I bought plenty of self-help books, attended many a seminar and even worked with coaches of all types to change beliefs, build my confidence, boost my self-esteem, improve my self-image, etc.
I used to be so insecure inside that I would be rude and nasty to people when I was in my twenties to hide my lack of confidence, especially in social situations. I just didn’t know what to do and because I lived in fear, I either lashed out to protect myself or closed up and was aloof.
I didn’t realize this about myself until recently, because I was afraid to admit how much time and money I had spent on building up my confidence. I was still covering over my desire to be self-confident and feeling like a loser for it.
I realized that for the last 15 years or so, I have been working towards an exalted and ever-living state of confidence where I would never feel fear or insecure again. Though that state doesn’t seem to exist for a human being, having a life experience rooted in self-confidence more than self-doubt, I have found to be possible, and what I have been experiencing now.
But I never anticipated the path to get here would have been what it was.
Through the years, I learned skills on how to appear more confident and fake it, to where many wouldn’t know that I lacked confidence, except for the fact that underneath felt extremely unconfident.
Because I wanted to be LIKE THEM.
When They Have Confidence, But You Don’t
I wanted confidence just like all those famous actors have, or sports stars, or top businessmen appeared to have. Or people around me that I thought were better than me, had achieved more, had more money, more fame, more women, more XYZ.
I mean don’t they have it all?
They are ALWAYS confident and have figured out the secrets, haven’t they?
That is what I believed and my projection onto those celebrities, stars and top one-percenters in their given field warped my view.
What is actually true is that the idea is just mental projection of my (socially conditioned) own, that’s it. None of it is real.
I also realized that the more I work on being confident, the more I stay stuck in always striving to be confident. Even if I am more confident, it is like I am an infinitely small step away from it, just by seeking it.
Never there, always seeking VS. “I am already there,” therefore the seeking is over.
It may sound very zen and paradoxical, and it is to the cognitive mind (at least to mine).
It never made sense in my deeper experience of life. This is NOT something I found I could change by practice some positive affirmations or doing deep-belief change work.
It was my serendipitous tripping over the Inside-Out Understanding, that helped to create a major shift in my level of consciousness, that had nothing to do with removing limiting beliefs or negative thoughts, or building confidence through all the way I had tried before. I had what I call a “crossover experience” which started at the beginning of the summer, with what the true nature of self-confidence really is.
How I Found Out that Confidence Doesn’t Need to Be Developed
I am one of those people who has traditionally been very hard on himself, like many of us are. Maybe you have been hard on yourself like I have been, too.
I get it, we were raised by people that were hard on themselves, that is how we learn it.
It’s not that I have been completely unconfident in every area of my life.
Where I have been easily confident is in areas like playing music/guitar, public speaking, and transformational coaching. These things I am fairly confident about, but that is based on my belief of my practice and skills development in these areas.
The distinction I am making here is the difference between being confident in our abilities (competence) and being confident in ourselves no matter what the area of life or skillset. Not assigning value to our true-self worth based on skills, what we’ve acquired or not, even who we think we are by role, age, stage or any other descriptor we can think of.
I am talking about fundamental, true inner-confidence.
We will never access true self-confidence when we believe confidence comes from what we do, how we act or what we have.
As someone who is not fundamentally confident in themselves might say or rationalize something like:
“I don’t know how to sell, I just don’t feel confident these days.”
We assign our inner confident to lack of competence in a skill.
“People keep telling me I’m good at writing but that’s all I know.”
We reason constantly that because we don’t know how to do other things, even though we are good at one thing, that we aren’t worth much.
Or even because we have something like…
“I’m feeling so good/confident/worthy because I have a great relationship, if I didn’t have Steve/Sara I don’t know what I’d do. I’m glad this relationship is there for me.”
“I’m feeling so confident today because my life is great. Everything is in order and that’s why I’m brimming with confidence!”
(By the way:
Confidence = Self-Esteem = Self-Worth.
They are all really the same thing.)
What you have confidence in here is your skills, something you have or something external to you, and not from inside yourself.
This is a backwards model, that will leave you starving for confidence forever. This is a simple, but a very important distinction to make.
So what is the path of least resistance to true self-confidence that only comes from within and isn’t externally based?
