How to Find Confidence, Peace of Mind and Love Through Meditation
The foundation of confidence is rightness. Lacking confidence has everything to do with not knowing who we are, and with not being who we are. Remember the beautiful fairy tale about the ugly duckling that was really a beautiful swan? Until the duckling found out that she was really a beautiful swan, she felt uneasy, out of place, and didn't fit in. In other words, the little duckling had to find out who she was before she could have real confidence.
That brings us to another typical situation: where from the time we are little, we are made to feel uncomfortable for being ourselves or telling the truth. We can't talk about dad's drinking, mom's temper, or big sister's cruelty. If we do we are put down, or perhaps even worse, made to seem like we are wrong.
In school we have to sit still or get medicated. And when we become adults, we find that we are supposed to pretend. We have to pretend to be nice, pretend to like things, and pretend that we don't see certain things.
We become repressed and suppressed, and we operate on a shallow surface level. But the danger here is that we are repressed and resentful. Underneath we are angry. And we are not happy.
Some people express themselves through rebelling. Dressing weird, acting weird and hanging around with weird or bad people permits us to rebel against the hypocrites who never let us be ourselves. But ask yourself--if you do the opposite of what those you hate want you to do, are your being yourself? Or are you being forced to be the opposite, which is still not really the true you, and may be just what the hypocrites wanted. You see--when you become rebellious and look bad, the hypocrites feel self righteous in comparison to you.
Have you ever wondered why so much modern art is bizarre and the music, angry? Where is the artisanship of the masters and the musicality of Mozart? The reason why so much of what is modern in the arts is not that good is because the artists and composers are expressing their anger, and they are trying to be different from those who would not let them be themselves.
Another reason why many of us lack confidence is because we are people pleasers. From the time we were little we were taught that pleasing others is good and offending others is bad. We conformed for approval, and then received the assurances and perks that go with conformity. Unfortunately we never grew as individuals. Because what we have become is a creation of and a reflection of those around us, we become very dependent on others for support and reassurance. Without their mom's, wife's, husband's, company's, or some organization's approval, many people become lost and totally insecure.
Now, let's talk about confidence directly. I'm a golfer. I know how important it is to make that last three foot putt on the 18th green to close the deal. Many golfer will freeze up, poke at the ball, leave it short, or pull the ball. Closing the deal at the free throw line, nailing the interview, making the sale, passing the test, having a successful dinner party are other examples of situations where many people feel they must succeed, and if then don't, they suffer a loss of confidence.
But look carefully, and ask yourself--does it really matter if I miss the putt, burn the roast for dinner, fail the test, don't get the job, or miss the free throw? The truth is: over the long haul, it doesn't matter. Do you have children? If not, just imagine that you have a child who you love very much. Don't you still love your child, even if she misses the free throw or doesn't get asked to the prom? Of course you do. You love your child unconditionally.
So now here is the big question. Do you still love yourself if you mess up? Chances are, your answer is no. Most of us condemn or even hate ourselves when we mess up. If we were condemned as kids, then we replay the old tapes and condemn ourselves. It is hard to be confident when you are beating yourself up over life's little failings.
So far we have covered three reasons for lack of confidence: not knowing who we are; not being who we really are; and not performing up to some externally based standard that we have taken on.
Before suggesting a possible remedy, let me mention another likely cause for lack of confidence. Remember how I said the foundation of confidence is rightness? We have already seen that rightness means being our authentic self, expressing ourselves, and learning to love ourselves even though we mess up in some way.
Now I wish to mention the role of anger, hostility and resentment in robbing us of self confidence. Because resentment is wrong, we just cannot be solidly confident when we harbor resentment. We feel guilty and sheepish, and this makes us even more likely to clam up and say nothing. It also makes us more likely to people-please, because resentment erodes our foundation by which we could have taken a righteous stance.
Sure, we feel right when we are angry. But we deceive ourselves. Just like a drink makes some people feel confident, so anger makes some feel righteous. But in reality, they are not brave from drinking or righteous in anger.
