Building confidence during insecurity and incertitude
Psychology says that we can learn self-confidence through positive thinking. Creating good thoughts to counteract bad ones can only make our mind busier and....worried. Like putting a Band-Aid on a wooden leg.
Zen practice builds confidence in a total different way by:
- Minimizing detrimental overthinking,
- Noticing the thoughts and feelings as they are and letting them go, but not by creating opposite thoughts.
This is the principle of practicing “Don’t know mind” or “Empty mind” in this enigmatic Zen language.
Insecurity and incertitude create negative thoughts and vice versa. This is a vicious circle. Whatever cause or consequences they are waste of mental energy since they will not affect any possible outcomes.
Rather than listening to our talkative mind, just let go its voice by focusing for a short period of time on something concrete and real such as our breathing. By doing so, we take control of our mind and when we do so we build confidence and positive mental energy.
As soon as you judge yourself, as soon as you are attached to an opinion, to a feeling or to a past, present or future situation, you enter into the positive/negative emotional endless debate. Whenever you debate, insecurities and incertitude eat away at your equanimity and you lose confidence creating further insecurity and incertitude. This is another vicious circle.
Reboot your monkey mind by breaking this circle that is becoming the observer of your mind-made insecurity and incertitude.
The only thing that we can have real confidence is that we don’t know what is going on.
The observation and acceptance of our incertitude and insecurity is liberating confidence.
Young children are masters at not knowing. They know they don’t know and they view the world with wonder and confidence. Why not to do the same.
When we start overthinking that we know about who-what-how-when, we enter a world of speculation, opinions and expectation.
At this point, incertitude and insecurity could overcome confidence and quietness.
In any moment, you can step outside of this battle between what is real and what is mind-made
by bringing your attention, in a mindfulness way to something real such your breath or by any of our 5 senses even for a short period of time.
If too much thinking is causing incertitude or insecurity and vice versa accept them and let them go by bringing your attention back to the concrete reality of the moment such as breathing.
When the thoughts go, the negative feeling including insecurity and incertitude will go with them and confidence will fill the void, at least temporally.
Remember that babies, kids and animals other than humans don’t create incertitude nor insecurity because their brain-mind never over think like we do.
Building confidence cannot be achieved by fighting insecurity and incertitude but rather by observing and accepting them.
This is counter intuitive statement like most of Zen philosophy and teaching.