It is common for us to feel anxious about a situation. And, if a situation remains unpleasant over a period of time, we even tend to lose our self-confidence. We imagine things worse that they are and fall into a gorge of disappointments and stop relying on our abilities. We feel low in terms of our own inner strength.
If you find yourself in such a situation, what do you do? Do you continue to live with insecurity and self-doubt? Imagine you have an important interview. Now, since you doubt your own ability to ace it, you probably don’t speak with assertiveness. You hold back. As a result, perhaps, you don’t get what you aspired for. You fall into despondency, now believing your luck is indeed down or that you are karmically not supposed to reach great heights.
I have been there. Believe me, it is certainly not a great place to find yourself in. You are bringing more harm with self-doubt than bad luck ever can. There are a few concepts from The Gita that helped me. Let me share them with you.
1. What is your purpose?
Krishna asks Arjuna a question, in the middle of the battlefield, as the latter despairs about fighting against his own kith and kin. He asks:
“What is your dharma?”
What is your purpose in life? You have chosen a certain path for a certain reason. Arjuna was born to be a warrior—it was his purpose in life. Could he then, show his back to his dharma? Krishna asks him to stand up and fight for what is his right, for what he is destined. He urges him to be a warrior of knowledge and give up all other thoughts that make him feel perplexed.
If you feel you have lost your purpose, take time off to consider what it is that you need to do. Righteously, of course. If you are a doctor, you have the knowledge and the skill. That is your purpose—do it well. If you are an artist, excel at that. Learn, understand, never stop growing in your skill. Feel the purpose in your veins, get up and do your work well. To shirk from it, is to “violate your honour”, as Krishna tells Arjuna in Chapter 2. Remember, there are no mistakes in the universe—you are born for a reason and it is your dharma to fulfil it. Be confident that you matter; be confident that what you do matters. Your effort might be small but even the least bit of it will compound into something substantial tomorrow.
I urge you to find your purpose. And then, do it without dilemmas and doubts.
2. Do what you need to do
In The Gita, Krishna reminds Arjuna that his self-doubts are a result of turbulence in the mind. Sometimes, we tend to become overly anxious over a tiny matter, we begin to over think and end up in what is known as “over-analysis paralysis”. You find yourself blown away by endless imagined situations. As a result, you fail to follow the purpose of your life. You enter into a state of worries that seem to multiply by the hour. Self-doubts rise and you reach a state of complete inaction or action that you force yourself to do.
But, let me ask you—what if, instead of analysing everything too much, you act? Only two things will happen—
You will accomplish something, or
You will fail and learn a valuable lesson.
What is stopping you from doing what you need to do? Sitting on the sidelines never helps anyone in regaining confidence. So if you want to ask a girl out, do it; if you wish to pick up the phone to call someone, do it; if you want to crack the toughest exam in your life, start preparing for it. Do it! It is honestly pointless to worry about the outcome—for, it will be what it will be. You only need to put in your action to the best of your ability.
Believe me, the more you act instead of “over-analysing”, the easier it will become to regain your confidence. Even if you don’t get what you set out for, you will feel great about the fact that you acted.
3. Be even
This brings us to our next point. In The Gita, Krishna asks Arjuna to maintain an “evenness” of mind, irrespective of success or defeat. Action, says Krishna, done with an evenness of mind, will help you establish confidence in yourself. “How?” you might ask. This is how.
The more you act towards the purpose you have, the more experience you gain in terms of what works and what doesn’t. You also enhance and fine-tune your skills and develop a better understanding of your area of expertise. The more you act, the more you practice, the more you practice, the more your confidence grows.
You just keep swimming! You keep going, no effort is a waste. Even 1% of effort is better than none!
I know, everyone says mediation is good. But, I tell you from experience, it IS. You don’t need to sit for hours…5 minutes of emptying your mind are enough to begin with. If you are anywhere like me—someone who couldn’t sit still—then know, even 5 minutes are enough. Chant something you feel affiliated to, listen to music that soothes your mind, simply empty your mind. No one is asking you to become a saint; but just meditate. Connect with your inner being—and it will tell you that you are good, that you are capable, that you have it in you to excel. That, is the seat of confidence and self-belief.
I hope my thoughts have been able to help you. Remember there is no one who should root more for you than you for yourself—regain your confidence in yourself. Get rid of self doubt. Each time it bothers you, tell yourself you are capable.
There is only one life that you get. Wherever you are in life, know that you don’t serve anyone, not even yourself, with inaction. Rise, rise above self-doubt and achieve what you truly deserve.