Discover How To Handle Anything That Comes Your Way
Are you solid in your self-confidence? Do you feel fearless when it comes to social situations, personal interactions, or speaking in front of a group?
If you want to learn how to develop that rock-solid, stable, ultimately fearless sense of confidence in yourself, then read on, because that’s exactly what we’re going to dive into today.
I’ll begin by saying that I believe this subject to be applicable to everyone. Many of our fears, anxieties and doubts arise from imagining negative things happening in the future. We not only imagine negative things happening to us, but also not being able to handle them. Then we allow ourselves to become stressed:
I’m not going to be able to manage my team, and we’re not going to meet our deadline, so I’m worried I’m going to lose my job.
I’m not really good enough for her, and eventually she’s going to meet someone better, so I’m worried she’s going to dump me someday.
We invent a fictitious problem in our heads and then treat it like an unescapable reality about which we should be majorly concerned.
First of all, we have to realize that our natural state is one of confidence—a state in which we are relaxed and feel good about handling (or at least surviving) whatever situation comes our way.
You may think that you need to be someone different or do something special to feel this way, but these are just restrictions you’ve put on yourself because of fears from your past. Once you remove these layers of doubt and fear, your natural state of confidence will start to emerge on its own.
So, how do we get past that habit and move into a state of confidence and positivity?
Prepare to dive into the world of clinical psychology as I pull out a fancy-pants term known as experiential avoidance. While it may sound complex, it’s just another expression for avoiding certain experiences. Evidence would suggest that everyone does it on some level, and we need to learn how to kick the habit if we hope to find that natural state of confidence.
Whether we’re avoiding a place or a situation or a person, what we’re really trying to avoid is any feeling that causes discomfort—fear, sadness, anxiety, tension—and we all have different ways of doing that: we procrastinate, make excuses to get out of it, numb the feeling with outside substances, or rush in before we’ve a chance to realize what’s happened.
What most people don’t do is allow themselves to feel the fear. They try in every which way to get rid of it, or move around it . . . but to acknowledge its presence is just too much.
Interestingly, when we refuse to face the fear, we reduce our power—and, ultimately, our confidence—because the best way to build your confidence is to dive into the center of your experience and feel that fear in its fullest expression.
Now, this concept may sound counterintuitive and cause you almost as much anxiety again as you were already feeling, but bear with me: the idea that you can’t handle this fear or sadness or anxiety is just a story you’ve made up in your mind. In reality, the intensity of that feeling is coming from you trying to get rid of the fear and resist it in the first place.
The key to unstoppable, unflappable confidence is to do nothing but feel your fear fully . . . and the best way to do that is to stop thinking about that fear.
Wait . . . what?
You read correctly. Thinking about the fear is not actually feeling the fear—they are two completely different things, and one is the opposite of helpful.
Think of it this way: imagine I put an ice cube in your hand and tell you to hold onto it until it’s gone. If you’re busy thinking, it may look something like this:
Oh my God, it’s cold. It burns. It’s really uncomfortable. I hate this. It’s not getting better. How long is this going to take? It’s never going to end. I want it to stop. I want to let it go. Please make it to stop . . . etc.
If you’re busy feeling, on the other hand, it may look something like this:
You notice the shape; there’s a freezing sensation; it may starts to burn because it’s so cold; you might experience numbness as the freezing continues; the shape changes and shrinks as it begins to melt; the liquid starts to trickle away; the ice slowly disappears.
In the first case, you are exacerbating the issue by telling yourself how horrible it all is. You are, in fact, making your suffering worse by constantly reminding yourself that you should be uncomfortable. In the second case, you are simply feeling the discomfort you were already going to endure, but this time, you are experiencing it without the excess trauma your thoughts caused.
In one instance, the discomfort may have seemed interminable; in the other, the discomfort was there, but you were eventually able to recognize the fact that it was diminishing.
That’s exactly what’s it like with your feelings. If you can quiet your mind in times of stress, you will start to notice that your discomfort (just like the ice cube) reaches a maximum level of intensity and then begins to dissipate . . . it melts away. Why is that?
Once your body realizes it is not, in reality, in mortal peril when faced with emotions (that emotions alone are not going to kill you), it naturally regains its power and begins to regulate your physiological responses to them.
So, start by recognizing where in your body you are feeling the discomfort: it could be your throat, face, shoulders, back, chest, solar plexus, etc. Just find the physical source of the emotion and breathe right into the center of that feeling. The key here is to avoid resisting it or trying to make it go away.
If you can let it exist in your body for a short time, it will soften. It will eventually relax and pass through you like a wave.
When you realize how much less traumatizing this process is on your system, you will find a power and a confidence that you may never have experienced in your life. Even if you’ve achieved great things in your life and already enjoy a certain amount of daily confidence, there’s going to be a different quality to it once you adopt this practice.
With time, you will come to understand on a subconscious level that nothing can faze you—that there is no need to be scared of any emotion.
So feel free to “like,” subscribe, or comment below. What was it like for you to feel the fear instead of getting caught up in your thoughts? What’s the most valuable thing that you’ve gotten from this episode? It’s helpful to share your experiences and get your ideas out into the world, so let’s help each other to collectively raise our confidence until we become our most authentic selves in the world and start kicking more ass in business and relationships and elsewhere in our lives.
You can also keep the learning going and keep developing yourself by linking to one of my many other episodes about mastering your confidence and taking control of your life.
Until we speak again: May you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.
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- How To Let Go Of Worry And Doubt - June 18, 2020