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Mind Training Week 12: Confidence

July 28, 2022 by

I leaned close to the mirror. Makeup, hair products, and a gigantic hairdryer with a diffuser were strewn on the counter. I was applying concealer to the circles under my eyes, a hereditary trait that I hated. It was the second time ever that I was covering a perfectly beautiful face with cosmetics. At the age of 18, I didn’t like what I saw when I stepped back from the mirror.

I had been eager to escape the emotionally unstable environment of my childhood. The years of walking on eggshells and living in constant fear were finally behind me … but the defeating voices tagged along with me to Boise State.

As my own eyes gazed back at me, I felt paralyzed by these voices. “You’re ugly.” “Redo your makeup.” “You look so tired.” “You’re weird.” “You’re not pretty enough.” “No one likes you.” “You don’t fit in.” “You’ll never be enough.” “You’re worthless.”

I’d spend hours in the bathroom getting ready in those days. Applying and reapplying makeup, shaking my hair to fluff the curls as big as possible. Everything had to look perfect before I left the dorm room. If I found one small thing that was off, I would restart the whole process over again. Often I couldn’t even leave at all. I’d walk back to my twin size bed, crawl back under the covers, and cry myself to sleep.

Some days I made it to class but most days I didn’t. I loved math and science; my brain could handle those classes, but my spirit could not. My confidence was so low that I failed or barely passed most of my freshman year.

Insecurity is a mental lashing of self-abuse. It chains you to imaginary walls of self-limitation and drives you into the ground with punishing blows, constant and persistent. There seems no reprieve.

How did I escape? As it usually happens, nothing in particular prompted it. I’d just had enough. One morning as my evil abuser appeared from the mental shadows, I held up my hand and said “NO! I want to be happy!”

I pleaded to the silence for help.

HEART HEALING STEP 1: DECONSTRUCT LIMITING EMOTIONS

Limiting emotions are those triggered by outside stimuli, sending a message to the brain that you’re not enough. These include guilt, shame, attachment, anger, anxiety, jealousy, self hatred, defensiveness, and the need for validation. Step One of heart healing is to identify the limiting emotion you’re feeling. Be on alert for these progress-halting feelings, and be prepared to investigate their source. They’re manifestations of your lower mind and past programming.

Once the limiting emotion is identified, remind yourself that no feeling is bad or negative. When you label a feeling as negative, you may have a tendency to avoid it. Feeling the emotion is a crucial part of the heart healing process. Emotions are sensations the body produces upon receiving an outside stimulus. They alert you to what’s going on around you and give clues into the workings of your mind. The goal is to feel and process the emotion, then act with logic and equanimity in alignment with your values.

The confident mind is strategic and cognitive. It can analyze the perceived fear and determine if the threat is real. To build confidence, put your detective hat on and commit to mental and emotional investigation. You started this program by viewing the changing mind and body separate from the unchanging Self: seeing yourself objectively from the perspective of the soul. This frees you from taking anything personally, because your identification is with the spirit in the body, not the body and deceptive sensory input. When a limiting emotion surfaces, it’s filtered through the lens of the conscious Self instead of the reactive mind/body. You are not the anger. You are not the guilt. You are who is feeling the anger and guilt.

Identify limiting emotions by noticing how they feel in the body. The nervous system responds to limiting emotions by signaling a tightness in the muscles, preparing to react to a perceived threat from the survivalist brain. Your nervous system is getting you ready to launch you into action! When reacting to an untrue fear, the insecure stress cycle is induced, and unless consciously redirected, the reactive brain responds. The more aware you become of your patterning, the sooner you can head off your fight, flight, or freeze response.

Acting emotionally from a place of fear will only drive what you want further away from you. Notice the fears and correlating emotions that weaken the mind, and adamantly refuse to cooperate with them. Focus your attention on cultivating confidence-building qualities of self-mastery. When you act from a place of love rather than fear, you’re in alignment with your higher, growth-minded self.

To increase alertness around fears and the limiting emotions they produce, define the feelings and know how they feel when they arise in you. How do they limit you? What can you do when they arise? When you increase intuitive wisdom, you can identify and investigate the emotion objectively. As the observer, when the emotion arises you say “Oh, there is that anger again. I know what to do with that.” This allows you to process the emotions with urgency because you have a firm knowledge of how the emotion affects your confidence if you let it linger.

Below, I have defined four emotions that arise out of insecurity: validation, jealousy, anger, and attachment. These are defensive emotions that are commonly felt at the onset of a triggering stimuli.

VALIDATION

Validation is the need for approval from other people, the sense of safety that comes from belonging to a group. What does needing validation feel like? When I think of needing validation, I feel a sense of waiting for permission, waiting for someone to tell me I’m okay. Basing worth on how another person perceives you through their senses leads to anxiety and a weakening of discernment. When your sense of self is determined by the fluctuating opinions of other people, you’ll never feel secure. You grasp for “likes,” any signal of external approval. The mind obsesses over it, leading to choices that create growth limitations, and you often come across like you’re trying too hard. Instead, all decisions should be based on your highest self, determined through your values and statement of purpose.

