Confidence is just a story
Confidence is just a story. We all love a good story, don’t we?…Stories are the way that our folklore, history, learning, skills and experiences are passed down through the generations. Stories are told in books, films, plays and by word of mouth. And who doesn’t love to listen to a good storyteller?
So what do stories have to do with your confidence?
You may not realise it, but there is a story of you. It’s a story you tell yourself of who you are, what you have done, where you have been, what you like and don’t like, what you believe, what you don’t believe to be true, in short everything about you is wrapped up in your personal story. Your story forms your personality, your Ego.
Why your story matters for your confidence…
When what is happening lines up with your story you feel happy, secure and confident in your ability to cope. But when it doesn’t then the world looks like a very different place. Your confidence can be shaken and you feel somehow out of your depth and your ability to cope can take a knock.
What you think about yourself (your story) really matters.
Your story is unique to you and it’s how you make sense of the outside world.
If someone or something transgresses the content of your story that’s when the trouble starts.
That’s when you start to feel like you are out of your depth and feel anxious.
Your Ego kicks in and you start to defend yourself or you try to hide away from whatever is causing you to feel concerned or negative. Both those options cause issues with your self-confidence.
Fight, flight or freeze…
These are the three main ways we react to stress or danger, and nothing is more stressful than having your Ego attacked or undermined. We fight tooth and nail to defend the story we tell about ourselves because that is who we really believe we are.
We are fearful of our story being attacked, destroyed or questioned.
The story of you is very real to you, but it is who you really are?
You know who you are because you believe your story of you. You have built up your story over your lifetime, like adding chapters to an autobiography about your life.
You are the person in that story without a doubt, but you don’t tell it to just anyone, at least not the full version…
You tell different people different versions of your story…
You tell your boss one version, your workmates another, your spouse another and so it goes on, all versions of you, but never telling exactly the same story to everyone.
It would be far too dangerous to tell everyone the complete story because someone may question it and you would feel like you are under attack.
Do you ever tell anyone the full story?
Do you disclose who you really are, warts and all?
And then consider that all those people that you tell your story to, will have their own thoughts and ideas (story) about you, no two stories exactly the same.
So there is your story of you and then someone else’s story of you based on what you tell them and what they observe about you. So many versions of you…So will the real you please stand up?
Your story is made up of your past experiences…
If they have been positive then it’s likely that you are well adjusted and have good self-worth, you feel good about yourself ( your self-esteem) and act confidently.
Everything positive that you experience is added to your story and reinforces it. Negative experiences are brushed away without too much concern: they just don’t seem to bother you as much as some other more anxious people.
The opposite is also true…
If you had some negative experiences in the past you may take that as a sign that every similar experience could become negative as well. Meaning that you need to be wary and on guard all the time. Again this is added into your story and influences who you think you are.
Confidence becomes an issue for you, simply because in the past something has gone wrong and you fear experiencing that again.
Confidence can be rebuilt…
You need to become aware of the stories you are telling yourself.
You don’t need to change them. Just become aware of them. Often just doing that is enough to allow you to see that you are worrying unnecessarily.
Over time you’ll begin to rewrite your story…
..You’ll start to become more confident. Situations that used to bother you affect you less, and less often.
Confidence becomes a part of who you are, written into your story. You don’t feel the need to defend yourself or your Ego.
You are constantly writing a new chapter of your story, make sure it is the one you would like to tell others.
Sounds too easy?
Well, it does, but until you actually take action and try to become more aware and make those observations you’ll never know.
Uncovering the stories you tell yourself and realising that they don’t always apply in every situation is often enough to help you feel better about yourself.
Like everything, the more you practice the better you get.
Stories are simply made of thought, and thoughts aren’t real…
They are just one possible way of looking at a situation, not the only one or the right one.
Thoughts come and go, they’re ever-changing and never accurately predict the future, just like the stories you tell yourself…
My passion is helping people to find their way out of anxiety and into confidence…
I coach, guide and encourage them to see what they need to discover to break free and live life in a much calmer and enjoyable way.
Your story doesn’t have to be all bad – it’s up to you to question the story and discover what’s really going on…and write the next chapter!