Confidence is one of those key skills which moves a person through their world. Confidence helps an employee ask for and get a raise. It helps a single person navigate the dating process and find a supportive partner. It allows a person to reach for their dreams and live their fullest life.
But how does one begin? How does one build confidence if they lack confidence in the first place?
Mindfulness is the key.
What Is Confidence?
First, let’s explore just what confidence is about. At the root of this English word is the Latin word fidere, meaning “to trust.” That’s what confidence represents. It’s trusting in yourself that you will make it through. It’s not necessarily about winning a gold star – a person going on dates doesn’t expect to marry every single person they see. Rather, it’s about knowing that, however it turns out, you’ll learn something. You’ll be all right. You’ll be taking one more step forward toward your goal, even if that step is to learn what to watch for.
It’s about being comfortable with the results. That they will be what they will be.
How Does Mindfulness Help With Confidence?
Mindfulness is about observing, without emotion, the way that life moves around you. It lets you take a step back.
If your boss scrunches his eyes, it might not be about the way you worded your report. It could be that he’s having a rough morning because he tossed and turned all last night. Or maybe he prefers a writing style that has shorter paragraphs and more bullet points. Whatever it is, there is no need to get emotionally upset by it. You can figure out if there is something to adjust on your end and then adjust it.
If you are at a group meeting and they ask for a volunteer, it might be a first instinct to hide away. To think about all the reasons the idea is scary and threatening. But, instead, look at the idea quietly, without emotion. Is the task one you would enjoy? Would it be a step toward a goal of yours? Consider the idea neutrally, putting aside fear or nervousness. If that fear wasn’t an issue, would you enjoy the task?
Fear, Doubt, and Confidence
Fear and doubt have their place in our lives. If you’re out on a walk and you see bright red berries on a bush besides the path, you might have doubt that they’re healthy to eat. It’s probably a good idea not to eat them. Overcoming that doubt could have nasty consequences for your health.
Similarly, if you’re visiting a big city, it’s after dark, and you can’t figure out where your hotel is, it’s probably a good idea to stop in at the nearest café. Ask them to look it up for you. Wandering aimlessly around a city after dark might not be the safest route.
But in most situations in life the fear is not about saber-toothed tigers leaping out to eat us. The fear is about a far milder outcome. Maybe I’ll make a mistake and people will laugh at me. Maybe I’ll need help figuring this out. Maybe I won’t know what to do first.
Turn your mindful eye to those situations. Most of us have made mistakes before, and we are gentle with others who do so. If you’re really in an environment where people cruelly laugh out loud at each other, maybe it’s time to find a more supportive environment. Could it be more likely that they would not laugh at you, even if something did go wrong? We can each only try our best.
As far as needing help to figure out a plan or to get started, there are usually plenty of others around to help with that sort of brainstorming. If not, there are plenty of resources on the web including YouTube which can provide support on just about any topic. Again, there’s a world of assistance right out there.
It’s rarely easy to take that first step, especially when you’ve fallen into a rut of always saying no. Of always taking the “easy way out.” But confidence is much more than this one particular task in front of you. It’s about your entire life – about reaching your fullest potential. It all begins with one step. And with mindfulness, you can learn to accept the fear, accept the doubt – and take the step anyway.
To move toward your future joy.