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How to Use Hypnosis for Self Confidence

Mark Tyrrell
Article by Mark Tyrrell
Therapist trainer of 25 years
Co-founder of Hypnosis Downloads

Why hypnosis taps into the true essence of what confidence really is.

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."

- William Shakespeare

"I just feel inferior to everyone! Like whatever I do is bound to fail!"

I've heard these words or variations of them, hundreds of times. These kinds of sentiments express a sense of low self esteem which is really low confidence in the total self, who you are as a person.

Other people, like a recent client, Jane, develop feelings of crippling self doubt in one specific area. But losing confidence in one part of life can so often shake our general sense of faith in ourselves.

Jane had come to doubt her ability to drive. She'd been really stressed about all kinds of challenges in her life, and feeling generally low about herself. One day, as if from nowhere, she'd suddenly felt panicky whilst driving. Since then she'd felt unable to drive. As she told me:

"I've been driving for years but now it's like whenever I even just imagine myself getting behind the wheel..I feel like I just can't do it!"

The word "imagine" is important here and tells us something vital about low self confidence.

Self doubt is the misuse of the imagination

To doubt yourself you have to imagine. Unless we can imagine how others might see us (negatively!) or how we might make mistakes and be deficient then we can't doubt ourselves. Self doubt is the misuse of the imagination.

People who introspect, ruminate and imagine how others will see them risk whittling away their confidence.

  • To think people don't or won't like you you have to imagine.
  • To believe you'll screw up or make a fool of yourself you have to imagine.
  • To become self conscious you have to imagine what other people see when they look at you.

Think about how you use your imagination. Do you misuse it to needlessly worry or doubt or use it to plan and dream.

When you start to use hypnosis effectively you begin to imagine in a different way. I'll get to that in a moment.

But first I want to deal with a major and common misconception about self confidence.

How to be cool with not knowing

When I believe in myself I don't have to keep telling myself how awesome I am or how I'm going to be amazing in my upcoming speech. Why? Because I don't have to think about myself much at all.

Good self confidence isn't the polar opposite to low self confidence. When we're low in confidence we tend to imagine all sorts of stuff about ourselves and how we might seem to others. But when we have healthy self confidence we tend to focus outward more and not think about ourselves so much because, we don't have to.

I don't go around thinking about my big toe unless I stub it and it hurts like crazy. When everything is as it should be I can focus outward and feel comfortable.

When I'm confident I don't go around feeling that everyone thinks I'm great. I just don't consider what they think of me so much. Although of course I can still be pleased if they like me.

Confident people know how to relax with uncertainty, to be cool with not knowing. They can relax with ambiguity but they are explorative and open to whatever happens.

They can suspend their imaginations and enjoy sense of open discovery without demanding that things must or should go well. This is the true heart of confidence. That and good preparation.

We can't make people like us or control everything in life. In fact when we relax with what we can't control whilst realising what we can control, confidence starts to build.

Owning what you can control and letting go of the rest

Before I give a speech to one hundred people I don't have to keep telling myself:

  • "This is going to be amazing!
  • They're all going to love me!"

The truth is that I don't know my audience is going to like my presentation. I have a generally positive sense that it will go well but then adopt a relaxed "let's see what this will bring" openness to the experience. I only control what I can control which is my level of calm and the preparation I've put into the speech.

Once you either start to suspend imagination, just relax and see what happens, or use imagination constructively then you can lift your self confidence in all kinds of ways.

You can never be sure before you do something that 'everything is going to be OK'. But then why do you need to when you have the feeling that whatever happens I'll be okay.

  • But you can trust yourself that you'll do your best.
  • And you can accept the possibility that you'll surprise yourself.
  • And you can concentrate on relaxing so that your unconscious mind can help you.
  • And you can form a clear picture of your desired outcome so your unconscious knows what to aim for.

So why do clinicians use hypnosis when helping lift self confidence?

Hypnosis is the royal road to the unconscious

Hypnosis is the most powerful way of helping us to lift self confidence because hypnosis harnesses human imagination effectively. Remember I said that in order to have low confidence you have to imagine a lot of stuff which paints you poorly.

We use therapeutic hypnosis to help under confident people use their imaginations in new more positive ways so that they can then relax and enjoy situations and challenges.

If we see the imagination as a tool then we use hypnosis to help people go from misusing it to using it to greatly enhance their lives.

So with Jane I helped her feel different around the memory of panicking when she had been driving. She no longer felt bad when recalling that time. Then I used hypnosis to help develop the "blueprint" in her mind of all the future times she would drive feeling calmly confident.

But what if someone is really under confident about something they have never done before?

How on Earth will I cope?

If someone is lacking in confidence about something they want to do but have never done before we use hypnosis to:

  • Help them relax with the uncertainty of trying something new.
  • Have them hypnotically rehearse the situation in their minds so that when they come to do it for real it feels as though they have done it successfully before.

Once we tap into the part of a person that knows how to be instinctively self assured then progress is often rapid and powerful. Typically people say that they "don't know why but they just now feel much more confident whether that's sexually, socially or generally.

So what about Jane's progress?

Back in the driving seat

Once Jane experienced hypnosis she found she could actually use the tremendous force of her own mind to support her. We also used hypnosis to help her stop negatively imagining and we used it to undo the negative conditioning of anxious past times when she'd tried to drive but had been too full of self doubt.

On her second and last session she said:

"It's as though you've helped me re-discover something. Now that I have it back again it feels the most natural thing in the world!" In other words when you feel confident it feels how it should feel and should have felt all along.

But there was something else wonderful.

Jane also reported feeling more confident in areas of her life we hadn't even focussed on directly.

She told me she felt more confident in her love life.. and socially.. and at work! I was tempted to charge her more!

Once you start to gain confidence in one place it will often happily ripple out to enhance all kinds of areas of your life.

You can read more about our self hypnosis confidence course here.

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Published by Mark Tyrrell - in Self Confidence