Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Lack of Self-Confidence

In this entry, I will be discussing chakras, specifically the solar plexus chakra.  To drastically oversimplify things, the solar plexus (manipura) chakra governs self-esteem, willpower, and confidence, among other things.  The chakras model of subtle energy is very complex and difficult to understand.  It is not my purpose here to teach it to anyone (nor am I qualified to), and I want to keep my blog entries concise.  So I won’t go into details about the concepts I refer to.  If you are not at all familiar with the concept of charkas, I recommend The Chopra Center or Wikipedia for a brief and simplistic overview.

Let me say one quick note about my own perspective about chakras.  I do not ‘believe’ in the chakra system.  I have no judgment (positive or negative) on the truth or empirical existence of chakras or the subtle energy that they symbolically govern.  But regardless of their manifest existence, I have found the chakra system to be a helpful model for evaluating the self and for seeking guidance to how improvement might be attained.


About four or five months back Stephanie, my girlfriend at the time, told me that she continually observed that I had little self-confidence.  She recommended that I work on my confidence and self-esteem issues and spend some time focusing on the solar plexus chakra.  I was a bit confused by her observation and recommendation.  I protested that I was indeed confident in myself and my abilities.

“Explain to me why you feel confident and why you have self-esteem?” Stephanie asked me.

I responded, “I’m very intelligent and highly educated.  I have a good job.  I think for myself.  I’m a responsible person.”  I probably went on with some other details.

She looked at me with disappointment.  “You’re comparing yourself to others.  You will never have true confidence or fully understand your own value as long as you compare yourself to others.  To have real and lasting self-esteem and self-confidence, you must look solely within yourself.  Do not assess your value or ability in comparison to anyone else.”

I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. I understood that confidence needs to come from within.  But I could say that I’m intelligent and educated without saying I’m more intelligent and more educated than some other person or persons.  I know that these things are relative.  But if I feel I’m intelligent and educated generally, then what is the problem?  What did she think I was doing wrong? 

Our conversation on the topic continued for a few minutes.  But I reached no better understanding of the insight she was trying to explain.  Afterwards, I dismissed the whole thing, and didn’t think much about it.  I always value Stephanie’s thoughts and perspectives, but I often disagree.  And I just counted this among the many times that we were unable to agree or reach mutual understanding.

Recently, after Stephanie and I broke up, I decided to spend some time focusing on and working on each chakra individually.  A friend of mine had described doing this last year.  The idea intrigued me, and it seemed something that would be quite beneficial.  And the chakra system is so complex and intricate that it’s very difficult to grasp it when approaching it holistically.  Through some synchronicities and meditation, I was guided to begin with the solar plexus or fire chakra. 

When I meditated on the solar plexus chakra, I quickly began feeling an acute discomfort precisely in my solar plexus.  At first, I thought that maybe I was sitting with bad posture, and my breathing was strained.  But this was not the problem.  My body was telling me that my solar plexus chakra was in great distress. I continued to practice the meditation a few more times, always with the same uncomfortable experience.  Upon some reflection, I acknowledged and sincerely accepted that I had self-esteem and self-confidence issues.  As soon as I accepted this idea, I remembered that conversation with Stephanie.  I immediately understood what she had tried to explain to me.

Shortly afterwards, I was trying to share the benefit of this revelation with a particularly arrogant and narcissistic friend.  Based on my understanding of psychology, I knew that arrogant speech is a signal of low self-confidence and narcissism is a signal of low self-esteem.  Narcissism and arrogance are psychological overcompensations.   For some people, when they avoid confronting feelings of low self-esteem and low confidence, their subconscious will begin to ‘lie’ to them, telling them that they are superior.  Then they will consciously reinforce the idea in their speech and behavior.

So I tried to explain my new and valuable insight.  The conversation collapsed into an argument as my friend became defensive.  Then I realized the futility of my effort.  I had assumed Stephanie’s role when she had spoken to me several months earlier.  I remembered that until my conscious mind fully and genuinely accepted the fact that I had low self-confidence, there was no means to explain that insight to me.  My subconscious had built a barrier that no amount of logic or persuasion could breach.  My friend had the same barrier, and I resigned from my attempt to help.

Some things must be believed to be seen.

All of this happened more than six weeks ago.  I haven’t found a key to quickly boosting confidence or self-esteem.  But accepting a problem is the first step in resolving it.  Little by little, I’m working to build up my self-esteem and confidence.  Some days I feel great, and other days I have my doubts.  But I know I am making progress.  Through all the hills and valleys, the overall trend is upwards.

I want to encourage discussion and feedback, so I'm allowing you to comment on my blog anonymously and/or without an account.  Please share any thoughts in a kind and respectful manner.

I sincerely thank you for reading.  I hope that you found value in my story.  And if you did, please share the blog with others.


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