After a lifetime of copping out and depending on others for self esteem, it may take quite a while to find your true path in life (where you can be truly confident). But you can start right now to watch for resentment and let it pass. Resentment clouds our perception. When you are not resentful and angry, you will be able to see the right or wise thing to do.
By practicing living and moving gracefully instead of with the old resentment and anger energy, everything you do will no longer be tinged with wrong. You will find true success and joy in beginning to live properly and step by step, you will begin to find your true path.
Most of us are suppressed and inhibited because we are reactive, and thus outer directed. We react to situations and people, and then say or do the wrong thing. We become afraid of expressing our pent-up hostility, and we dread another round of error and failure. So we hide ourselves from others so as not to be embarrassed or make mistakes. We put on a phony facade to keep people at a distance. Our secret hostility and resentment make us feel empty and needy.
But instead of finding an inner rapport and wholeness, we reach out to the world. Feeling unworthy and yet needy, we clumsily claw for love, often settling for the most lowly and loathsome love offerings. When we can't bear the pain of reaching for love anymore, we settle for the comfort and false love of drugs, alcohol, and pills, or we stuff ourselves with food. All because in our distant past someone upset us or pulled on our heart strings, tempting us to step away from our center of dignity and love.
Objects or goals stand in for the people who upset us in the past. We get mad at things and struggle with them because they represent the original person who upset us, made us doubt ourselves or made us angry.
There is always frustration and futility involved in any goal because it is not really our own. It is a goal that others tempted us to have. No wonder our work, study, and our possessions, instead of bringing us joy or modest satisfaction, can become drudgery and negatively charged. Our emotional over-reactions and the unhealthy practices we employ to distract and comfort ourselves lead to health problems.
We reach out for help to pills and procedures, only to discover these are forms of false love which only relieve symptoms and often only permit us to get worse. What has really happened is that we have become separated from the spiritual roots from which our true personality could have flowered. We became separated through resenting others and through doubting what we have always known deep down.
Some of us continue to yearn for the good we have never known. But reaching out to worldly spiritual or religious organizations has brought us betrayal or led to cynicism. We love truth and goodness, but we haven't found the real thing. Those we trusted either betrayed us, used us, or revealed their own lack of understanding.
What we need is to refind the inner intuitive way of living and moving and having our being. We need the original perspective, the one we had before we were upset and sidetracked by authorities who themselves had been tempted away from reason and inner love. Fortunately we can find the love and understanding we have always been searching for by learning to become still.
We can refind the original perspective, and then moving unemotionally from this clear perspective, we will see our way back to a sensible, calm, inner directed way of life. A special simple meditation or centering exercise teaches us how to stand back from thought and emotion. It is not difficult or complicated. Perhaps the most difficult part of it is setting aside the intellectual analysis and second guessing, and just practicing the meditation in its sheer simplicity.
Calming down and beginning to see clearly, we begin to see things and people, including ourselves, as we really are. Going out into the world, we learn to be less reactive. We learn to be patient with people. We learn not to look to them for love, because once having found the inner light in which to see, wordless guidance by which to act, and inner warmth and rapport to seal us off from outer entanglements, we are free to express truth and be patient with others.
Family, relationship, work, and health issues begin to resolve themselves. When we have love instead of seeking love, and when we have patience instead of impatience, we develop a healthy disinterest concern for others, instead of needing something from them.
Spiritual and physical health is the natural state of the body and soul. By learning to give up the resentment, emotionality, and a misguided lifestyle that interferes with health, we recover in the Light.
Now do you see it? To be right, we must be whole. To be whole, we must be connected with our inner ground. Then we can flow intuitively from within, expressing our authentic self with patience and wisdom. Being patient (not resentful toward others), we can then be patient with ourselves. Visit commonsensecounseling.org to learn more about the free meditation to refind and flow from your inner ground of good.