To be confident, we don’t need to know that a situation will be good. We need to know that we will be good, no matter what the situation. It’s that sense that gives us true, real and lasting confidence. People who, ahead of time, imagine things like: “Oh no, what if I fall to pieces and blush when everyone is looking at me on stage…?” are misusing their imagination to undermine their own confidence.
When we use hypnosis to help people, we have them feeling relaxed and calm, as well as super energised and focussed if that’s appropriate.
Have you ever thought that when YOU are DIFFERENT in a given situation, that SITUATION becomes DIFFERENT? You could be negatively conditioning yourself to lose that confidence. So to become more confident, you will need to not only avoid what you have been doing but do the opposite. Let me explain this with a story.
The Horror of presenting in front of everyone ‘next Thursday’
Maya is prone to misusing her imagination for negative self-hypnosis.
She is told to do a short presentation of her ideas at the next group weekly meeting on Thursday by her Team leader. She is petrified as she has never presented in front of her colleagues before.
And now, whenever her thoughts turn to ‘next Thursday’, she feels terrified. She is
imagining next Thursday at the same time as feeling scared and powerless.
She keeps doing this. All-day Friday, when she goes home, on Saturday, on Sunday – feeling scared at the same time as imagining ‘next Thursday’. This self-hypnotic self-torture begins to really work. Soon enough, just the words ‘next Thursday’ bring on a post-hypnotic surge of automatic anxiety.
The association of the feeling of fear with the imagination of next Thursday’s presentation has become linked. Not in her thinking, but in her feeling.
People do this kind of negative self-conditioning with all kinds of things, from flying in aeroplanes to going on dates. So what should Maya be doing?
She needs to become aware of what she has been doing and start to think about next Thursday while feeling totally calm and relaxed and to imagine the talk going really well and her feeling good about that. She can even imagine herself feeling relaxed and calm even if things don’t go so well (remember: “Whatever happens, I’ll be okay.’) She needed to re-associate ‘next Thursday’ with ‘calm optimism’.
How hypnosis will help you increase your confidence
You will have understood by now that a good part of any lack of confidence you
may have felt in different situations in the past may have been due to you practising negative self-hypnosis. Naturally, none of us intends to do or is aware we are doing this.
But soon when you start to train yourself in hypnotic skills, it will help open your eyes to see how readily we accept negative suggestions – from others and from ourselves – and to how easily we fall into misusing our own imaginations to frighten ourselves.
When you can spot this happening, in yourself or in others, you are finally in a position to change things for the better. You can re-associate positive feelings to those specific situations you generally feel under-confident in. The more you do this, the more self-confident you will become. And the hypnotic exercise that follows will help you train in the art of nurturing your own confidence.
Identify a specific situation in which you would like to have more self-confidence (more of the calm, optimistic feeling that “I will do my best, and whatever happens I’ll be okay.”) and then use this exercise.
- Find somewhere comfortable and peaceful to sit or lie, where you know
you won’t be disturbed for a while. Close your eyes and start to pay attention to the sensation of resting deeper and deeper with each breath. After absorbing this for some time, redirect your attention to get a sense of calmly watching yourself, from the outside, actually being in that time and place and situation, as it is unfolding, looking so calm and relaxed and focussed in just the right way.
- As your breathing becomes slower and gentler, visualize pure relaxation as your favourite colour. Notice as the colour, your colour, soothes its way through the muscle fibres of your feet, perhaps warming them a little as you relax deeper.
Watch in your mind’s eye how that rest and relaxation spreads up the muscles of your legs, and up through your torso, and all over your body as you go deeper into a hypnotic trance. Take your time.
- When your unconscious mind lets you know that you have learned everything you need from this experience, then allow yourself to drift out of that future situation and float back into the here and now. Gradually become aware of calmly watching yourself in a future time, looking relaxed and happy, in a time after a certain kind of situation in which you would previously have felt less than confident. Maybe you can see yourself sitting in a chair or just resting someplace. Notice what it is about the you there in that unfolding situation that lets the you here in trance know the you there is completely open and relaxed with whatever the situation brings.
You might notice how other people around are affected by the steady confidence and calm of the you there.
- Now get a sense of drifting forwards in time and merging with that you in that situation, so you can discover what it feels like from the inside to feel so calm and focused and accepting of everything that happens as that situation unfolds, knowing that whatever occurs, you are okay.
Notice how pleased that future you looks in that future time, after that event, so pleased that you have added yet another thing to your list of confident activities or situations. Give yourself time to fully register how calmly yet deeply happy you feel about this. When you’re ready, drift out of hypnosis and come back to the room, feeling rested, refreshed and inspired.
The more you repeat this exercise, the less you’ll need to repeat it. This will help you become more of who you are dealing quite naturally with life and its challenges.