In coaching, we have what is called the performance possibility gap, or expanding capacities. That’s the space between who you are now, and who you need to become in order to reach your goals.
Almost every client that comes to me, puts self confidence in their top 3 skills they need to become a better version of themselves.
„Self confidence to put myself out there, self confidence to set boundaries, self confidence to try things I only dreamt of, self confidence to speak up for myself and others, self confidence to…
When I share with them that self confidence starts with self care, they look at me confused. What does self care have to do with self confidence?
Well, self care forces you to put yourself higher on the list of important things in your life.
When you carve space for yourself from your time, you prioritise yourself. When you prioritise yourself day after day, when you give yourself space to relax your mind and to enjoy the things you like, your brain starts to pick up. “Maybe I am important. Maybe I do matter.”
Because we are wired by nature to scan for threats, for bad things. This is what kept us alive for millions of years.
It’s called the Default Mode Network. You would think that when you have nothing to do, your brain will relax.
Surprise, surprise, the Default Mode Network is activated instantly. And its job is to ruminate, make your mind wander, especially towards negative events from the past, or possibilities from the future, in order to come up with strategies to overcome threats.
Note to self: Default mode network is good for survival. Not for your happiness.
What happens after a period of time when self care is included in your priorities, is that you start to see yourself setting boundaries. Not only for the people around you, but for yourself. You start listening to yourself more. You start to say “no”, when your first instinct would have been to say “yes” only to please others, while disadvantaging yourself.
When you start to set boundaries for yourself, for your own well being, the boundaries for other people will follow. Because people will follow your lead.
When they feel and see what are your boundaries, they will understand that you are not crossing yourself for anybody. And even if they will ask to sacrifice yourself, you will say “stop” or “no”, because you know what your worth is, you know what draines you and what fuels you.
When self care is a priority, you connect with yourself. At first, you will struggle. You may not know what to do first. Maybe you are not even connected with the things you like. But little by little, your attention will turn inwards, and you will connect again with your true self.
With your needs, with your wants, with your authenticity.
Only when you will rediscover who you really are, only when you will embrace authenticity, you will have self confidence.
Because self confidence is not loud.
Self confidence does not shout to the outside world. At the NeuroMindfulness® Coach Certification that I enrolled with the Neuromindfulness Institute, I discovered a gem: „Negative thoughts SCREAM. Positive thoughts WHISPER“.
And this is such a powerful statement, it almost sums up my whole life. It blew my mind.
Self confidence is like a mirror, in which you look at yourself and you see the strengths, and the improvement areas. And you are ok with that. Because you are able to see yourself just as you are.
You are not a God due to your strengths, nor a invaluable person due to your improvement areas. You are a human being. Your value is not equal with the amount of things you do, or the amount of achievements you have.
Self confidence mean looking at yourself without exaggeration. Just seeing yourself as you are and understanding your worth, value, as a human being.
Being self confident means that you are able to look at yourself without judging, but with curiosity. Why? Because you would NEVER tell other people what you tell yourself. We usually have this exaggerated negative self talk in our heads, 99% of the times, ESPECIALLY when we fail.
What do you tell your best friend when they fail? Are you being harsh on them, or are you trying to comfort them, knowing that you love them and they mean the same to you even when they fail?
What makes them valuable for you? Their failures? Their wins? Or their presence? Their warmth? Their support? Being there for you?
Now, what do you tell yourself when you fail? How much DO YOU champion yourself even when you fail? How much DO YOU remind yourself that a fail does not define you? That you ARE NOT your failures?
How much DO YOU understand that your own value resides in who you are and not in what you do?
Self confidence means that you are able to look at yourself and understand what got you to fail or to win. It means that you trained yourself (yes, trained; self confidence is an active skill) to understand ALL the circumstances, not only the bad ones.
It doesn’t mean that if you understand yourself and you are kind to yourself, you are not trying hard enough. Because at any given moment, EVERYBODY is doing the best they can, with what they’ve got, INCLUDING YOU.
So yes, self confidence starts with self care and deepens with the switch from judgement to curiosity. It means that your treat yourself with the same kindness that you treat your loved ones.
Why not start loving yourself also?