Many of us lack self-confidence. We feel hopeless and unfulfilled–too weak to strive for any higher goal. Lack of confidence can result from mental character or upbringing. If it is our upbringing that has stunted our growth, it is not so difficult to change and grow. But even those of us whose mental character lacks confidence can change.
Here is some great advice from this Tibetan Buddhist master on becoming more self-confident:
Root Causes of a Lack of Self-Confidence
1. Guilt. Many people, especially in competitive societies, feel guilty or unworthy. Some of us may say, “I donít deserve happiness, thatís for other, luckier people,” or we may say, “It isnít fair for me to experience peace while there are so many others struggling.”
If we are honestly worried about being selfish, we are to be commended for our wonderful attitude. If we respect and care about others more than ourselves, this is at the heart of Buddhist practice, and an attitude that will naturally give more strength and openness. But most of those guilty feelings are mere covers for our own insecurity, another form of clinging to self, an excuse for not putting forth effort to improve our lives. Feelings of unworthiness and resistance to happiness and peace are as irrational as saying, “I donít want to eat, because Iím hungry.”
2. Our Competitive Culture. Beginning in kindergarten, many children build a habit of feeling they are not good enough, since there is someone in the class who is better than they are, and who is rewarded for it. Being best is a highly valued commodity in our modern world.
Children who are bombarded with adult reprimands and recriminations feel great psychological pressure. Some parents blame their children for a lack of accomplishment, and even when they offer encouragement, it may take the form of pressure if not given with unconditional love.
The Powerful Remedies
1. Realize that we are perfect in our true nature. If we understand this, confidence and fulfillment will spontaneously arise within us. If we have any positive quality in our lives, however small, we should train ourselves to notice and feel good about it. When we experience positive energy, even if it grows out of some simple experience, it will bring a feeling of satisfaction that will enable us to develop greater joy and fulfillment.
2. Dedicate yourself to improving your skills and developing compassion and openness. After practicing for a while, we will find our calmness and positive attitude have grown.
Adapted from The Healing Power of Mind, by Tulku Thondup (Shambhala, 1996). Copyright (c) 1996 by Tulku Thondup. Reprinted by permission of Shambhala.
Adapted from The Healing Power of Mind, by Tulku Thondup (Shambhala, 1996).