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Topic: Beliefs & Attitudes

Dr. Nancy Irwin (Click on authors name for bio)

Posted: Monday, August 29th 2011

"Who is sure of their own motives can in confidence advance or retreat.” Goethe

One of the top issues for which patients come into my clinic is confidence.

Like money, couldn’t we all use more confidence? So many of us are waiting till we have enough confidence to ask for a raise, to try stand-up comedy, to go to the next level in our relationship, etc. If we all waited to have enough confidence, we’d be dead! How much is enough? And how the heck do you measure it anyway? 

Think back to something that you felt confident about doing.  How did you know you had enough confidence? How much was enough? Chances are, if it was something you really, really, really wanted badly, you just went for it even though you had some degree of fear. You did it anyway, in spite of the fear.

Confidence comes in the doing….and you will never feel like you have enough.

Let’s break down the actual meaning of the word itself: it comes from the Latin words for “with” (con)and “fidelity” (fidelis). When you confide in someone, you trust that what you share with them will remain private. You value the safety of that privacy. 

Many, however, interpret confidence as faith in their ability to perform well enough or attain something instantly. This can be dis-empowering, since we will always find others who are more talented or “better” than us. Try trusting the reason behind your goal: your values. When you stand in a place of being faithful to your cause or your values, there is just not much room for fear. Loyalty to your values allows you to combat the natural fears and doubts that will nearly always accompany you on your path to attaining goals. Begin by asking yourself what you are committed to in the long term (abundance, creative expression, intimacy,security, fun, etc.). This will allow you to focus on something bigger than your own performance or ability vs. the fears, doubts, and obstacles that may arise as you continue on your path.

It may be helpful to think of this as a continuum, and you can move from one end to the other anytime you choose.

As you can tell, the poor character in Edvard Munch’s famous painting of THE SCREAM is completely overwhelmed by fear, frozen on his path, and anxious about what is behind him. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who truly lives in the moment, lost in the joy of what he’s doing. While I have not met Mick Jagger (yet!), I believe it is safe to assume the man is committed to expressing himself through great music, having fun onstage, and entertaining audiences. He is ever faithful to these values.

Take a look at the goals you have right now: are you taking actionbased on love, or you are frozen by fear? Are you more of a Munch or a Mick?

Get in touch with your motives. And remember, if you start it up, you’ll never stop.

Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht.

Psychotherapy/Clinical Hypnosis









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