Musings on Self Confidence

What is invisible and imaginary yet has more impact in steering the course of your life than even a million dollar bank account? Your self image.

From your very first moment of self-awareness, all of your experiences — and your beliefs about these experiences — are registering in different parts of your body, brain and energy fields to create your perpetually evolving self image. While we hold some ideas of ourselves more deeply ingrained than others, we are continually choosing which ideas we allow to define us and which to drop away. Change your idea and your image changes as well.

Like all images, the self image is just an idea, an interpretation of the data you receive along life's journey. This is why one woman embraces her 6'3" height and glides majestically when she walks, and another 6'3" woman stoops awkwardly to try and hide it. Somewhere along the way, this woman who is downcast received a message that her height was not okay and she believed it, so she walks with her head low. The majestic woman may have also received this disapproval, but she chose to focus on her beauty instead, so she walks with confidence. Your self image is created by the choices you make in each and every moment, and directly impacts your feelings and behavior. Choose differently if you are unhappy, unsatisfied, unhealthy in your life. Choose consciously.

At our core, each of us glows with the same bright spark of divinity, love and peace. When a lifetime of negative thinking choices have developed into an unhealthy self image, it takes great will, honesty and persistence to become aware of these thoughts and start choosing more positively. The benefits, however, are well worth the efforts!

Imagine yourself as a drowning person gasping for a precious gulp of air, and then imagine yourself wanting these changes to occur in your life as much as you'd want that lifesaving breath. This level of focus and intensity is not only possible, it's necessary to help you cut through a lifetime of false, imprisoning beliefs and begin to see your true self image appear little by little. Be clear in the vision of what you would like to see, no matter how impossible or how far away it may seem. All of your choices, both positive and negative, exist in the very same space of your own mind and are not very far away at all. You can choose right now to drop the baggage you no longer need.

There are many professional tools and resource people to help lift you to this new perspective of seeing your true self image much more quickly and easily than you could do it on your own. Why build a house without a power saw when it's so much easier to be using the right tools? Be prepared to make a financial investment in your emotional work as most insurance providers do not cover these costs of healing. While $500, $1,000, $2,000 or more may seem like a relatively large investment, consider how valuable, yet invisible, is that breath of air to a drowning individual.

This self image we create for ourselves is also projected to our children. We have an opportunity to guide our youth towards developing self images that are cooperative, healthy, peaceful and hopeful. We do a grave disservice to our children by allowing them to be exposed to sexual and violent media almost from birth. Through TV, music, video games, movies and advertising, girls are taught to use sex, and boys, violence, to get what they want. The message is all about "getting what they want" instead of considering "what can I give." What kind of self images can we expect these children to develop from the culture mix we have provided to them? 

Many people look to ancestral spirits and guides to watch over them at all times, sending encouragement, guidance and light to illuminate the pathway in front of them so they can make good choices. Perhaps these are the same saints and prophets mentioned in spiritual traditions, or perhaps they are more closely related by blood or culture. While scientists probe the microscopic world of DNA to understand our connection to our ancestors, we can also make that connection simply by acknowledging them through our own thoughts. The Walt Disney movie "Mulan" has a wonderful sequence of bringing the Chinese ancestors to light and to life, honoring their presence in our lives even after they have passed from the physical world. How refreshing to see these healthy images and messages being presented to our children!

In honor of a recent elder's passing, we report that Nipmuc medicine teacher Kitt Little Turtle Munyan passed over to the land of our ancestors on December 30, 2004. Little Turtle's history with Spirit of Change spans all the way back to 1988 when he was featured on the cover of our fourth issue in "Legends of the Lake: History and Myth on Lake Webster." Over the years, his contributions of artwork, articles, wisdom and historical knowledge have enriched our magazine on many occasions. Little Turtle lived a life of creative self-expression, encouraging tolerance and acceptance for all, and sowing the seeds of love throughout his six decades. An artist, writer, musician, poet, animal lover, Indian activist and educator, ceremonial leader and teacher of sacred traditions, Kitt Little Turtle enjoyed the shape shifting qualities of living a rainbow life.

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Little Turtle and his beloved "Annie" at his 58th birthday party in 1998.

Carol Bedrosian is publisher and editor of Spirit of Change.