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Relearning Natural Confidence
By Tom Connelly D.Hyp, FBSCH
      

What is natural self-confidence?  Have you ever had it? Do you have it now? If not, where and how has it gone?       
      

Being newly born we neither have confidence nor lack it but after a few short months we begin the experiential process of living, where in almost every moment there is a test of our capabilities. Our early experiences and the feedback we receive from them quickly determine how certain of comfort and safety we can be in our personal surroundings.
This sense of certainty adds to the balance of our self-confidence, just as experiences which unde       r mine that certainty subtract from the balance of our self-confidence. Even Though there may be differences in character potentials between one infant and another, which are probably due to inherent genetic traits, self-confidence arises almost entirely from this process of feedback from experience.  To put it simply, high levels of confidence are the result of preparation and positive experience.       
      

The practicalities of life teach us that all learned experiences are not positive and we inevitably suffer setbacks.        In these difficult times the balance of our self-confidence may not be increased and we may in fact have a learning experience leading to a feeling of helplessness which undermines our confidence.  Sometimes this learning process can be so complete that a very low level of self-confidence results and one can come to feel helpless in the face of almost everything.  This leads to low levels of self esteem, overall lack of confidence and can even lead to depression.       
      

Given that the level of confidence we experience is based on our life 'experience bank balance' one might ask where all these experiences are stored?  The simple answer is that this balance is held at an unconscious level and it is there that we should look in order to change the way we feel about ourselves and the life circumstances we face. Even though we may have had unhelpful parents, difficult school days, emotional upsets and unavoidable bad luck we can still review and re-evaluate the effect of these experiences and release ourselves from their negativity. Here are a few tips and practical exercises we can use:       
      
      

Stay in the present - turning over a new leaf.
On realising that our lack of confidence in the present moment is based on experiences  from our past the first thing to do is to mentally 'turn over a new leaf' and become determined that our past should not be allowed to predict how we feel right now.        Each moment is new and anything is possible - even good things!  Why should things that are currently happening be coloured by an unhelpful past?
      
      

Develop the 'feel' of being confident - setting  'anchors' to good feelings.
We all know how we don't want to feel but if you really want to make changes it's important that we also know how we do want to feel.  Everyone has had some successes, at some time everyone has felt happy even if it was only for a fleeting moment.  The way we felt in these moments may seem in the distant past and may have been brief but it's a valuable exercise to re-examine these moments.
Often people have a habit of easily dismissing their successes while placing great weight on their failures thereby easily creating a disparity in their emotional bank account.
      
Take some time to yourself as often as you can. It need only take a few minutes but can be practised several times a day - especially as one lays in bed at night waiting to drift to sleep.  Pull out of your memory one of the instances in your life where you have achieved a success and relive the feeling in your imagination.  Try to feel the bodily feeling of happiness that you experienced at that time. Savour that feeling and make it grow within yourself, amplify it until it fills you up from the inside. Do this as often as you can remember to do it in any spare moment you have during the day. Keep bringing that pleasant feeling to mind and re-experience it. When you get the feeling say to yourself, "now I'm feeling confident". This is you anchor phrase.

Mental Rehearsal - it's always real in your imagination
Think of a situation in which you want to feel and act confidently. Replay the situation in your minds eye and imagine yourself feeling and being confident. Use the anchor phrase, "now I'm feeling confident". If you are worried about public speaking, imagine your self talking to a room full of people with calmness and ease. See them smiling and nodding approval as you talk and imagine their applause when you finish. The unconscious mind will not differentiate between an actual presentation and an imagined one, it only assesses the feeling content. Do this often in spare moments and again it's good to do this before going to sleep. You will soon fill up your emotional bank balance with confidence you can draw upon later.

Take the plunge - it's not such a drop
Often people avoid situation which cause feelings of uncertainty and this is a sure way to maintain those feelings. At some point you have to say to yourself "to hell with it, come what may I have to try". Trying is important because even if you fail you may realise it's not the end of the world and you didn't shrivel up and die! People are very understanding. Of course if you succeed this will also be a plus for you and your confidence level will rise. You can always set yourself incremental tasks, slowly working up to the 'big' event.

Model someone who has the confidence you need - we're all actors
Choose someone you know or see regularly on television who exudes confidence in the manner you would like to. Examine their behaviour and stance to see how they project themselves in such a confident way. Imagine yourself in the roles they play.
      
You might also read books or watch films of inspiring life stories about people who overcame adversity by their own efforts, or who set high standards of courage - identify yourself with them.

Other possibilities...
You could use a mantra to help prepare your unconscious mind. Coue's 'Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better,' is a possibility, repeating it to yourself as often as you can (when you don't need your attention for critical work). Or there is the manifestation mantra, which goes: 'Health wealth wisdom oneness, Health wealth wisdom love'

You could also try one of the many downloadable
hypnosis recordings designed to increase your sense of confidence.
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