How is it that we can be looking forward to a forthcoming social occasion, or a big presentation at work one minute, and fearful of it the next?
Our conscious mind is capable of furnishing us with powerful negative thoughts about ourselves, largely misguided and yet extremely effective, when we are feeling at our most vulnerable.
You may find yourself in a situation you have been in many times over, and usually sailed through happily. On this one occasion however, that little voice in your head fills your every conscious thought with the self talk that convinces you of your lack of confidence, your lack of self esteem, your lack of worth. Suddenly the prospect of the event, social or professional, fills you with dread, discomfort, and even on occasion real distress.
How does this happen? How do we find it so difficult to build our self esteem and confidence…and sustain it?
Our conscious mind has enormous talent for presenting us with what it deems useful and relevant information to help us make sense of our environment. It bases the information it chooses to share with us on any triggers it recognises. These triggers come from our unconscious mind; from a large repository of experiences, memories and emotions which it has meticulously filed away since the day we were born.
What our unconscious mind is not very good at is processing and letting go of negative experiences, memories and emotions. It doesn’t know what to do with them. So, rather like a large hard drive for a PC, it stores them all in programme folders, grouping all the similar experiences memories and emotions and labelling them together under one relevant title. It is likely that, along with numerous folders titled ‘Happiness’, ‘Joy’, ‘Love’, ‘Success’ and many others, we will all have programme folders called ‘Feeling Insecure’, ‘Embarrassing moments when I was ignored’, and ‘Building Self Esteem and Confidence’. In this programme folder (and we will all have different content based on our own experiences of feeling insecure), are stored all the numerous awkward, difficult, and fearful situations which have made us feel insecure and lacking in confidence or self esteem.
When we think about an event in the future that we are looking forward to, our unconscious mind floats back to memories and experiences in the past which may have been similar, but ended badly. Our conscious mind will automatically assume that the forthcoming event will end the same way. By the time we have finished processing all the negative self talk that accompanies these memories, we have convinced ourselves that the event we were looking forward to attending will cause us to feel insecure, lacking in confidence, or self esteem…..again.
Working with an NLP and Timeline Therapist, clients are enabled to go back to the first event in their past which may have caused those first feelings of lack of self esteem and confidence, or insecurity. Using a combination of NLP and Timeline techniques, the therapist will work with the client to extract from that first event all the positive learning that has served the client well to now. With a little re-framing of the client’s memory of the event, the therapist provides the client with the ability to process and let go of the negative emotions associated with the event, and to bring the positive learning forward to the current day.
This is key to allowing us to re-frame negative and effective, limiting beliefs we have about ourselves, into powerfully empowering positive beliefs we can and do have about ourselves.
These techniques allow us to keep all the memories and experiences, whilst removing the negative emotion which has held us back on so many occasions we deserved to enjoy.
The process will never remove appropriate feelings of insecurity, lack of confidence, or even fear, as these are important self-preservation mechanisms we are all hard-wired to think and feel.
What it does do though, is ensure we don’t use these crippling feelings of insecurity, lack of confidence, or lack of self esteem disproportionately, disadvantaging ourselves. It is a finely tuned balance enabling us to fully embrace all those wonderful social and professional opportunities ahead of us which will continue to build self esteem and confidence!