Sometimes I look at people with a tonne of confidence and wonder if they’re just really, really dumb. I mean, we live in flux. Every cell in our bodies is doing something right now—there is no such thing as security because all you can really count on is change—so what in the heck makes someone self-confident?? What is there to be confident about? I mean, it seems like there are more reasons to stress in the world than be content. Not only do we not know what’s happening right now, but everything will change in an instant (according to laws we don’t yet understand) and much of the data we have collected on things we do understand says we should be very, very afraid. So what gives? What do we have to feel confident about? Well, actually, we have quite a lot to feel confident about.
LaLee Goes to Counselling:
I went to a university counsellor in second year asking for the cure to anxiety, please. He sort of… giggled at me. He asked if I knew that everyone suffers from anxiety. I turned away to absorb this game-changing information, then shit back a request for him to tell me how they deal with it. He turned his palms up, threw his bottom lip out and wrinkled his eyebrows ironically at me. His eyes sparkled. I was amusing I guess. And he was cheeky. Confidence isn’t something we decide we are, it’s something we do.
It’s in Our Language, Our Story
The trouble with trying to think confidently is that it doesn’t lend itself to language or linear rationale very easily. We relay information, normally, to describe danger. We’re hard-wired to share problems & warnings. When we have good news, we celebrate. Think about it. Our rational minds, and therefore our language, is focussed on problem solving. And when we have something good to share, we tend towards experiencing it.
So how is it that some people seem to be celebrating a whole lot more? I’m not talking about egotistical false confidence (that’s just masking insecurity), I’m only interested in real confidence—the kind that can take Obama amounts of punches and roll expertly with them, come out with a smile then crack a joke at their fairings. Haven’t they seen the research?? Don’t they know what’s happening in the world?? Love is ending, earth is dying, evil is rising, god is dead. These people are celebrating because they are experiencing an understanding: none of that is truly True.
If I’m Having Anxiety, I’m Missing Something Major
I have this little rule with myself now. When I get anxious & I think something is truly horrific, I remind myself there is something I am misunderstanding. I used to get really worked up about stuff—I’d get some information, like rudimentary understanding of the global economy for example, and just be obliterated with the injustice of it all. When I was finally brought around to a more sincere understanding of the world economy, which didn’t really involve justifications for me to rage against the machine at all, (it took 1 brilliant—and patient—teacher, an intricately laid out curriculum & a whole whack of investment on his part) I realized that every time I got extremely upset over something—it was because I didn’t understand it completely.
That’s why really, really smart & knowledgeable people are often awesomest! Have you seen Einstein quotes?? (PS always fact check whether they are Einstein quotes.) He was rad! Why? He understood this huge enormous life-thing at a level that unlocked all of this beauty and grace—he was confident because he experientially understood something, not with his mind alone, but with his entire being. He understood with a wholistic-ness that unlocked the magic of it all. Imagine how confident you would be if you understood the world is good! And imagine what yu could accomplish…
Throw Out Positive Thinking; I’ve Got Something Better
As I mentioned, we don’t study the good. We experience the good. We don’t go to school to study what’s right—we research what’s wrong. It’s just how linear thought & language evolved. That’s why we have art. Poetry is a different kind of language expression; it fires different centres (it delineates experience & that’s part of what gives us awe). Music is poetry. Symbolism evokes the same sorts of experience with language. Taking in art is an exceptional way to get in touch with experiential understanding, with awe… with gratitude.
I was on a trail & some hikers hunted me down to warn me about a cougar that was seen in the area days ago. I heard it on the radio and at yoga. The cougar was gone, they don’t even attack fully grown humans on the island, but everyone was talking about it. It’s so easy to get caught up thinking about the totally improbable cougar attack and forget about the waterfall, the company, the very real scenario where the cougar is more afraid of you than you are of it—the enormous goodness all around you: and that’s anxiety, it’s also rational thinking, and it isn’t the whole truth.
So what to do? Don’t ignore a possible cougar attack, but holy hell catch your brain if it starts fixating and look around. Look to reality in its whole: to experiential understanding. What is happening? You’re on a trail, in the middle of a beautiful rainforest, some nice people cared enough about you to run after you and give you a heads up, and there is, in all probability, nothing that is looking to eat you on the trail today. Get back into the experience and you will not only cultivate a sense of appreciation, of celebration, and of gratitude, but you will probably also feel an influx of that ever-lovely confidence. This is what spurns us to create. This is how we do change.
Where is Confidence if it’s Not in Language?
Confidence is the way that we process wonderful news, the solutions, the exultations & the kudos; confidence is gratitude for what is present. If you want to cultivate confidence, the most linear way is to cultivate gratitude. Being grateful enters you into the mode where confidence lives—it ushers you into the good (and real) life. Unlike ‘thinking positively’, gratitude is actually grounded in reality. The kind of confidence that is forced/ignorant is short lived and I’m too much of an investor to put money in stock I know will crash—but you can make a very sound investment by simply taking stock of what’s really going on around you, what is truly happening in your life and surroundings, getting outside verbal communications and into experience to understand the whole. Even if something truly terrible is happening, it’s only through gratitude that we feel an absolutely necessary strive forward to make change.
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Take care everyone!