Four cures for the low self-confidence blues

by | Sep 10, 2010


Have you ever had one of those days when your confidence takes a nose-dive and you’d as soon hide under a bush as put yourself out there?

Who hasn’t?

When you work for yourself, you need self-confidence to promote your work. At the same time, it can be elusive for the very reason that you and your work are so closely identified. When your mood drops or you don’t feel well, your confidence takes a hit.

So the question of the day is, how do you summon the confidence to do what you need to do to get clients and do your best work, even when you aren’t feeling so great?

Confidence is multi-dimensional

Confidence is not something you have or don’t have. It’s something that arises from the interplay among states of mind, body, emotions, and spirit. That sounds complicated, but it has a very simple—and hopeful—implication.

Because confidence arises from multiple states, you can self-generate it by shifting any one of those states. That means you can increase your confidence by working with the state that is easiest for you to change.

Change your state of mind with inquiry

One way to change your state of mind is to notice automatic thoughts and ask if they are true.

For example: You don’t have what it takes to talk to people about your work. Is that true? Can you absolutely know that’s true?

When you detach from an automatic thought and question it, it loses it’s power to define you and what you can do. You can compare the story that emerges when you believe a negative thought with the story that emerges without it.

Often, this comparison leaves you with the realization that your negative belief is just not true. With that realization, your state of mind shifts, and your body, emotions, and spirit tend to follow.

You end up feeling more confident.

Change your state of body with changes in posture and expression

Sometimes it is easier to shift your body than your mind. This is especially true when you feel attached to a belief. Though it sounds funny, we all have times when we just don’t want to let go of a negative thought.

A simple way to shift your body is to notice what’s going on while you are in the non-confident state. Without trying to change anything, notice your posture. Notice the expression on your face and the tilt of your head and neck. Become aware of how you are holding your arms and legs.

When you have a clear sense of what that’s like, make a few deliberate changes. Shift into what you imagine a confident posture looks like. Play with wearing a confident expression. In general, imitate a confident person.

This can feel really weird at first, like you’re faking it. But just try on this new body state to see what it’s like. Notice how different things look from this new way of being in your body.

If you choose, you can keep evoking this new state. It doesn’t matter if you slip out of it. Just return to the posture and expression of confidence. A few repetitions will make a lot of difference.

Change your emotional state with sound

Lack of confidence is like the soundtrack of an unhappy movie. And you can literally change that soundtrack by playing upbeat music.

What’s upbeat for you will be unique. I love the first movement of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as well as just about anything by The Beatles or Aretha Franklin. What’s important is that you choose music that makes you feel good.

Change your spiritual state with meditation and prayer

One reason for low self-confidence is believing you are the sole source of the good you do in the world. Because we’re all limited beings, that’s exhausting.

To shift your spiritual state, take a break to connect with a greater Source. Allow your sense of inadequacy to be the opening through which Source can infuse your spirit with energy and inspiration. When you experience yourself as a channel for a higher power, your confidence in your ability to do something is bound to increase.

Start anywhere, but start

You can shift into a more confident state with any one of these methods. If you start with one and get stuck, play with another. It’s important not to fight with yourself, but rather to invite yourself into a different way of being.


Photo by MJM via Flickr