The beliefs we hold, about who we are, shape the way we express ourselves. This is a profound truth. If you believe you are a confident person, you will be confident; similarly, if you believe you are shy and retiring, then you will behave that way. Self confidence is fundamentally derived from belief. So if you want to become more confident, then one way to do it is to work on your beliefs. Quite simply, when you change your self image – your view of your self – you will also change your behaviour. You might call this an inside out approach.
There is another way to go about becoming more confident and that might be labelled the outside in approach, a procedure that is sometimes called the ‘fake it til you make it’ method. Working from the outside means working on your behaviour, rather than your beliefs. Both methods can work.
Let’s talk about the outside-in approach first. Do you think that you could act confident? I know you might think you are not a very good actor (by the way, that’s a belief) but, do you think you could try to just act a bit more confident? When you think about this for a while, you will realise that you could. Of course, you would not see that behaviour as your own – as a part of you – it is just an act. But you could do it, if pressed – right?
Now, other people around you will not know what is going on inside you. They will largely be unaware of any internal conflict between who you think you are and this apparently other person you are now acting like. But, if you simply act confident, then you will have altered a stimulus in your environment. You will begin to produce effects that you otherwise would not have produced – the result of taking a more a confident approach to situations and that’s when something important happens.
When you begin to see the fruit of acting in a more confident way, you will be receiving positive feedback. You will begin to reap the benefits of the behaviour, even though at this stage you will still not see it as yours; you will still feel that it is just an act, but you will have moved on a step. You then need to persist with the new behaviour and, do you know something? It starts to get a bit easier.
Eventually, if you keep at it, you will come to realise that your previous, retiring nature was no more you than this new behaviour you are trying on for size and then you will realise that you do have a choice. You can decide to keep the new behaviour with the benefits it brings or you can go back to your old behaviour. It is entirely up to you. But using this approach will get you to realise that being confident is no more difficult than trying on a new coat. Actually, it is simply a new habit, but that’s what a behavioural habit is: a garment worn by the personality.
So, now let’s talk a bit about the inside out approach. This is where you work on your belief rather than your behaviour. It works because much of our behaviour flows from our self image. Quite simply, if you can convince yourself that you are a confident person, then you will become more confident. You don’t need to work on your behaviour when using this approach. It is a naturally product of changing your self image.
So how can you go about changing your beliefs about yourself? There are a number of ways including both hypnosis and positive affirmations and they can both work very well. With hypnosis, we enter a quiet, meditative state where we can gently slip helpful positive suggestions past our conscious critical self. Sounds easy and in fact, it is easy. Just remember if you purchase any hypnosis audios that they have not been prepared for the conscious mind. In fact, you might find them a bit boring. That’s all a part of the process i.e. put the conscious mind to sleep whilst we talk directly to the subconscious.
An alternative approach is by using affirmations. Now I am personally a huge fan of this method for changing your self-image. It is remarkably easy to do and yet it is deceptively powerful. Affirmations take hardly any time at all and you don’t need to believe in them to make them work for you. You just need to choose the right affirmations and say them to yourself regularly.
If you choose the right affirmations and repeat the procedure often enough, your subconscious mind will eventually accept those affirmations, your self image will change and the behaviour you want will flow as a natural consequence. As I mentioned above, all of these methods work. If you would like to try affirmations, I recommend you join our free Positive Affirmations course. If you want to try hypnosis, we have an excellent hypnosis audio program too.
So in summary, you can become more confident even if your think otherwise (that would be a belief again) because you can change your beliefs. You can work on the outside (behaviour) if you like the approach better. Both methods work. Remember that inside of that shy, retiring person that you may presently think you are, there is another much more confident version of yourself trying to get out.