A big theme that has been coming up lately in my work is building confidence. I have sat with many clients who say that they want to feel confident in their new job, their decisions and their relationships.
I work quite a lot with folks who are anxious, who want to make sure that they get everything exactly right and strive to live up to impossible expectations. Part of my job is to help clients step down off of the pedestal of perfection and embrace living a messy and authentic life. This is harder than it seems, and I know from experience.
There is a saying in the therapy community that you work best with past versions of yourself. I have absolutely been there, and sometimes still feel the pressure to be the best possible version of myself. It makes sense that we want to build confidence when imposter syndrome continually tells us we are not good enough.
It seems like confidence is the solution - if I could feel confident, then these thoughts would not be weighing me down, right?
But something I have recently come to realize is that confidence has only ever been a band-aid for me. Not a lasting solution. In times when I appeared confident, I was secretly stressed out, searching for ways to maintain the façade of someone who has it all together all the time. I was putting in more work than I could physically and mentally handle. This swiftly lead to burnout for me (and my confidence took a major hit when I was too exhausted to do anything anymore). Maybe you've been there before too.
I never asked for help, determined to be seen as independent and a confident go-getter. It also meant that I didn't try a lot of new things because I wasn't confident that I would be good enough. The new things that I did try were always in the safe and comfortable categories of academics and art - the realms where I had already "proven" myself from a very young age.
If the prerequisite for starting something new is confidence, will I ever be able to start something new? If confidence is contingent on how well you do, what happens when it all comes crashing down?
This is where trust comes in. I think establishing trust is harder than feeling confident. Trust looks like asking for help when you need it, letting a slow pace be ok, showing up for yourself messily and imperfectly, not giving up when you make a mistake. Trust means knowing how to show up yourself in a way that feels good, not just in ways that appear good.
Trust looks like falling, knowing that you are your own safe landing place. Knowing that you are a worthy person whether you succeed or fail.
If you would like to do some reflection on this topic, here are some journalling prompts to ponder:
Have you ever felt that you should be confident?
Does it feel like you need to be confident in your abilities before trying something new?
What would it be like to step into intuition and trust? What does trust look like to you?
If these questions feel hard to answer, that's ok. A lot of the time trust is a difficult topic. If this topic is resonating with you, I am here to provide support. Reach out for an initial phone consultation to talk about how we can work with art therapy to connect you to your intuitive side of self.