“Dost thou think thyself a puny form, when the universe in folded up within thee?” 1
Would you say that you have real confidence and self esteem?
Do you ever truly feel that you are beautiful?
In order to have a true sense of self confidence, I first need to clarify what is my unique purpose in life and then try to live it.
Many of us read tons of books and attend many trainings and courses hoping to find the ways to our happiness. We want the trainer, the book or the lecturer to make us happy. We forget that all these are just means to help us know who we really are. But they are not the purpose nor do they make us happy. They bring us closer to what we are suppose to find. Many times we loose our focus and forget as to why we started self improvement process. Of course this could also be because on many occasions we face a part of our reality which is not so pleasant to us, or we feel helpless in a sense and think, “I can not change myself ?”. Instead, we trap ourselves in self loathing and self criticism pattern.This is the place that we sometimes feel overwhelmed and get scared of the changes we need to make and instead of staying and trying to take responsibility for our feelings, we give up! Give up the course, the practice we are suppose to do, reading the book, going to therapist and whatever it was we were doing. All these things happen because from the start of this journey one important and crucial point had been ignored and that is, “I, and only I, am responsible for my life”. In other words, “I take responsibility for my life (actions)”. There are no books or person on this Earth that can change my life.
”Each one of us is responsible for one life only… and that is our own and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy…”2
As interdependent as we human beings are, we need to constantly search for who we are and try to develop our own character. Once we accept the responsibility for this great task, only then will the real changes and character refinements can happen.
One way to do so is to be aware of what we have and not to focus on what we do not have. Every morning when we wake up we should start a new day and count our blessings. I start with the phrase “I am grateful for my life” and then I go on with all the other things that I am grateful for. Whatever I see around me. It could be, my family, my education, my husband, my service possibilities, my hot cup of tea, my books, my profession, my winter clothes, my friends, my community, you name it. The list can go on. If you practice this everyday you will realize that after saying you are grateful for a long period of time, a feeling of gratitude overcomes you. This feeling is warm, pleasant, overwhelming, fulfilling, familiar and more than all, real. This is a feeling that you do not want to change for anything. It is a novelty that you have actually reclaimed back. This feeling had always been there. You had just lost contact with it. This is a simple practice that can bring us back to reality, not only in the mornings but as many times as you need it, whether it be day or night. It is yours. It is free. It is real.
“This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.” 3
As I learn to nurture myself, I learn to nurture others. My encouragements and kindnesses towards others can only be genuine if I do it to myself too. Every morning when we wake up we need to first ask ourselves, “How are you? how did you sleep? What are the things you want to do today.” Asking others is the second step. The suggestion here is not to wait until all is perfect with me (and my self confidence is 100%) and then do something for others. Interestingly the two are more interrelated that we think. Gaining self confidence is an everyday work. I will not have a day when I can stop being in touch with myself believing that my self confidence is fully pumped. The soul and the body are connected in mysterious way and we need to be aware of that. The awareness and the sense of gratitude is the real self confidence. It is when we realize that we are like a fish swimming in the ocean of gratitude that we feel the power.
“Of what importance is the shipwreck to the fish of the spirit? What doth a soul celestial care if the physical frame is destroyed? Indeed this body is for it a prison; and the ship but a place of confinement to the fish.” 4
1.Abdu’l-Baha, The secret of Divine Civilation p19. (Quran 95:4)
2. Compilations,Light of Guidace p.90.From a letter to an individual believer from the Universal House of Justice dated 23.09.1975.
3.Gleanings by Baha’u’llahp.151
4. an excerpt from Fire and Light,by Baha’u’llah also published in the Bahá’í World vol. XVIII, p. 11