The Key: Self-Confidence Is Innate and Natural
Whenever we are seeking to build our confidence, we can’t be confident. We never can be – it is simple logic on one level, but it goes deeper than that.
I like to call this “profound logic” because it makes sense to both the intellectual mind, but also impacts the soul when we feel it on a deeper level that transcends everyday emotions.
When we are truly confident we are not thinking, ever, about confidence itself. We just are doing what we are doing, in the flow of the moment.
People may say “wow he’s really confident I like him.” But more often than not you ask someone who is confident what they are thinking, they are never thinking “I’m so confident.”
What I saw what actually the thought itself “I’m not confident enough and need to build confidence” generates that lack of confidence, purely and simply. It does not come from having a lack of confidence that isn’t real.
Only the thought form “I’m not confident enough” generates that experience. It may not be those exact words and something it is just a feeling underneath, but that feeling is fundamentally a thought-generated experience.
It isn’t real.
It may seem stupidly-simple, but this was something I missed for years AND YEARS.
Even until a few months ago.
It was a profound awakening to see this.
My mind still goes into these bouts of un-confident thinking. But I now know without a doubt it is just thinking that has nothing to do with self-confidence, which is quite simply a lack of this kind of thinking.
Accessing true, innate self-confidence is an UN-THINKING.
No one who is confident sits there and thinks, “Damn I’m confident, if I keep thinking I’m confident then I’ll be even more confident!”
It just doesn’t work that way. The person we may label confident (or when others may label us as confident) is just doing what they are doing, being who they are being. They probably have little or no awareness of how confident they are or not.
This natural self-confidence is the kind of confidence that gets shaken when a top tennis player who has the top skills in the world, is mentally down in a match because they are caught in their thoughts, and looking at the circumstances of what’s happening in the game to determine their confidence and performance.
That is externally dependent confidence, and it is not true confidence.
Resolving the Confidence Struggle
The top areas I have struggled with my confidence are women I’m very attracted to (especially physically – though admittedly many men seem to struggle with this one), being able to make money on my own (not via a job and in my own business through sales) and lead-singing.
Again, I was assigning my self-worth to how competent I was at these things, and confusing the issue of what self-confidence really was.
No wonder I could never have it!
Magically, my confidence has risen without me doing anything.
Feeling more self-confident by not assigning my confidence to how good I am at these things, makes me naturally better at them and able to learn and integrate skillsets quicker, because I am more relaxed, in the flow and operating with a clear mind. My mind isn’t jammed up with thoughts of needing to build up my self-confidence.
It seems that I have come to a place to stop trying to generate confidence and trying so hard in these areas, or at all. Because I finally realized that it isn’t about anything outside of me that can generate self-confidence.
It is still an unfolding process, as I am so used to working on confidence, that those thought-grooves geared towards building confidence are still quite active.
But they just don’t affect me in the same way at all.
The Crossover Experience
This is why this isn’t a belief change, but a shift in consciousness, because the thoughts are still there, but they don’t affect in the same way. I see the nature of the illusion of these thoughts that tell me I need to be more confident and that they themselves generate this experience.
If I sound like I am saying the same thing over and over, I really want this point to shine through.
This is what we’d call an major insight, or what I’d call a crossover. When we can’t unsee something and though the thoughts are still there, we can’t go back to seeing things like we did before. Much like when it was discovered the world was not longer flat, but round, you can’t unknow that.
Like in the movie The Matrix and he eats the red pill. He can’t go backwards in his consciousness. He can’t unknow what he now knows.
That is how I define a “crossover experience.”
Now, when I get caught in thoughts of self-doubt, all I have to do is simply look in the other direction away from the confidence seeking thought system, instead of trying to think myself to confidence, which has never worked in the long run.
There are certainly is something to having a skillset/competence in my examples areas of talking to beautiful women, making money as an entrepreneur and singing in order to get results (and really any area in life) but they don’t have anything to do with my fundamental self-confidence.
Lack of fundamental self-confidence also affects the performance of how I do in any of these areas, because the more relaxed and clear I am (confident) the easier things go.
The more tight and tense I am, the worse things tend to go. This has everything to do with our state of mind (I like to call it “mindstate”) and how that affects our performance in any given area.
