Acharya Prashant, with students: How to have confidence in oneself?

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Question: I don’t have confidence in myself. How to gain it?

Acharya Prashant: The question comes from an extreme – “I do not have confidence in myself.” But surely, this question addresses a pain that all experience in varying degrees, on various occasions.

There is nobody who does not feel short of confidence at one point or another. There are many, who keep feeling perpetually short. There are others, who feel confident most of the time, but find that their confidence is deserting them often when they need it.

You say you want ‘confidence’ in yourself. You want confidence in yourself only when you are in doubt. When things are just flowing smoothly, is there need for confidence? When there is no fear, is there need for confidence?

Confidence is a medicine.

Confidence is not your natural state.

Just as, medicine is not health. When you feel sick, then you ask for medicine and the role of medicine should be to make itself unnecessary. You do not want to have a medicine that you will perpetually need. What you must rather perpetually have, is a normal and ordinary state of health. What you must normally have is a state of fearlessness, in which confidence is not needed at all.

If you are requiring confidence, it means that something has already gone wrong.

Now, do you want to cover up what has gone wrong? Or do you want to directly address what has gone wrong? Because if the wrong stays wrong, then you will keep on needing confidence more and more, and more frequently.

When you are addressing your friends, do you require confidence? No! But when you are making a public presentation, then you require confidence. Do you notice that? When you are with your family members, do you require confidence? Hardly ever! But when you are in front of an interviewer, then you say that you require confidence.

Don’t you see that confidence has a lot to do, with expectations, with greed, with fear?

Why don’t we address the root itself?

As I speak to you right now, am I confident? Well, not! As I speak to you right now, is there a lack of confidence? Well, no! So, that’s a strange thing. If I am neither confident and not non-confident then what is my state? My state is one, in which the word ‘confidence’ is not relevant at all. Do you understand this?

Confidence is a word, relevant only when there is something bothering you, bugging you, weighing down upon you.

If you are just alright, confidence is not needed.

Confidence is a subtly violent response to fear. When you say that you are confident, don’t you see, what your situation is like? You are mildly, subtly, aggressive. And you require that aggression because you are shivering inside.

“Justness”, “Just Being”, “Sahajtaa” – that is a much much higher, empowering, and healthy state of being compared to a confident state of being.

When you are not confident, then you think about your state. Your state makes itself felt. And when you are confident, again your state makes itself felt. In both the situations, there is something that is in your mind, weighing upon your mind. You need ‘clarity’, not ‘confidence.’

Confidence is just your belief in a certain concept. You can be confident of that, and if you are confident of that, then you are confident of a concept related to that. Or you can be confident of yourself. When you are confident of yourself, then you are confident of an image related to yourself.

Just be so fully sure that you do not even need to think about yourself. Am I diseased? Well, I didn’t think about it. Am I healthy? Well, I didn’t think about it! Those of you who are healthy, do you keep thinking that you are healthy? The mark of health is, that health becomes absent. It does not occur to the mind. If there is no pain in your knee, do you keep thinking that your knee is not paining? But when your knee pains, then you start thinking, there is a pain in my knee.

When the pain disappears, then the thought of disease disappears. Does that mean that the thought of disease is substituted by the thought of health?

No.

The pain disappears, the thought of disease disappears, that does not mean that now the thought of health comes.

No, thought itself disappears.

Similarly,

when fear goes away, then confidence too goes away.

And if you walk around all puffed up and confident, then please pause and look at your state. There is fear lurking behind ‘your’ confidence. Confidence is a vinnier. Confidence is a superficial treatment that you give to your fear. ‘Ease’ is the word. Not confidence. “Be easy, not confident”. And there is a great difference between being easy and being confident. If you say, that you want confidence, then you are just asking for an ointment. Ointments won’t help.

One may have cancer in the arm. And it’s a systemic disorder. It does not call for superficial massage or ointment. Yes, superficial ointment can cover up the disease for a while. But that will make the disease even worse. If you are afraid from within, but you try to act confident, maybe, for a while you will succeed, but that would make your disease even worse.

Better it is, to face your fear.

And facing your fear does not require confidence.

It requires faith. It requires devotion.

One has to say, that come what may, there is something that needs to be done. And ‘that something’ that needs to be done is bigger than preserving my current state. I will be bold enough, I will be young enough, I will be strong enough, to face my fear. I will not give them a cloak, I will not deceive myself. I will ask myself, firstly, why am I afraid? Do I need to be afraid? What am I going to lose? What is so precious that I am destroying my peace, my stillness, my Life for it? Is there anything so important, so precious, really?

When you address fear and when you are able to uproot fear, after that you find that not only has fear vaporized, confidence too has gone away.

Fear and confidence are two sides of the same coin.

I once said, many years back, to students like you, confidence is nothing but the other name of fear. It sounds strange because that’s not what you have usually heard. But if you will apply your mind, then you will know what I am saying. This is the classical law of duality. Hope and despair go together. Where there is despair, hope will be needed. And where there is fear, confidence will be there.

Go for the total, holistic, and right treatment. Don’t just shy away. You are intelligent, you are young, you have a life to live. You cannot just keep pushing things under the carpet.

Be bold enough, to challenge that which terrifies you.

Talk face to face with it.

Say, come on! We will talk. I won’t pretend that all is alright. I am ready to accept that there is dis-ease. And then there would be just ‘ease’. You see, how closely the words ‘dis-ease’ and ‘ease’ are linked.

The answer to ‘dis-ease’ is ‘ease’.

Not medicine that continues perpetually.

The role of medicine is to be there for a while and then to make itself redundant.

All fear rests upon the assumption that you will lose something. And you fear, losing only that which you consider valuable.

Be with yourself. Be silent and ask yourself –   “What is really valuable?” And can that be lost? And if that cannot be lost, Why do I live in fear?

But before you can challenge your fear before you can see the falseness of your fear you will have to sit with yourself, you will have to give time to yourself, you will have to consider yourself important.

It is very strange but we do not love ourselves enough.

We do not Love ourselves enough to give time to ourselves. We are involved in all kinds of activities outside. But we do not look at that, which is going on inside. We consider that unimportant, just because our education has not taught us that ‘this’ is important. Our education has taught us that ‘that’ is important, ‘that’ is important, the camera is important, all kind of technology is important, the rules of the Universe are important, but ‘me’, ‘my life’ and ‘my mind’ are important, that has not been brought to us by our education. So we don’t give it time.

Give this time.

It deserves time.

You are important. You must have a certain respect, Love and regard for yourself.

And then you will not need superficial remedies like ‘confidence.’



~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking at a Samvaad session at the BITS, Goa Campus on 10th February 2018.


Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant, with students: How to have confidence in oneself?

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