JEALOUSY

Jealousy is another limiting emotion derived from insecurity, and a fear of scarcity. When I tap into jealousy, I feel the sense of “this is mine.” It feels selfish and greedy. When this emotion arises, ask “Why do I feel jealous?” “What do I fear losing?” This feeling of jealousy causes resentment when someone else has what you want, or fear that someone will take something—or someone—that you perceive as yours. Jealousy is limiting because it creates attachment to material things. Nothing material in life will last. Jealousy of the possessions or achievements of others will isolate you in selfishness, as nothing is ever enough. In relationships, it causes a territorial protection to anyone perceived as a threat, which is harmful to the relationship as well as the individual. Jealousy will not make the other person more committed to you. It will only push them away.

ANGER

A third emotional manifestation of insecurity is anger. Anger produces instability in the mental continuum, occurring due to a misalignment of wants and rejection of what is happening now. Investigating anger brings a hot, tense feeling of dislike: “I’m not getting what I want!” Often, anger shows itself as frustration, resentment, impatience, irritation, and other forms of aggression. In your investigation of anger, you may find you are justified in being angry. The process is not to dismiss this, it is to bring awareness to why you feel the way you do in order to move through it. Once you’ve properly explored, you can move on to the first step of mind training, acceptance. The consecutive steps direct you to find what you can do that is in your control. Without acceptance, the mind protests the moment with seeds of anger and is not open to the best possible outcome or the most rational remedy in conflict.

ATTACHMENT

Attachment is dependency upon something outside of you for your source of love and security. It can be to a person, a materiel object, even a thought pattern. It is anything you cling to for comfort and produces cravings if you go without. With attachment, nothing and no one is ever enough. Underlying attachment are basic needs for survival and the soul’s desire for love, which the carnal mind tries to fulfill with a temporary source of pleasure. Behind every instant pleasure is the sting of misery. Think about sexual arousal. It has a vibrational quality to it that instigates desire, often misinterpreted as love. Love can be present in intimacy, but love and sex can also be mutually exclusive. Evidence of the deceptive quality of the sex force is marked by its temporary nature and the immense confusion it levies upon the mind. You may feel a soul connection with another person for your evolution, but no one is your soul mate with regards to completing you. If you continue looking or waiting for a soul mate to come, you will feel the sorrow filled depths of longing instead of the love that is already present within and around you.

MEDITATION PRACTICE

Initiated by a heart-healing meditation practice, love creates powerful roots of growing self-confidence. Developed through a disciplined daily habit, the meditator’s calm mind of equanimity is not tossed to and fro by the mental disruption of limiting emotions.

ON-CUSHION: 12-MINUTE MEDITATION

Meditate first thing in the morning and just before bed. Begin your meditation practice by repeating your statements of intention and liberation. Filter the truth of the words through your heart and mind. Confidence awakes from within. I am powered by a strong heart and calm mind.

10-MINUTE EMOM + TWO MINUTES OF STILLNESS

  • Set timer for 12 minutes with 10 one-minute increment bells.
  • Sit with your spine in neutral, shoulders over hips, ears over shoulders.
  • Close the eyes and focus gently at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
  • As you breathe in, imagine a golden light entering your chest and exiting through the back of your heart.
  • As you breathe out, imagine the light entering the back of your head at the point where the skull meets the spine, then exiting through the third eye point.

Minute 0:00 to 10:00 (five rounds)

Even minutes

  • Circulate energy from the heart to the mind as you inhale and exhale.
  • Inhale: Silently repeat “Heart.”
  • Exhale: Silently repeat “Mind.”
  • Keep count of the ten bells by extending your thumb for minute 1, then placing your thumb to each finger pad for minutes 2 – 5. Repeat for minutes 6-10.

Odd minutes

  • Retain breath.
  • Concentrate at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
  • Silently repeat “Love.”

Minutes 10:00 – 12:00

  • Sit in silence for 2 minutes.
  • Concentrate at the third eye point of intuition.
  • Circulate breath.
  • Silently repeat “Om.”

Notice the feeling of self-love awakened from meditation. Affirm I am worthy of love.

OFF-CUSHION: MAINTAIN CALM THROUGH EMOTIONAL DECONSTRUCTION

Build confidence in your day by noticing limiting emotions and investigating them. In the moment, repeat heart/mind as you breathe, then silently ask yourself a few questions about the emotion. What is triggering this feeling? What does it feel like? Why am I feeling this way? Is there another emotion layered underneath? Each moment of awareness, the notice, the pause, gives you time to respond—not react—to stimulus. For example, say you get into an argument with your partner or coworker. You’re feeling really frustrated. Pause. Notice the seed of anger and acknowledge it. Repeat your mantra: “May my mind be calm. May my heart be healed.” Or “May this person’s mind be calm. May this person’s heart be healed.” Then, notice again. Maybe the frustration still lingers, but it is minimized. Your mantra acts as a reset for the mind, raising your consciousness and changing the energy in the interaction.

Eventually you can catch yourself prior to the argument, reset, and communicate your needs without being triggered. After committing yourself to this exercise, you’ll find so many opportunities to practice. You’ll notice self-limiting thoughts that have been going on in the background, ever-present and unnoticed. You’ll notice how quick you are to criticize yourself and others. Know that each time you catch one of these thoughts arising and repeat your heart/mind mantra, you’re setting yourself on a path of limitless growth by reinforcing characteristics of confidence.

Complete introspection questions and Chapter 12 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.

Train the Mind, Heal the Heart, Mindset Training Program.

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Photo Lincoln Brigham

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