The Muscle of Confidence
I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately. What does it mean to be confident? When do I feel confident? Why?
Confidence is defined as:
1) the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
2) the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
3) a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.
All three of those definitions have the word feeling in them. Feeling is defined as an emotional state or reaction. It's not logical. It's not of the mind. It's of the body.
I find this fascinating. I often try to "figure out" how to be more confident. I try to think my way to confidence. If I just change my mindset, or my routine, or say more nice things to myself...the confidence will appear. This almost never works. I see now it's because it doesn't come from doing or fixing or shifting anything... it comes from feelings around how we or others are BEING.
Relying on someone and trusting someone comes from knowing that they are true to their word- it comes from knowing that who they are being is FOR you. The only doing involved is from their actions. Feeling certain about the truth of something comes from how the something feels in your body- how you respond to it- which doesn't have much to do with doing. appreciating ones abilities or qualities is related to your actions- and again, is not about doing but about being.
I feel confident when I'm hiking up a challenging trail, when I'm leading a yoga class, when I'm getting under barbells at crossfit... and yet I don't always feel it then. I feel confident in my body's strength in a yoga class... and I don't always feel that way. What causes us to feel confident or not feel confident? I believe it is how we are looking at things.
In those moments when I'm leading a yoga class and I feel confident, it's the confidence in who I'm being and how I'm holding the space. On the trail, in a yoga class, or at crossfit, the confidence comes from appreciation for my body and what it's capable of. If I head into class focused on all the things I can't control and how wrong my day has gone, you can for sure bet I'm not going to feel confident. If I go into a conversation with a friend thinking about all the ways they might hurt me, you can bet I won't walk into (or out of) that conversation with confidence. This it not mindset... this is Dristhi.
Where our attention goes, so too goes our energy. If I'm focused on the "bad" or "wrong" or "hard," those things usually show up. When I'm focused on the "good" or "easeful" things, those usually show up too. Confidence is about how and where we are setting our eyes, our attention, our focus... our energy. This makes sense to me, because when my Dristhi game is on, so too is how I am being in the world. I show up differently when I'm putting my attention in good places and spaces.
To me, this is also good news, because confidence isn't some illusive thing I have to search for or hope for. It's a matter of taking action by taking my focus off of all the things that aren't serving me. It's a practice, just like yoga, so I'll fail at it some days, but if I keep working that muscle, it'll get stronger.
Practicing the focus of attention can start simply on your yoga mat. Notice where you are setting your eyes, or if you are. If your eyes wander, draw them back. Find one point to look at in each pose and be unwavering in your commitment to that spot. Know that in this practice, you are getting stronger. You are not only building dristhi and focus, you are also building confidence.
Teacher Training could be your opportunity to strengthen all kinds of muscles. Strengthen your focus, strengthen your confidence, strengthen your body and your mind. Training begins Friday, April 23rd at 4pm. We will meet for 6 weekends from 4-8pm Fridays and 7am-7pm Saturdays and Sundays. Full details can be found here.
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