Triggers are powerful, even more so because we’re not always aware of them. Something a person says to you, or a disappointing event, can set off feelings of low self-esteem that have nothing to do with the here and now. Past experiences come to life in our subconscious mind. Loss is an especially vulnerable element of our lives, which can transfer pain, hurt or fear into present-day situations. There’s no denying that there have been unhappy events in your life. Loss – of all kinds – is inevitable. When you don’t have a strong foundation of confidence, you may interpret even the smallest criticism as loss. Somebody could turn around and say, “I don’t like your makeup,” and it feels like a loss. (I guess we could call that a “loss of face!”) Your confidence is shaken and you feel hurt. Where is that hurt really coming from? From the present-day interaction, or the past?
It’s vitally important that we all learn how to distinguish the part of the mind called the critical mind, or the critical factor. The critical factor is the part of the mind that is used for self-analysis, which can be very valuable, though we tend to let that mind lie to ourselves and believe things that the outside world has planted there. You begin to sabotage positive feelings about yourself and become triggered by people and things around you. At some point in your development you’ll be able to separate out the past and the things that are actually happening to you now. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask a friend “Does this shirt fit?” and be open to the answer, whatever it is? If she says, “Well, actually it looks a bit tight,” you won’t take it as a massive criticism that reminds you of your mother reprimanding you harshly. You’re just going to say, “Great. I’ll just get a size larger and be more comfortable.”
Not allowing yourself to be triggered is a process. It takes work to change the way you react. As you start to shift your responses, you’ll find your confidence grows. It’s the confidence to know that you don’t have to let the past effect your present. If you begin to live your life through somebody else’s standards – at any point in your story – I guarantee that will only lead to suffering.
Though past events and people may be have had a real effect in your life, being triggered becomes a pattern. How do you stop allowing such deep-seated memories buried in the subconscious to affect your confidence? Low self-esteem can become a pattern, also. Shifting the way you think, into a more positive state, usually doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot to be said for acting “as if,” or a “fake it ‘till you make it” approach. Do your best to act confident and you’ll be amazed at how that can reinforce the process of learning to be truly confident. If you create the energy of confidence, you invite it into your life.
I don’t think I have met anybody who was born confident. It’s a learned process. The environment in which someone grew up, and the people that surrounded them, plays a big part in their future confidence. If your past environment lacked the elements that would have fostered a strong sense of self-confidence, you need to treat yourself with kindness. Don’t beat yourself up. Find a way to be nourished, be in an environment of safety, and take some time to look at your ongoing issues. Even though your environment creates so much of what you carry, you have the power to change and be whoever you want to be.
I’m sorry if your parents didn’t tell you that they didn’t love you enough, but now it’s time to be your own parent, love yourself, stop blaming others and tell yourself that you’re a worthwhile person. After a while, you’ll notice that you can stop the “fake it ‘till you make it” because real confidence will be manifested.
Excerpt from the Get A Grip Book Series
Confidence: Easy for You To Say
Where does genuine, unwavering belief in yourself begin? CONFIDENCE – EASY FOR YOU TO SAY sets you on the path to greater understanding, love and acceptance of who you truly are. Confidence and a positive self-image don’t spring from external accomplishments or praise! It’s all about the internal journey that brings you to a place of calm self-assurance and certainty that you can always rely on, no matter what life presents.
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash