Number 3 – Confidence
Many people discover Mindfulness because they feel a bit lost and insecure. When we feel anxious or overwhelmed due to the stresses of life, we can sometimes tell ourselves this isn’t “normal”, and we feel desperate to make things different.
This can really affect our self-confidence and our ability to trust the decisions that we make. We end up being indecisive, waste a lot of time procrastinating or worrying and ultimately feeling stuck.
Once our self-confidence is knocked it becomes easy to continue down a rabbit hole of negative self-talk which then becomes the predominant guide. We start to believe these thoughts, which make us feel worthless and ultimately affect our moods and our lives.
No Need to Change
So, where does Mindfulness fit in? During a Mindfulness course we don’t directly address self-confidence. Although many participants may explore their insecurities during practice, it isn’t part of the explicit curriculum. What we do learn, however, is to stop desperately trying to change ourselves. And we learn to develop awareness.
We learn to become aware of our bodies, our thoughts and our emotions and we learn how inter-connected they all are. As we begin to really listen to what our bodies are telling us, we start to also notice our reactions.
Responding Not Reacting
Often, we react in ways we later regret because we are reacting on autopilot. Once we develop awareness of our automatic reactions, we can learn to notice what triggers them. Eventually, through practice, we might catch ourselves before reacting in order to choose a more considered response to the stressor instead.
But what about confidence?! Well it stands to reason that once we are making more considered choices, we start to feel good about these. We haven’t had to force ourselves to be happier and we let go of wishing we were somehow different. And as we feel better, we make more choices that we feel happy about and our self-esteem begins to really flourish.
In the last few weeks, two of my clients have told me that due to practicing mindfulness regularly they now have the confidence to apply for new jobs. This is something neither of them would have done just a matter of weeks ago – one of them starts a new role in January!