It’s not a complicated topic. You feel it. You get stuff done. Right? Tap into the feeling and you’re there. Easy…
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Feelings change. Circumstances change. So do the perceptions of what you need confidence for. For example, someone makes an offhand comment to you at work and suddenly you find yourself questioning if you can do something that was previously straightforward. It feels difficult, disheartening, and a struggle to get things done.
Positive change happens too. Learning to drive is full of fears and nerves and doubts, and yet after a couple of years driving you don’t even need to think about it. A stay-at-home mother may worry about returning to work, but after a few months of juggling job and family it feels easier again, enjoyable even.
What is happening here in these instances that can help us to understand how to cultivate confidence in our abilities?
First let’s think about how we learn. Something that is new and familiar to us demands our full and conscious attention. We have evolved to be alert to what is new in case it is dangerous. That may account for why learning something new can be tinged with fear. Once we start to become familiar with the processes of this new thing, our minds begin to assimilate basic aspects of it. What once demanded our full conscious attention starts to be moved, piece by piece, to the part of our mind that operates automatic behaviours.
There are many many things done automatically by our unconscious mind. For example breathing. The beating of your heart. Blood flow. We do not have to think about these or many other things. They just get done. Similarly, many mental processes occur automatically. Your morning routine is likely to be very automatic! As is knowing the route back home from work or school. So shifting a behaviour from our conscious awareness to unconscious processing is one part of the puzzle in building confidence. Using hypnotherapy to visualise and practise new experiences in the safety of your mind supports this move, and encourages a positive feeling of confidence.
Then there are our perceptions of who we are and what we can do. This is intimately linked with our self-identity, and in some cases, our self-worth. In the first example above, perhaps the person believes that their own opinion only counts if others accept it. A negative offhand comment contradicts this belief, and their self-perception changes for the worse. To them, the evidence undermines their confidence.
In another example, someone who learns to drive does not have the exerience of having successfully driven, whereas a seasoned driver does. The evidence that they can drive is sufficient for themselves to perceive themselves as being able to drive. Likewise, while returning to work may be fraught with new concerns about being there for her children, a working mother soon discovers that she and everyone is able to fit in to the new routine. The evidence proves it.
For someone with a low sense of self-worth, the evidence doesn’t always make a difference. A person who believes they are ugly will discard a compliment, saying perhaps that the other person was just being nice. Or another person who believes they are not creative will dismiss a successful home improvement, saying they were just following a pattern for example.
These underlying beliefs and self-perceptions can both compliment or distort our actual experiences, and can dramatically affect our feelings of confidence. While we don’t need to be held back by thoughts that discount reality, many beliefs are unfortunately hidden away in our unconscious mind as automatic thoughts, making it very difficult to change them or even identify them.
Hypnotherapy can help. It works directly with the unconscious mind, making it easier to discover those limiting self-perceptions and changing them for more helpful, supportive beliefs. It can help you rediscover the fun of learning new skills. It can help you find that inner sense of calm confidence that tells you that no matter what, you are capable. It helps you to recognise that even if you don’t have the skills right now, it does not mean you are deficient in any way. You can always learn and hypnotherapy can help make that process easier!
Call Emma to find out how hypnotherapy can lift your confidence today.