You might think that all yoga teachers must be confident, speaking in public in front of large groups of people. This is not the case; I’ve heard many teachers share their “rabbit in the headlights – mind gone blank moments”.
I’m the youngest of four children, and we were born within five years, so from a young age, I learnt to speak up with confidence to be heard and not forgotten about. So, fortunately, I don’t have that fear and terror that other teachers face.
We all have different life experiences; therefore, there are some things that I may feel confident doing that you don’t, and vice versa. Growing up in my household, whenever I would sing, I was told to stop and that I was a bad singer. No surprise that I grew up with little confidence around singing, even though it is something I LOVE to do!
“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
It’s incredible how our life experiences shape the ways in which we grow or don’t grow, how a perceived weakness can be strengthened with encouragement and guidance, or on the flipside be weakened even further with words of doubt or criticism.
Maybe in your life, there was a singular experience that profoundly affected you, changing your opinion there and then about what you thought about yourself, about what you could or couldn’t do or achieve. There certainly will have been a gradual process throughout your life where others and different exposure to things will have shaped your beliefs about yourself. And this is happening both on a conscious and unconscious level.
Take the world we live in and how we have been marketed too. We’ve been led to believe that looking a certain way is the “ideal”, and that is what we all must strive towards, most often for aesthetic reason. Therefore, when you don’t match the “ideal”, it’s the perfect breeding ground for feeling disempowered and losing confidence.
As you read this, are there any particular thoughts that come to mind regarding things you lack confidence around?
Is it something about your physical appearance?
Your ability in the field of sports, arts, music, technology, numbers?
Expressing your truth, your wants and needs?
Men, women, certain animals?
Maybe you lack confidence being one and one with someone, rather than being with big groups?
If you dig deep into the things you lack confidence with, there may well be a whole web of associated negative feelings, comparison with self/others, self-doubt, anxiety, shame, fear etc.
I, therefore, encourage you to get up close and personal with that thing you lack confidence in. Sit quietly in reflection, even for a couple of minutes, and see what comes up.
Where did it stem from?
How does it show up in your life?
What helps it, and what makes it worse?
Perhaps journal or share with someone else what arises. It’s helpful and healthy to do such exploration as I feel like that lack of confidence is like a stealthy little demon inside you, holding you back in some way.
“Do the thing you think you cannot do.”
For some, their lack of confidence around something is so severe and unavoidable that they need therapy of some kind to function in life. By facing and dealing with the problem, they pass through those negative feelings, coming out the other side feeling more empowered, confident and radiant.
But for many, we can just avoid our triggers, the little demons lurk under the surface, and we seem to get by in life. That doesn’t resolve the confidence issues, though, or ones lack of self-esteem around them.
I don’t want to let old preconceived ideas of how I sound stop me from singing/chanting and expressing myself. So for me, my goal is to get more comfortable singing in front of people.
After understanding your insecurities, ask yourself do you want to overcome them? If so…
How can you work through them?
What changes do you need to make?
What support can you seek?
And most importantly, what is your Why? (That’s what will keep you connected to your goal of overcoming them.)
My Why: I love Kirtan (singing songs/mantras – mostly in Sankskrit – mostly in groups) and would love to introduce it to others so they, too, can share the joy and healing benefits.
So, to close my friends, may you find a way to work through any doubts, connect to your inner power, fire up your confidence, and express yourself freely and radiantly.