! And imagine their surprise when you smile knowingly, thinking about all the years you won’t have to spend with them, as they reject you!
Through mistakes you learn
Another way to temporarily disturb your natural inborn self-confidence is by focusing on the risk of not getting it right.
The fear of making mistakes. And unless you are some master who fell from the sky you will make a lot of mistakes as you learn. In fact the only real mistake would be not to make mistakes. The most successful among us are often the ones who make the most mistakes. (The trick being to discover and fix the mistakes, and to make cheap rather than costly mistakes)
If you have spent time learning NLP or some other discipline devoted to learning how to learn, you know that some of the most valuable lessons are the deep, deep knowledge that you can learn, the understanding that what many call mistakes are just steps along the way, and that once you understand this you can start enjoying them.
And timing is everything. At the very least it is 1000 times more important than perfection. It is better to say something, anything, on cue. Than to allow a long awkward pause in order to figure out the “right” thing.
With this in mind, may we invite you to take some time right now and during the forthcoming week, deeply considering what you think, what you find fun and amusing, what you find valuable and important, what you are willing to stand for even when the outside world is against you, and what you find entertaining, never mind what others think.
And to spend some time enjoying things that you enjoy doing without caring about if you do them perfectly according to some outside standard.
Sending you oceans of love
Your always perfectly perfect NLP trainers
Lidija & Thomas
Upcoming NLP trainings in Brussels and USA
We would like to invite you to join our Internationally accredited NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner trainings in Brussels
and USA. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lidija Markovic Rosati – ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach, Hypnotherapist and Psychological Counsellor.
Thomas Björge - ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach and Designer of New Code Game ‘Arrows’, to be featured in Dr. John Grinder’s upcoming book.