We all want to feel confident, peaceful, happy and successful. We all would love to exude these positive qualities all of the time. Yet often, our life circumstances seem to make us feel exactly the opposite. We feel tired, fearful, depressed, stressed, not good enough and sometimes overwhelmed by the challenges we are going through.
Please click here to see a short video clip (taken on someone’s phone so please ignore the quality) to hear me talking about this on a panel at a conference discussing how to build your confidence. I talk about three important keys to self-mastery: I. A. F. standing for Identity, Feelings, Actions. (There is also a very short second video you can watch by clicking page one about ‘successful daring’).
As I highlight in the video, knowing your identity starts with a recognition of who you are as your highest and best self. Take time now to remember a time when you were your very best self. What were you like? Positive, kind, inspiring, loving? How would an observer describe you? Work out what three or four qualities most accurately describe you. For me, I know that when I am at my best I am confident, light-hearted, inspirational and focused on people’s True Self. What are your beautiful qualities? Reflect on your traits when you are the highest version of yourself. These traits make up your identity.
Your identity is your primary concern. Why? Because it generates your actions. And every action you take leads to your feelings. It becomes a self-perpetuating loop: your identity of say confidence, calmness and happiness leads to actions that affirm those qualities. In turn, you then feel good and more confident, calm and happy. This further supports your identity.
As I point out in the video, unfortunately, we often start with how we are feeling. We get caught up in how we feel. To compound this, there are a huge number of books and ‘new age’ teachers telling us we must ‘listen’ to our feelings. And yes, we should when those feelings are coming from our highest and best self. But mostly, the feelings we experience and ‘listen’ to are coming from our ego self. That part of us that wants to keep us safe, comfortable and aligned with our limitations. That part of us that has no interest in our happiness. When we are caught up in our negative emotions, we naturally take action based on those bad feelings. And guess what kind of actions might arise from them? Then, how might we feel as a result? Not great!
So having absolute clarity on your identity is key. And, practicing that identity as often as you can reinforces it in your mind and emotions.
One thing we can know is that our innermost self, known as our unconditioned or True Self continually exudes all of our most wonderful qualities. Whatever qualities you decide demonstrate the best version of yourself, your True Self already embodies them. Your job is to consistently bring them forth. Remember: be less interested in how you feel and more aware of, and committed to, who you want to be. This is the key to self-mastery
Here is a quote about the value of this from David Reynolds: “The mature human being goes about doing what needs to be done regardless of whether that person feels great or terrible. Knowing that you are the kind of person with that kind of self- control brings all the satisfaction and confidence you will ever need. Even on days when the satisfaction and confidence just aren’t there, you can get the job done anyway.”