On top of that, any skillsets are much more easily learned and integrated when we understand how to access natural confidence. Because we are relaxed, in the flow, and present without being distracted by our own worry with thoughts concerned with confidence.
Unthinking Your Way to Confidence
What I finally have discovered after 15+ years of trying to build my confidence, the thinking that has been driving this lack of confidence isn’t real.
I thought I had to do something to have self-confidence was part of the system that kept my lack of it in place.
Like Albert Einstein said –
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
My believing this line of thinking, that I needed to build confidence, and that it wasn’t inherent for me (or all of us) has kept my mind stirred up all these years, and away from the natural confidence we all have within, as a default, innate state.
Those times when I actually did feel confident, I had no idea why and then would struggle to keep the feeling there. Which eventually would go away because I was creating more thinking that just kept me away from it.
More thought confusion, and layers on top of layers creating a thin but ever present barrier between me and my natural confidence underneath.
“See” It, Undo It
What I’ve learned is that if I simply see that this is how the thoughts create my experience of a lack of confidence (insert money fear, low self-esteem, poor self-image, etc) – I can be free of it.
By “seeing it” I mean one a deeper level of reality creation, not just “oh yeah that makes sense” but more like “OH SHIT, THAT ENTIRE THOUGHT STREAM CREATED MY LIFE EXPERIENCE! WOAH!”
On a level of profound impact, that can’t be un-seen or un-known.
It is the kind of seeing that hits you in the gut, in awe. Not just some intellectual understanding.
This is where when I work with very heady/intellectual people (I used to fall in this category) and they just think they’ve got it and want to move onto more information. They want more advice that they think will move them forward, when it is actually a lack of confidence and clarity that is really stopping them.
They are not slowing down enough to get the insight they need to transform their world from a lack of confidence into the possibility of experiencing true self-confidence from here on out.
What’s more is that I don’t have to think those thoughts. It’s not “don’t think those thoughts” but the fact that they aren’t real and I DON’T HAVE TO think them.
This is a very fine, but powerful point. I find that giving people instructions like “don’t think that thought” is never nearly as powerful as giving them the choice that they don’t have to think the thought.
Same goes for me. Tell me what to do, and I want to tell you off.
Give me the choice, and I am open to the option and probably will take it.
I can be a stubborn bastard – part of what brings you this post today has been my many year struggle with confidence and self-worth.
When my mind settles down by seeing the nature of how our experience is created by thought (both conscious and unconscious) clarity comes forth. As does well-being, peace, ease and yes…even natural self-confidence.
Without doing a thing.
The Bottom Line: We Are Made of Confidence
That is why I say we are made of confidence, it’s part of the natural space of our mind when it’s still.
Do I feel unconfident still? Yes it happens of course, but it’s simply because I am caught in a thought-storm which would have me believe I am not confident.
It will resolve naturally if I let it, and look back to the direction of how my experience of my life is a thought-generated one.
That feeling of unconfidence isn’t real, because it comes from thoughts that aren’t real. It sure feels real, but it is not.
It’s a real mirage.
How do I know? Time and again I show myself that if I simply do not believe those thoughts to be true, it all disappears. I’m back at my default state of natural confidence.
Self-doubt and a lack of confidence is becoming like a whisper of the past to me now. But the more I realize that it’s all made up, and that there is nothing to do to be confident, that it is natural for all of us underneath any thought storms we might have.
So when learning a new subject or skill, any thought that brings in self-doubt or judgment about how well you’re doing or not, is just getting in the way of the natural confidence you have underneath.
Knowing how to access your natural self-confidence by unthinking also makes learning a given skill (like public speaking) much easier and faster integration, without thought clouding the mind and affecting your confidence to learn.
It really can be that simple when I say:
Like stardust, we are made of confidence.
This was the key I was looking for that I thought was outside of me, or that confidence had to be transferred in. All along it was right under my nose.
Special thanks and massive gratitude to those teachers, coaches and mentors that have helped me really see all of this. That includes Michael Neill, Amy Johnson, and those spiritual teachers no longer with us Alan Watts and Sydney Banks, founder of The Three Principles understanding.
Don’t look outside yourself, look within and unthink your way to confidence.
It is there already.
We are made of confidence.