It is a beautiful October afternoon. The sun is shining and the air is soft and slightly cool. Fall's cool transition to winter is a bit soft and slow. The vibe is a bit summery and a bit aloof. As I sit in the glow of the day I think back to a conversation I had with a patient a while ago. The conversation centered on the word confident. This person wanted to feel confident. That word choice leads me to wonder about its root meaning. As I looked it up, it made a great deal of sense to me. The root of the word comes from being loyal and having faith. It makes sense that if one is loyal to oneself and has faith in oneself and in something larger, that would lead to a sense of personal confidence.
Usually, when I hear someone described themselves as having confidence it sounds a bit arrogant to me. I really should look up the root of arrogant. Yet as I take in the root meaning, it is far from what I think of as arrogant. Confidence comes from a deep knowledge of and compassion for the self.
As I think about it, am I loyal to myself? Do I have faith in myself and in something larger? Like most of us, yes, I sure do, and no, I really don't; at different times. What does it mean to be self-loyal? I think of it as being similar to being selfish in the best contexts of selfish; taking care of oneself first. It means thinking, doing and feeling what is truly in the best interest of the self. Of course, that also means having a good sense of self which most of us are in different phases of working towards. Having faith in oneself also makes me think of trusting oneself before trusting another. There are so many instances where I and I see others also, putting our trust in others; a leader, a guru, a mentor, a teacher, a parent, a spiritual teacher, and so on. We have to do this when we are very little children and growing up. Putting our, or having our unconscious faith in our parents and caregivers is necessary for our very survival. As we grow up and lose our childhood innocence, it is then necessary for us to retrieve that faith and to have it within us.
Do you know of someone who you would describe as confident? How would you describe that person using adjectives? The people I think of in this way is Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. To me, they exude what I would call confidence. They have wit, they speak with quiet authority, they stand strong in their body language, they believe what they are saying and they stand up for themselves and others. Adjectives I would use to describe them are: strong, having humility, intelligent, unafraid to speak their truth.
When I think of myself, I know my underpinnings too well to describe myself as confident. I know my critical voice. We all have critical voices inside of us that undermine our self-worth and abilities. I am confident in my work, most of the time. I am confident in my ability to learn and grow. I am gaining confidence in doing what I think I am here in this world to do. I am gaining in love for myself with all my flaws and faults. I realize that in the process of attaining self-love and acceptance, I have also gained the same with my parents. I continue to work at seeing them clearly and appreciating their good parts and parts which I admire as well as their shadow parts which I don't especially like and which gave me so much trouble growing up. It is funny in the sense of ironic, that as I appreciate them more and let go of what I really don't like in them and in me, I seem to like myself more. This goes along with my having more confidence in who I am as a person. As my confidence continues to grow I become more fully whole and vital. This is my goal for me as well as for all the people I work with. What a great gift it is to be and feel whole and vital.
Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life
Take a minute for yourself and think about whether or not you consider yourself confident. Where, if any place, in your self and life, do you feel confident and think of yourself as confident? Where in you and in your life do you feel a lack of confidence?
Now, ask yourself the same question regarding your parents. How and where were they confident, if at all? Of course, this is all in your personal perspective. Where are or were they not confident? How does this correspond with yourself?
Now write down what you noticed from this exercise. Next, write down what two steps you can do to begin and/or continue to gain a sense of confidence and acceptance in yourself?
This is yours and yours alone.
My soothing words of wisdom for the week is about enchantment: