Elsy came across as confident, but as with many confident people, her ‘inside’ wasn’t matching her ‘outside’. In other words, how she came across was not really how she felt. She kept herself afloat by using her manuals: instructions on how to behave, what to say and do in certain circumstances. It gave her a sense of security, but it prevented her from being real and natural.
Elsie’s manual for life offered detailed instructions on how to come across confidently.
Let’s have a look inside her manual:
- What her manager says needs to be taken more seriously than what any other person says.
- Blind Copy important emails to all important people.
- At a meeting, make sure you make a remark to prove your expertise.
In personal life
- Make sure to talk to at least 3 people when in the gym.
- Calling her mother on Sunday evening.
- Having an Xcel spreadsheet to plan the phone calls and meetups with friends.
In love life
- Always prioritise boyfriend over everybody else (including self).
- Never be critical in the relationship.
- Sex twice a week is enough.
Faking Confidence? Poor Elsy.
Regulating her life in all areas and no space to be ‘in the moment’ and just be open-minded to what pops up. She can’t be spontaneous, because she needs to manage her fear of being seen as less confident. She can’t be herself.
It seemed that her manual made her feel happy, so why should she not use it? Because it actually feeds her fear and leads to anxiety.
What Elsy needed was a dose of confidence that wouldn’t be fed from the outside world and the rules she had designed. She needed to understand and value herself and learn to embrace one of my favourite sayings:
‘It is none of your business what other people think of you’ – Jack Canfield
And Elsy was too much focused on making a good impression on other people, because of her need to do the right thing.
Hence, the manual.
She realized her manual didn’t make her particularly happy, as it dictated her decisions without taking into consideration specific circumstances or her mood or a new situation.
Faking confidence? This is How Elsie started to make changes
- Learning to be in the moment through mindfulness practice
- Learning to be open-minded
- Starting to know herself better
- Letting go of the wish to control every situation
- Experimenting with doing things in a new way
- Trusting herself instead of her manual
- Communicating her thoughts clearly: first to herself, then to others
Sometimes a manual can help to get you through a situation, but in the long term, it is down to your confidence and skills to get you through any situation.