Building Self Confidence the Mindfulness Way

Self-confidence is that sense of being acceptable, safe, self-assured and capable. It is the ability to feel good about oneself and not buy into those annoying self-talk messages in our heads that tell us we are too fat, ugly or stupid! Unfortunately, self-confidence is often sort after and illusive. This is especially so in situations that increases anxiety such as a new date, public speaking or a job interview.

How many times have you rocked up to that wanted job interview only to lose all your sense of self-worth, even though yesterday you were beaming with confidence when you caught up with your best friend for coffee in the park? We all lose a sense of confidence when placed in circumstances that challenge us or test us to get something we want. The question is… “what can we do to increase self-confidence when we find ourselves in stressful situations?”

Anxiety and Self-Confidence

Some things that tend to happen in stressful situations are that we become a prisoner of our anxiety which leads to disconnection from ourselves and becoming less aware of how we are presenting ourselves. Anxiety can lead us to talk louder and faster, make more mistakes, and become overly conscious of what we say or do. We tend to remember these times and cringe! To make matters worse, our inner critic judges our every attribute and move and we remember things that we might want to forget.

Mindfulness and Self-Confidence

The practice of mindfulness can show us another way! I remember reading the Delia Lama’s words in the book “The Art of Happiness at Work” where he said that when he speaks publically he is not nervous or self-conscious because he practices being present in the moment for the people listening to him. His focus or concern is on others and not on himself… while he is simultaneously aware of himself. This gives us two clues to increase self-confidence and come out of self-loathing or at least self-persecution. Firstly is to have more concern for those you are there for or are giving to. And the second is to witness and be aware of the self without judging about the self.

Mindfulness teaches us how to witness the self without being caught in the thoughts and emotions of the “ego self”. We can witness thoughts without believing them or the emotional landscape attached to them. This is a great way of facing those situations that seem to strip us of self-confidence as we can practice the art of mindfulness rather than floundering around in anxiety.

The Practice of Mindfulness to Build Self-Confidence

To practice mindfulness simply watch your breath without needing to change it. Allow your chest to expand and contract in its own time and its own way. As you breathe, allow yourself to witness your thoughts come in and out of your mind, knowing that they are only thoughts. Remain open and curious as emotions arise and physical sensations in your body emerge and fade. Notice if your thoughts try to convince you of some future unpleasant fate or that you are flawed in anyway. Watch them rise and then disappear without being caught “the story” of anxiety provoking thoughts. Know this response rising is simply a habit… a pattern of thought, feeling and actions. Irrespective of the outcome, know deep in the pit of your being that you are safe… you are good enough…. and either way, you can succeed at your goal.

When we put ourselves in situations that challenge us and practice mindfulness, we can build our confidence. We can increase confidence to some extent through visualising success in difficult situations, but the actual practice of mindfulness and perceived success, is what really builds self-confidence. Remember that success includes decreased anxiety in the stressful situation rather than the outcome of gaining the job or relationship. Mindfulness shows us how to succeed by helping us to centre our conscious awareness, calm our mind, and observe ourselves rather than remain self-conscious and fearful.

Has there ever been a situation where you “faked it until you made it”?

Now close your eyes and imagine adding the practice of mindfulness to your experience…..

If you are looking for more information and audio meditations that can guide you through mindfulness, subscribe to 10 Days of Mindfulness Mediations in this page.


7 Responses to “Building Self Confidence the Mindfulness Way”

  • Jan:

    Great post Vanessa. Yes thinking about how we are helping others certainly takes the anxiety of the moment away for us.

  • Tracey Carmichael:

    Hi Vanessa, great advice.Focus on who we are speaking to and not the experience for ourselves. I recently had someone say to me that I was not helping anyone by not givcing myself permisssion to shine. I hadn’t really thought of iit that way before and it really does put a whole new perspective on things.

    Thank you for re-affirming this for me

    I also had a wellness centre for 10 years and I utilised mystery shoppers in the massage centre for quality control. A few of the therapists froze when it came time to reccomend that their client come back for a second visit. Anxiety gripped and they could not follow through with the request. One of the mystery shopper reports came back one day and the “shopper”, who was the client said that her experience was that she felt as though the therapist didn;t care about her wellbeing by “not” suggesting another visit. Very Interesting!

    • Vanessa Bushell:

      Hi Tracey, what a great comment! You are so right. When I realized that I was giving my audience a real gift and opportunity that they really wanted, I ceased to be as self conscious when presenting to people, counselling people or facilitating workshops.

      Thank your for sharing your experiences
      Lots of love

  • Kathryn Hodges:

    What a wonderful insight. Thinking more about the “others” helps us to stop worrying about what the “others” are thinking – because that is really what we are thinking!!
    Little mind bend in there.

    Thanks. I will be playing with this idea, as I am doing some work with myself on this stuff right now. Thank you for the timing. This has been written just for me, which is precisely what you are putting the spotlight on – focus on the work for others.
    K xxx

    • Vanessa Bushell:

      Hi Kathryn, thank you for your comment.
      I’m happy to be of service!!!
      I find it really brings us out of ourselves and our self consciousness to focus on what we are giving to others.

      Lots of love

  • Franklyn Cripe:

    Self esteem is your own personal view of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everyone has a different view of themselves, but keeping a positive outlook will benefit you more than a negative one. Many individuals suffer from low self esteem for a variety of reasons and need to build their self esteem in order to succeed in life. Remember, the only one who can make you excel is you and no one else. The same goes for self esteem. The only person who can build up?or consequentially tear down?your self esteem is you. Although other individuals may aide the process, the end decision is yours.”

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  • Leave a Reply for Jan