Regaining Your Confidence
Do you lose confidence after a loss or failure? If it’s a particularly big loss or failure, or part of a series, you may find it next to impossible to have faith in yourself afterward. Lost confidence can affect you for years and become embedded in your story as a recurring theme that seems to have a life of its own. Even if you try to hide your insecurity, others may pick up on it easily because you telegraph it though your words, actions, attitudes, and body language. Then, no matter how much you try, you seem to have bad luck. You sabotage your successes and don’t know why. Failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regaining your confidence can be very difficult.
We’ve all known someone who seems to have an air of desperation and fear about achieving a goal—and that person may be us! Most have experienced a loss of confidence and a resulting fear that we’ll never get it back.
It can be helpful to think of lost confidence as a lost soul part that separated from you and can be reclaimed and reabsorbed into who you are. Through discovering the part of yourself that has confidence in some arena, you can reclaim the energy of confidence and let it propel you. If you have failed at business after business or job after job, you might spend some time pursuing an interest that you have achieved success in. You might even discover the seed for a new business. Many entrepreneurs have built successful businesses around a talent or skill they had previously undervalued.
Then too, the energetic imprint of being a failure or bumbler is simply an aspect of being vulnerable. When we feel insecure, we’re recognizing that we don’t have expertise, that our control is limited, and that we have much to learn. Vulnerability and what the Buddhists call beginner’s mind can be an asset if you need to learn something new. Confidence may build as a person achieves mastery. Recognizing that you are not a master is the first step in becoming one. You may need to learn more about developing a healthy relationship or business partnership. You may need to learn the art of tolerating your discomfort in discovering your weaknesses and holes in your understanding. Athletes will often review videos of their performances on the field or court to learn where their weaknesses lie so they can improve on them. A loss of confidence followed by a willingness to learn something new can turn out to be very beneficial. As you learn more about what you need to work on, you may well find your confidence returns.
You might also think of confidence as an archetypal energy you need to re-encounter and bring back into your being so that you can write a new story for your life. The energy of confidence attracts situations that mirror that confidence and people who see you as secure and attractive as a romantic partner, friend, business partner, or leader.
You can always reclaim a soul part that has become lost. You may do this through activities that build your confidence or through working with your intuitive mind—the unconscious mind that generates dreams and through which you can discover, encounter, and work with the archetypal energies that influence you. Techniques such as shamanic journeying, meditation, and Jungian sand tray work are some ways to access the unconscious mind and any soul parts that have become lost. Engaging in the arts—writing poetry, composing songs, dancing, and so on—can also help you find any parts of yourself that have gone missing, such as confidence. The key is to let go of judgments and analysis from the part of the brain that is biased and prone to negative thoughts, such as, “But I’m not a real poet,” or “I’m not a very good dancer, so I shouldn’t dance.” Simply allow your unconscious mind to bring back into being what has become lost, the part of your soul you want to reclaim.
You can also engage the energy that seems to be preventing you from reclaiming what you have lost. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and allow a symbol to arise in your mind (or imagine you are seeing a symbol that has appeared in a dream or journey that you suspect has something to teach you about what you have lost). Ask that symbol what message it has for you. Ask it what it wants from you and what you can do for it. Listen carefully. Then, tell it what you would like from it. Is it willing to give you what you would like? If not, ask it why. Do you need to do something before you can receive its gift?
The message from the symbol you’re dialoguing with may be a simple one: “Learn to laugh,” for example, or “Give yourself time.” The message may not come to you as words but as another symbol, or a feeling or sensation. Sit with it until you understand it. You may find you have to encounter it more than once to receive its message. It’s common to have difficulty opening up to the message because it can be a difficult truth. You may not realize you have been holding on to fear and judgment for reasons that are no longer valid. When you let them go, regaining your confidence or other soul parts that have become lost becomes far easier.
As someone once said, “It’s not who you are that holds you back, but who you think you are not.”
Bring your lost confidence back into your soul, where it belongs. Write a new story for your life.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.