What is embodied confidence?
Have you ever felt the confusion of not knowing how you feel about something? Do you sometimes feel blank when events happen? When someone asks you how you feel, are you able to tell them? Do you try to work it out in your head and draw a blank? Do you experience strong feelings sometimes and find yourself unable to find the words to express them?
We are emotional creatures, capable of experiencing powerful emotions ranging from profound love to deep hatred and everything in between. Often however, we become cut off from these emotions and this can lead to us feeling numb, confused and disconnected from our self and others. By reconnecting the relationship between mind and body, we are able to express the feelings the body experiences, name them, share them, acknowledge them and move forward in maturity and fulfilled living. When we become competent at this process, we are moving into embodied confidence. It allows the on- going process of dealing with things as they come up in our lives and managing them in a mature and constructive manner.
Mind- Body Connection
Your body is the instrument that interacts with the world and creates feelings that are interpreted by the mind. Either we allow these feelings to flow in healthy expression or they become bottled up and we express them in unhealthy and sometimes destructive ways. It is these feelings that we embody and express through emotion either constructively or destructively. Awareness of what is happening in the body allows us to develop and use a vocabulary over time that permits us to show compassion, empathy, understanding, patience, love, intimacy and honesty in an open and authentic way. It also allows us to safely express our anger, disappointment, frustration and vulnerability. To be confident and strong in oneself is to be so in mind and body, the two are inseparable and go hand in hand.
What is strength?
I was brought up in a way that discouraged boys and men to show their emotions. It was thought of as showing strength when you showed no emotion unless it was a mild happiness. Strong emotion of any kind was frowned upon. Perhaps you can relate to that? Yet, it is well acknowledged now that it requires great strength to show your emotions and requires little personal investment to hide how you feel. What is important is that you choose an appropriate time to share them and with the people it is appropriate to share them with.
In fact, the cost of smothering your emotions is vast. People tend to lack trust in those people that do not share their emotions, ranging from spouses and children to work colleagues at all levels. Sharing your emotions engenders trust and is considered a powerful leadership quality whether you lead large teams at work or you are part of a small family team. I am not suggesting regular bouts of tears or profound confessions, but rather an honest sharing of how you feel to the people that matter or would benefit from hearing about how you feel. It is this honesty that engenders trust and requires a real self- awareness and inner strength to face that process. It is a very different way of being from the 1950s man who cannot own up to being a little nervous about public speaking or showing how sad he feels at the death of a loved one. Locking it away does not require strength. It shows a fear of facing the pain and an unwillingness or inability to do so. Fear is OK. Not facing it is a disservice to you and the people that love and want to respect you. The consequences to your health are also severe. Stored up emotion can be the cause of many stress related illnesses such as stroke, cardio- vascular disease, anxiety and depression as well as cancer, IBS, many skin complaints, fibromyalgia and more.
How does embodied confidence feel?
Embodied confidence is a new way of being for many people. It is that awareness of one’s inner state in this moment that allows you to be mindful of how you feel and be able to manage it skilfully, compassionately and powerfully. It will improve the quality of your relationship with yourself and others as well as your health and well- being. For me, embodied practice helps to give me more confidence. I am more aware of how I feel each moment and so I am better equipped to walk into situations with more confidence and not have to know every detail and be able to adapt when things change or require flexibility. I am also better able to remain calm when before situations would have made me more anxious and stressed. I am also more relaxed, less stressed and more at ease.
I am grateful to the many embodied confidence teachers I have had over the years and proud to be able to share it for the benefit of others in many ways including life coaching, meditation, Moving Meditation and martial arts all of which require some degree of embodied practice.
Over to you
Please share in the comments box below you experiences of living both aware and unaware of your feelings. How has this affected your embodied confidence? What does it feel like? How do you react? What do you do to remain aware of your feelings and emotions? What would you change in your life today to live with more awareness of your embodied confidence?
Pass it on
If you think this article would be of value to someone you know, why not pass it on? I would really appreciate it and so would they. Also, you can find similar exercises and more in a free e- course on confidence available here (www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk).