Confidence Through Wholeness

Most of us would like to have greater confidence, inner strength and self esteem. mandala-jung-k-dark
So, how do we get more of these mysterious qualities?

Try going for wholeness: the wholeness of your being is already there, waiting to support you.

But how? Below is a wonderful tool I call Cellular Acceptance which I have found can easily become a wholeness habit.
What if all that elusive self esteem and confidence stuff simply came from moving toward your weaknesses instead of away from them?
What if the biggest fear worth overcoming was the fear of your own inadequacies?
What if embracing all of who you are turned out to be the most freeing and empowering thing you could do for yourself?

So let’s look at how, but first things first:
When we resist a part of ourselves, for example our insecurity, sensitivity or vulnerability, we are judging that part as unhelpful and negative and that can make us seize up and stay hidden in our lives. We have likely decided at some point that we are perhaps less than, for having that feeling – that it shouldn’t be there. We may well feel ashamed of it. And then we’ll tend to limit ourselves – but we limit ourselves not just because these feelings make us feel inadequate on some scale of adequacy, but because we feel inadequate for even having the feelings in the first place!

In fact, the reverse is true: those very ‘weaknesses’ strengthen us when we embrace and fully accept them (regardless of what others or our Inner Critic might think). When we are really OK with who we are, warts and all, we can step forward with more lightness, holding the hand of our fear. When I am unafraid of a negative quality I possess, I can relax into my being. I am the world, I am fallible, both strong and weak and this is absolutely fine. In fact, this smorgasbord of qualities is my unique version of this being human, as Rumi so beautifully puts it in the poem below. Actually living this requires an ongoing body-connected practice like

Cellular Acceptance, outlined below. The head can’t do this work. The Inner Critic, which we all have some version of, will continue to try and protect us from life’s scary frontiers by muttering its opinions and quashing our aspirations – “Don’t do that, you idiot, you’ll stuff up!” The articles below will help you to get wise to its ways. Check out, for example, Twelve Top Traits of the Inner Critic – some of which you are bound to recognise.

Cellular Acceptance This is a practice that has been profound for me. Perhaps it will work for you as well. I learnt it originally from an old friend, Roger Cotgreave, and expanded and adapted it in my own practice and work:

Once you are aware of the Inner Critic’s voice, then at any given moment, you can by step back into your deeper awareness and from that place, breath a warm acceptance into all your cells: you, now, as you are in this moment. You need to stop and be in the here, and NOW.

This is not an off-hand action: it requires your full attention because you have to get out of your head and its hurrying habit in order to sink your awareness down into the feeling body. You need to take that moment to really, fully, breathe into whatever is happening inside you (whatever is happening!) – using the breath to connect, as it were, with every cell of yourself and to soften into that.

When we do this, we will begin to feel more inner calmness and strength, even a kind of presence that is bigger than the upset of the moment: our deeper self, our wholeness which contain and embraces every aspect of our being.
And as we do this, amazingly, we are actually beginning to create in the brain new neural pathways of care and safety which then become a real life refuge – a place to go within you, at any time. Also, in this place we feel better about ourselves because we have stepped beyond judgment, and hence are now more supported within and less afraid to step forward into action.


Many years ago I had a dream where I was about to be ‘initiated’ by a strong, matter-of-fact ‘churchy’ woman (the sort who organises everything and everyone in a no nonsense way). At that time in my life, I was a mess of tears, grief and feelings of helplessness. In the dream I said to her that I was a mess and in no way ready for this initiation. She just looked at me as if to say “What’s that got to do with anything?” In that moment, I realised that I had spent my whole life trying not to be the sensitive and emotional person that I was, yet that sensitivity was simply a core part of who I was. The fact that I was like that didn’t mean anything at all on the scale of worthiness that I was apparently being run by. When I woke up, it felt like something important had been communicated to me: I was OK and didn’t have to be anyone but myself, just as I am.

Sometimes we are almost forced toward a closer encounter with these vulnerable qualities – perhaps from a longing for some change or deeper connection with ourselves or because we find ourselves up against a wall of our own darkness of circumstance. But we don’t have to fight with who we find ourselves to be, even if all we’re feeling at that time is confusion, emptiness or sorrow. Embracing it all with awareness and breath on this cellular level actually generates strength, validation and the very compassion we most need at times like that. And these moments of compassionate awareness can turn your life around. You are saying a deep YES to both your humanity and your inner power. And we feel much happier when we feel whole, weaknesses and all.

This being human is a guest house

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Jalal al-Din Rumi


You are all things. Denying, rejecting, judging or hiding from any aspect of your total being creates pain and results in a lack of wholeness.
– Joy Page


To read more about the Inner Critic have a look at these illuminating articles:
The Inner Critic
The Top Twelve Traits Of The Inner Critic

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (Harper Business) is a very readable book that presents the latest intriguing research about confidence in women – and why they often don’t have it. I loved the light it sheds on the contradictory ways that women often interface with the world and the beliefs and habits that unconsciously govern them.


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