Our brain loves holiday mood and it loves a good challenge. In our attempts to protect us from life, our parents might be removing any sources of stress from our life at a young age. And there, in the warmth of our family home, we feel safe, we feel confident and we feel loved. These feelings are not eternal, just as we can’t recreate those ‘perfect’ environment ever again. Adulthood comes with a wake-up call: it’s hard to be confident. But this statement doesn’t help us, doesn’t reveal how we can overcome the challenge. Confidence is brought by doing something uncomfortable every single day. And once you go back into holiday mode, just as those love handles reappear, self-confidence vanishes. Look at the level of confidence today to understand how much effort you’ve put in today in overcoming your boundaries.
Have you ever dreamed of walking up, getting ready in 30 minutes, entering an audience of 1,000 people and delivering a candid, funny, yet meaningful speech? With some people fearing public speaking more than they fear death, it’s so much more important to consider exercise and preparation ahead of every task, big or small – but more importantly if there’s something that we’ve never done before. The first step is, in this example, to practice not just the speech, but the delivery, the room, reactions, joy and fulfillment beforehand through the power of imagination. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and the product of our imagination, which is why worrying scenarios feel so real. So do yourself a favor and put yourself in positive situations by starting with what’s happening inside your mind.
Confidence isn’t confrontation or stepping on someone else to feel high. It’s walking with grace knowing that whatever happens you’ve got this. It’s the inner battle, the wishes and the doubts, the effort and the failures that lead to success. They all build confidence when we make sure that we don’t hurt others in the process of getting big. At that point, the illusion of confidence is just that, an illusion.
When was the last time you sacrificed your way of being to please others? It might be when you decided to change your hairstyle for someone else, to gain or lose weight, to grow into a certain passion just so you can fit in. Whatever it might, we often are not aware of how fragile we truly are. Although change and influence can work for the best, it has to come from a place of growth instead of the opposite.
What long-lasting change would you like to see in yourself? Write it down on the board. Then plan. What would it take? How would that make you feel? Is it worth it?
Why can’t we seem to be able to overcome our conditioning? It may be our laziness, tendency of judging other people or our attitude towards money. We come into this world untouched by the world of ideas and biases, but by the time we realize that we can think for ourselves many of us agree to what has been fed to us. What we hear at an early age is limited by our exposure to people. We will most likely be around family and people in the community, maybe some mainstream tv that feeds the narrative of the masses. If you’re looking around you and you see people placed in different bodies with similar identities – it’s not an illusion, it’s what happens when we stop growing.
Being poor and staying poor is a puzzle that not many of us can understand. But the discourse of consumption is so dominant that it leaves no room for thinking that we can be on the producer’s side. What we ask of ourselves is what we get and for that reason, we need to be truthful to our dreams and expectations of ourselves.
Setting our expectations high will allow us to reach there. If we can’t see the finish line with our mind’s eye, we won’t get there. Meeting our expectations of ourselves means asking enough of ourselves to push us forward and to believe possible. But if we were kept in a state of passive living, it may take a big leap of believing in ourselves that will allow us to be pleasantly surprised by our unexplored potential.
Regardless if we have children and young adults in our lives, molding people doesn’t stop with age. Walking into our first workplace, we all had to make adjustments. Maybe you were told that we laugh too laud, dress informal, speak too formal, or that your green hair doesn’t match the neutral tones of the office furniture and of the people that came with it. Or maybe you were made to feel aware of all these things.
There are situations in which people want to sculpt our identity and take away our confidence, pride, humor or just that little something that is so personal to us that it would mean taking away a big part of who we are. And they have the power of doing so, if we allow them.
How can we prevent identity loss? It takes introspection or self-reflection. The genuine nature of who we are will allow us to form honest relationships. That’s the part of who we are that we must preserve. We might be part of a group of people for a specific amount of time, but if we easily change who we are that will take away our ability to resonate with other people. Who will you resonate with if you are less of yourself and more of what others want you to be?