Outgrowing Your Britches:
Have you heard the old cliché, “don’t get too big for your britches?” While I get the underlying sentiment to keep us from becoming arrogant, self-centered, and to mind our humility, all good, it seemed to have an effect on dampening confidence as well. Out of a desire to be good human beings, many comply.
But while arrogance and low self-esteem are two sides of the same coin, confidence is another animal, a product of many things. It is an innate inner resource that is lit up from internal sources like knowing your existence is its own value, knowing your feelings matter, healthy boundaries, knowing you’re capable, self-trust and so on.
Confidence is also lit by external sources that touch something within us and wake it up.
You know the moment, it’s a spark from a teacher, a parent, a line from a speaker or a workshop, a book, a passing comment from a stranger, a friend, the love of your life, or nature, for example. I can point to so many of these moments where suddenly something in me came alive connecting the dots I’d been collecting for days or years.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” ~Einstein
This precious inner resource can be shattered so easily, where we feel cut off from it from years of abuse, neglect, messages spoken and unspoken that invalidate or simply being taught that arrogance and confidence are the same thing.
Ironically, those very things can also spur our confidence. All from the place it truly exists, in our innate sense of value and permission. Even the one who thinks they have no confidence, has confidence, shattered as it may be. To hope for something different says that you know it exists.
Confidence can be restored because confidence is the will to connect with something inside yourself that is invincible. It is your value, which is immutable, unchangeable, and infinite regardless of the messages around you.
It’s true. There is an element to confidence that is built brick by brick. By each choice. Each action. When you set a boundary and stand by it, for example, you build confidence. When you take action on your intuition, you affirm your own value. The permission you give yourself to do so comes first. The confidence follows.
Your confidence is also built in relationship. When another stands for you, with you, trusts you. When you are encouraged without strings, when you are seen and enjoyed as yourself. There isn’t a lot of fanfare with it. It’s simple. It’s peaceful.
Years ago, when I taught EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) classes, I taught a weight loss class including the idea that, people will often expand their pant size instead of their lives. They will reach for the invisibility of their smallness, a small self inside a big body, instead of the unknown of their potentials. As they broke through the particular emotional/energetic barriers that related to why they had packed on the pounds, the pounds disappeared.
There is an innate will that moves in each of us. It is a will to thrive. A will to create. To be something better, to become who we can be, to love and live from enthusiasm, as I mentioned last week. When we hold it back, however wise that self-protection was at the time, it can cause low confidence, addictions, financial issues, depression, weight problems, dis-ease, relational problems, lack of purpose and direction, fears, and for sure, suck our passion dry.
All while you’re thinking you’re a mess! When in truth, you are more than you could possibly imagine!
Though you may want the confidence to become more, it will more likely start with permission. An inner permission that opens the way and the space for the confidence, or any other resource to come alive in you.
Your confidence is in there, even if it needs some unearthing.
On a call with a client this week, she wanted to address a tenacious frustration in her life, clutter. Stuff. If she put it away, she would forget about it. She wanted to clean it out and remember what she has. The clutter represented a place where life had frozen inside her. Old projections and perceptions from others, old pain, and, it played an important protective role. She was holding love out and the stuff in like a security blanket.
As we worked and the energetic patterns dissolved, she found herself full of energy moving around the room throwing things away. Things she long kept for various reasons now held no attachment.
Isn’t that the way? We hold the burdens, skeletons, and projections of others, as well as the good and sentimental in our arms, as if there won’t be more, diminishing our confidence. But when we empty our arms, our selves, our psyches, we make room for what we actually want in our lives—love, money, creativity, passion, connection…
A friend of mine is leaving in a few days to travel the world for a couple of years, maybe longer. While he’s been getting his training for crewing and captaining various types of inland and offshore vessels, he’s also been in the process of healing, giving his things away, retiring early, saying goodbye to his adult kids and getting his gear for the road and the waters.
For the first time in his life he won’t have a home. And he’s so happy. While he has little left in terms of material possessions, his life is expanding rapidly. He has outgrown his britches!
Whatever we have to empty our arms of is individual. And when we do, it makes room for us to receive so much more. To receive what already lies within us like confidence, bliss, passion, our gifts, and enthusiasm. As well as the things the external world has to offer.
As the coming year approaches, perhaps consider where you’ve been acting like a fish trying to climb a tree rather than being the genius you are. Where you’ve been carrying the projection of others’ perspectives of you instead of the truth of who you are. Where you’ve felt cut off or a low flow with that which is invincible, immutable and confident within you.
Surround yourself with those who reflect this light back to you rather than trying to earn the respect of those who cannot see it. The more you see it and draw it forth from within yourself, the more you will gravitate to britches that fit, an environment and those who also see your truth.
Here’s to more of You in the world,