A great many self-help books and motivational speakers tell you that if you just "believe in yourself" and trust in your own abilities, you’ll be sure to succeed in life. What they often don’t tell you is how to actually go about doing this. If you’ve sometimes doubted your own abilities, if you get nervous or self-conscious at times, or you let opportunities in life pass you by because you don’t have enough faith in yourself to pursue them, how can you develop greater trust in yourself?
“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.”
– Charlie Wardle, Understanding and Building Confidence
The idea of trusting yourself and having complete faith in your own abilities sounds great in theory, but if you have no experience of flying a plane, then it obviously wouldn’t be very wise to completely trust that you can stroll into the cockpit of a plane tomorrow and fly it like a pro. This is why many people have niggling doubts when they hear self-help slogans like “All You Need is Self-Belief”. Because in reality, of course, many things in life need skill, dedication and hard work, not just self-belief.
Rather than trying to manufacture an artificial, exaggerated, pumped-up sense of self- confidence, hypnotherapy is about learning to trust yourself in a calm, relaxed, genuine way, with a solid sense of inner trust that’s firmly grounded in reality. Because there are many skills and abilities that you’ve learned over the years that you know you can do. From simple daily tasks like making a cup of coffee, writing your own name, or walking down the street to more complex things like perhaps what you do for a living, or playing a particular sport or a musical instrument, or whatever hobbies and interests you’ve picked up over the years.
And here’s the thing: when you’ve practiced something enough times, you start to do it better instinctively than you can ever do it consciously. For example, a professional tennis player needs to hit tennis balls that are travelling so fast that the players don’t have time to consciously think about how they hit them. And every sports player knows that if you start to overthink what you are doing then it interferes with your performance. It’s just like that story of the centipede who was happily meandering along until she stopped and wondered which foot to move next, and then became so confused she collapsed in a heap.
When I’m giving a public talk, I don’t need to consciously struggle to keep every part of that talk in my mind as I begin. I can simply trust that, as I move through each stage of the presentation, the next salient point will come to me as the talk unfolds. Now if I were talking about a topic I know nothing about, like rare species of mushroom in Australasia, I wouldn’t have that kind of trust in myself. But because I’m speaking about topics I’ve researched thoroughly and am very experienced in, I know I’ve got a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding supporting me all through my presentation.
The same is true about any skill you’ve learned in life. When you first learned to write, or to ride a bike, you needed to devote a lot of conscious attention to the task. But once you’ve practiced a skill many times, you perform much better when you forget about it consciously and begin to trust yourself to do it instinctively. Instinctive learning is something your brain is built to do and is very good at, whether you’re aware of it or not. Therapeutic hypnosis can help you develop a strong sense of how many instinctive skills and abilities you actually have within you, and how capable your brain is of learning what it needs to know to allow you to instinctively perform at your best.