Want to strengthen your self-confidence? One of the quickest routes to that goal may be to begin “feeling your feelings.”
That might sound odd, but many leaders need to improve confidence in their own emotions before starting to feel more real about themselves. Perhaps you have spent a lifetime learning to suppress and reject your feelings. Perhaps, more than sixty percent of the entire world population is taught something opposite of what’s right in life, and that’s why depression rates are at a record high.
If you are a part of that percentage, then you have some major unlearning to do.
Remember when you were a young kid, chilling and enjoying yourself on the playground when a big bad bully came along and shoved you off the sliding board? If this never happened to you, picture it in your mind’s eye. How would you (or did you) really feel about it? I’ll wager that your feelings at that moment were clear and sharp — and you apparently had no problem in expressing them, whether through screaming or crying, or perhaps running after the bully and trying to hit him back.
I don’t recommend lashing out physically at others, but short of that, what’s wrong with accepting your genuine emotions in every situation, the sad and angry ones as well as the cheerful and happy ones?
Unfortunately, the older adults in our society have been trained not only to swallow their feelings but to conclude that some feelings are “bad.” Some have acquired this lesson so well that they no longer even know what they are sensing from time to time. Getting in touch with your own personal feelings is crucial if you want to build your self-confidence and lead a better, relatively fearless life.
Accepting your emotions means accepting them all. From now on, permit yourself to experience every feeling that wells up inside. Don’t keep choking it off and killing your charp!
When you are watching a sad episode of a sitcom on Netflix, allow yourself to weep. If you see something that strikes you as remarkably funny, let yourself have a big belly laugh, even if you are in public and others look at you oddly. Yell about the person who just abused in front of you on the expressway, and keep yelling until the anger naturally extinguishes or passes itself.
Feeling your feelings without any condemnation will free your real self simply as a result of facing what is happening for you at any given moment. And freeing that true self that you have kept bottled up all these years is guaranteed to strengthen your self-confidence and soothe your leadership journey.