I just finished speaking with my cousin Karen and was inspired to do some writing tonight. She got me thinking about self confidence and this is what came up. -Duane.

About Being Yourself

If there is one thing that I know, it's that I and who I am. Saying this differently, I am me and no one else. I can decide to like or not like myself. I can decide to respect myself or not respect myself. Whether it is self appreciation, self-confidence, or self anything, I will get to experience myself in accordance with how I choose to see myself.

Many times I've spoken with others about how I seem to have great self-confidence because I'm not afraid to speak about what I believe. This was not always the case. I'm not even sure it's the case now. What is true is that I have learned that I am no one if I am at least not me. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I'm always being me. In truth, there is no way else to be. If I choose to hide and not express myself fully and honestly, then I'm being me in that way. In that case I am making a choice to be a person who does not fully express myself out of fear of some sort. But that is still being me. But is that the me I wish to be?

We choose to be what we are. We choose what we do. We choose how we respond. In everything we do, there is a personal choice involved. What varies is the degree to which we are aware of what we are basing that choice on. I think many of us would be surprised at just how many choices are made out of fear. And I think that we all agree that fear is not necessarily the best thing to base a choice upon, yet it is a common practice.

I personally don't see anything wrong with making choices out of fear. I just doesn't feel good to make choices that way. I feel better when I make choices that are the result of a sense of confidence and personal strength. Where there is a sense of fear I have not found much in the way of a sense of love going along with that fear. Where there is self-confidence and a sense of personal strength, I have found a sense of love riding along on that wave of feelings.

Do you like the way you choose to do things? If not, then why continue to do them in such a way? You are the one making choices, therefore you're the one that can make different choices. It is an obvious statement, yet while it is true, we all may find it times it is very difficult to change the way we do things.

For many years we have made choices in a certain way that is our very own. Regardless of the reasons behind the various motivations that guided us as we began to adopt certain ways of choosing, it's important to remember that it did occur over a period of time. It will be helpful to remember this when heading towards a new way of choosing. I believe it is equally helpful to remember that if we proceed on such a new path, we will definitely arrive at another way of choosing.

Whatever way to have learned to choose, keep in mind that there was nothing wrong with the patterns that you developed. Everything has its purpose, and so do your current patterns of choosing. If the pattern that is yours now serves you, then who is anyone else to tell you what is right or wrong for you. It is your life, and only you, only you, feels what is inside of you. Only you can sense what drives you, motivates you, and directs you. Therefore you are solely the one to gauge what is right for you.

That being said, if you find that the manner in which you choose is lacking, then you would be the one to know. Fortunately, you're also the one best equipped to understand why you choose in the way you have and how you would like to choose in the future. Others may help us to understand ourselves better, but ultimately they can only offer insights that may or may not truly address what is inside of us.

So if we have decided that a new manner of choosing would be good thing for us, then how do we go about the process of changing the way we choose? The first step is to be aware, fully aware, as much as possible, of what is within us that that is connected to what it is we must make a choice about. This is the time that the expression " know thyself" has great relevance, for when you fully understand all the affects you in your process of choosing, you'll be better able to weigh those pieces more effectively.

Let's be clear that all our behavior is a choice which is based upon what we feel works for us. This is why I say that there is nothing wrong with how you have been choosing your way through life. We do what we feel serves us best in that moment. Difficulty lies in having faith in alternatives with which we lack familiarity or even in believing that there are alternatives. There's also the problem of being on autopilot and falling back on our initial responses that effectively circumvent our ability to challenge our own actions. Remember, actions are the result of choices. We may be doers, but before there can be a doing, there is a choosing. Being able to take a moment to reflect upon the choice were about to make it gives us the opportunity to make choices that lead us to where we would like to go versus where we have been stuck.

Since the topic of this section is about being yourself, then let's just suppose that we are facing a situation where we would normally not express how we really feel. There are reasons behind our actions. Generally speaking we do what we feel keeps us safe so there are many other factors behind our actions. Perhaps in the past when we spoke our feelings we were rejected, ridiculed, shunned, or any other number of possibilities that were uncomfortable or hurtful. Perhaps we fell that by not speaking out we could avoid such pain. I think we can all agree that one time or another we have not spoken on in order to avoid discomfort. So such an approach does have its own logic. There may be a time in a place for such choices, but there is also a time to choose differently.

