When Confidence Crumbles
Do you ever find yourself questioning what you’re doing? I don’t mean the smaller things in life, like Why am I eating a third donut? I mean the big things. Like Why am I still working at a job I don’t like? Or Am I sure I’m making the right decision about doing __________? Fill in the blank with any big life decision - moving, getting married, starting a business, having kids…
It’s human for us to question. It’s a good thing, really. That little voice in our head that can start to nag and sounds strikingly like our mothers can keep us accountable and prevent us from doing a lot of stupid things. Unfortunately, that same voice can destroy our confidence. It can paralyze us and make it impossible to accomplish anything. And, on the chance that we do accomplish something, it leaves us with feelings of self-doubt. Maybe even unworthiness.
I think it’s important to remember that we are all born with an intuition that guides us. We all deep down know what is right. As kids, we weren’t concerned about doing what we wanted to do, questioning our every move. We jumped in that sandbox feet first.
As we get older, we start incorporating all of these other voices into our lives. We start worrying about what others will think, how we will be perceived, and what will happen five or ten years from now because of the decision. We lose track of our own intuition and start listening to the low-budget talk show that is taking place in our minds.
I know not everyone loves The Alchemist. And I know referencing it might make you think, Wasn’t that so eight years ago? But, I’m going to ignore those little voices telling me to cite something more current and TRUST MY INTUITION.
In The Alchemist, Santiago, the main dude, learns to follow his “Personal Legend” by talking with his heart. By learning the language of his heart, he is confidently guided from one place to the next, listening to it rather than his mind.
The mind isn’t bad - it’s just loud. It talks over your heart and bosses you and it around. Your heart has a lot to say. And it’s in your heart that intuition lies.
When you find yourself questioning a decision. Or when you discover that your inner-dialogue is turning into negative bashing (the kind you would see on Jerry Springer), it’s important to make it stop. And fast. When I’m feeling lost or like my mind is taking over, I take a deep breath and step back from the situation to observe. I like to find a quiet place to sit in meditation and I spend five or ten minutes sitting, hands on my heart, waiting for it to get the courage to tell me what it thinks. Sometimes it’s helpful to take whatever decision or issue you are questioning and to reframe it as a positive statement to see how it makes you feel. For example, if I’m questioning whether or not I should take on a new project, I repeat to myself (a little mantra of sorts), “I am capable of doing this project. Doing this project will make me happy.”
This type of mantra usually cues your heart to start talking. It will either leave you feeling amazing at the end of your meditation - a good sign that it is what you’re supposed to be doing. Or you will be left with a clearer, calmer answer, like Yes, you could do this. But you are already busy and you need to take some time to be with your family.
Your heart never speaks to you negatively. And, even if it asks you to do something you are fearful of, it should feel like the kind of fear you have before stepping onto a plane to go to a foreign country. It should feel exciting.
Confidence grows with time. The more you practice trusting your intuition, the less you’ll be concerned about whether you are doing the right thing. You will just know. And knowing makes you a whole hell of a lot happier.