Sense of SELF is the CONSCIOUSNESS OF OUR IDENTITY, the ‘mysterious something’ that ‘runs’ us. Self-confidence means a lot to us as it is a central feature of the mysterious floating sense of self we call ME.
OUR BODY is not the seat of self-confidence. Self-confidence will develop naturally if we GET OVER OUR SELF AS A BODY and don’t otherwise GET IN OUR OWN WAY.
SELF-CONFIDENCE IS NOT STATIC, we both always do and don’t have it. It is most useful to regard our self-confidence as a fluid, developing process.
SELF-CONFIDENCE TAKES PLACE IN OUR MIND by LIVING THROUGH EXPERIENCES and LEARNING FROM them. It is our ability to KNOW with CERTAINTY, that we can COPE with life circumstances and ADAPT relatively effectively, while at the same time ENJOYING our life’s progress.
It is important to always remember that WE CAN BLOCK our self-confidence by misusing the GIFT OF OUR MIND. We harm ourself with our memories of the past if we don’t learn from them, and from our relentless desires in the future if we don’t manage them.
Learning from experience takes place along separate lines of development from the physical to the spiritual. It includes learning to pull these lines together into one sense of self.
The work required is easiest to see in the PHYSICAL LINE of development. A child moves from sitting to walking to running and with each stage develops greater self-confidence.
On the EMOTIONAL LINE a child is at the mercy of feelings and impulses but as it matures it is able to allow a full and intense range of emotional experience but use this energy effectively, running to help out in an emergency, or thoughtfully waiting until it calms down to resolve a situation.
On the SEXUAL LINE the movement is from sexuality as personal then interpersonal sensual experimentation, to seeing and acting on sexual feelings first and foremost as a meeting of minds in love. Commitment, respect, co-operation and loyalty replace impulse and gratification. Genital fusion is the end point of love expressed by two becoming the truth of one.
On the SOCIAL LINE we move from total dependence to independence, studying, leaving home and working, to interdependence, loving, creating a family, community, or aesthetically-centered life while still maintaining healthy autonomy.
When this work isn’t done we need only look to the examples of movie stars, politicians, financiers or successful athletes to see how we can be harmed by under or over developing aspects of self-confidence. We can fool our self in the short term; but over the long term it is folly to live as multiple selves that we falsely believe we can keep separate.
THE THREE LESSONS:
The FIRST LESSON wise men refer to is the misuse of our mind when the TERROR AND ANXIETY of LIVING ITSELF is mistakenly dealt with by external soothing: drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, gambling or sex.
The SECOND LESSON is the giving into the TEMPTATION to exert POWER and control over of others and the world: fighting, bossing, bullying, critically judging and hoarding.
The THIRD LESSON is the giving into the TEMPTATION to RUIN our life by not making something of it.
Whether it is the THREE STAGES of FREUD, the THREE TEMPTATIONS of CHRIST, or BUDDHA’S THREE TRUTHS about pain and suffering, our work is to learn and know these lessons over and over at deeper levels in order to fully develop our mind and thereby deepen our self-confidence.
THE THREE BASIC RESPONSES
Responsibility for our self is zero at birth. Over time responsibility for our self will approach one hundred percent. While we begin life without choice, we slowly discover that, if we want to be self-confident, we have no choice about taking ONE HUNDRED PER CENT RESPONSIBILITY for our thoughts, feelings and behavior and for what happens to us. At the same time, on a moment to moment basis, we will decide to take RIGHT AND EFFECTIVE ACTION.
2. DAILY LIFE VALUES.
Daily life values are the THINGS WE WANT TO GAIN AND KEEP. The consequence of what we choose to value and our success in getting what we want will reflect the self-confidence we feel. Self-confidence requires that we decide upon, and live according to, a clear hierarchy of values.
When we are immature, value decisions are closer to impulses and desires, but as we mature and develop self-confidence, value choices move to a higher tier of commitment, loyalty, co-operation and respect.
3. SPIRITUAL VALUES.
The development of wisdom and spirituality occurs as we realize all of our progress is predicated on a DECISION to tolerate and willingly immerse ourself in insecurity and uncertainty. Full mature self-confidence always reflects how closely our values are in line with these primary ones: LOVE, WORK, FORGIVENESS, GRATITUDE AND HUMILITY.
LIving responsibly in these values we give nor take abuse from ourself or others. We, on occasion, feel alone, panicky and crucified, but we know with certainty we are held safely, protected by our faith in the mystery of love and truth; for we remember, love and truth is always very proud of us. We live with complete assurance, our full self-confidence expressed in the frustration and friction of growth that fills life with joy as we overcome and persevere.
Dr. Clark Falconer is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain. He is a practicing Psychiatrist from Vancouver, Canada and the author of the new, critically acclaimed book The Three Word Truth About Love And Being Well.
Photo credit: ‘Jackdaw Soaring‘ by Big Stock