By stopping to look inside of ourselves we will find that there are ideas, thoughts, and feelings we are having along with the desire to avoid discomfort. I will give an example that I hope will serve to demonstrate that there is just a lot going on inside of us, even when it seems that we are only trying to avoid a simple thing like discomfort. Each time we avoid that discomfort by withholding our feelings, we may feel inside of ourselves bits and pieces of things such as the fear of being who we are, the fear of being wrong, that speaking out just doesn't work, perhaps the sense that our ideas have no value, or any number of things that can even include the disdain for those with which we are withholding our ideas. These are but a very few of the kinds of things that go on inside of us that we may not be paying attention to.

Remember that the notion that our ideas are of little value is not the primary impetus behind our choice, but rather just one of those pieces that is floating along with that primary desire to avoid discomfort. So a person continuously choose is to withhold their opinions in order to avoid discomfort may have the same time also be engendering a deep feeling that their ideas have little value. The real problem is that they may be completely unaware that each time they do not express themselves they are reinforcing a sense of limited self value. That's why a person who has been bottled up may feel a great sense of exhilaration when they finally speak out, regardless of how unproductive that speaking out may be in terms of the actual subject at hand.

This is just a very simplistic example, but I believe it makes the point that our choices have repercussions in ways that may be hidden from our view if we are not accustomed to fully understanding ourselves. Whatever is going on inside of us, we can discover. It takes a little time and attention, but it only requires our desire to discover ourselves. It doesn't require any advanced education for any formal training, just simple desire to explore our own thoughts and feelings. Know thyself.

So why do we care what others think?
So why do we care what others think? This is a good place to start the process of understanding what makes us tick. So you tell me, why do you care what others think?

What does it mean to have "self confidence"? I believe that their number of ways to be self-confident. We can develop self-confidence in particular field. This may come from experience, trial and error, and personal effort. We may just somehow feel self-confident. But how do we truly attain a fundamental "self-confidence"?

I believe that the greatest self-confidence comes from a faith in how the universe functions. Self-confidence in terms of an art, skill, or specific knowledge, does not give self-confidence in areas in which we are unfamiliar. I may have great self-confidence in building a boat but I may have little self-confidence when it comes to speaking in public. And I'm not speaking of being a bit nervous or uncertain. I'm speaking the sense of self trust. I'm speaking of a faith in oneself which carries along with a sense of self value.

If a person believed that they were a unique expression of God and the universe lovingly created them and offered to them experience for their own fulfillment, then they would have a sense of self worth that would extend beyond the details of their current life experience. They would sense that any perceived failure on their part in no way diminishs their own value but would be part of that experience that the universe lovingly designed for them. Whether or not the universe was in truth structured in such a way would not affect how this person perceived their life. They would perceive their life in accordance to how they see the universe.

We might expect that this person would have a great sense of self value that was independent of how anyone else saw them. What others think of us are but opinions. What we think about ourselves is ultimately how we will feel about ourselves. If the opinions of others becomes more important than our own opinion of ourselves, then we are truly at the mercy of either trying to please everyone or just a small group that we will choose to lean upon. Regardless of the approach, there will be people who we simply cannot please and whose opinions will not be supportive of who we are. That means that we will have to dismiss the opinions of at least a few people, so why not choose to not lean on the opinions of others now. After all, ultimately, is our opinion ourself that we are trying to affect by seeking positive opinions from others.

There is a vast difference between listening to the ideas of others for content versus being affected by the opinions of others. How others see value is a function of their own priorities and inner workings. It is not a statement of true value but of relative value, and only through their eyes. By seeking our value through the eyes of others, we lose what is truly valuable. We are truly valuable, regardless of what value may be assigned by others. I believe that part of the journey of knowing thyself is to discover our own value. You are of value because you exist. Never forget that. If your beliefs are such that this is not true, then I suggest you change those beliefs.


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