ConfidenceTransformation Toolbox

Confidence Tip #7

Hey Big Britches: Who Do You Think You Are?

I got too big for my britches and I liked it. Click To Tweet

“If you don’t start out too big for your britches, how are you gonna fill ‘em when you grow up?”  ~Stephen King

Either during childhood, or as an adult have you ever had a “big” idea, a wondrous dream, or a sudden burst of self-confidence to try something new, only to be reeled in by your internal (generally critical) voice? That inner voice generally pipes up with something judgmental that’s akin to, “Who do you think you are?”

Suddenly, you find yourself in an internal tug-of-war of sorts between your confident, forward moving occasionally tenacious self and the other self –that one who holds you back by causing you to question your ability, and frankly, to doubt your worthiness and deserving.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard those voices say things like:

  • You always start a new project and never finish it.
  • You tried something like this before and failed.
  • Why do you think it will be different this time?
  • You didn’t grow up in a family that did things like this.
  • No one in your family has ever amounted to anything.
  • You’re full of big ideas that never come to fruition.
  • You’re such a dreamer; get real.
  • Don’t be so full of yourself.
  • What makes you think you can do this?
  • You’re getting too big for your britches.

That last one, I’m pretty sure came from my mother. That colloquial term “britches” is a dead giveaway! And that’s sort of important to know, because the truth is, the messages were not formed in a vacuum; they came from lessons learned from others…who learned their messages from others…who learned…well, you get it, right? Over the course of a lifetime, you’ve been conditioned by both real and imaginary voices, most of which you’ve absorbed from others –external sources of those who in truth, probably didn’t know what was in your best interest. Their opinions were just a projected spewing of their inner dialogs. And chances are, you’ve probably believed that it was you speaking in your head. And based on a long-term study of human behavior, I’m going to bet that you’ve internalized more negative messages than positive messages, leaving you with a very vocal inner critic.

It's time to unlearn the messages that you've learned. Click To Tweet

So what do you do to move those hurdles out of the way? What are some ways that you personally can come up with to effectively handle the oppositions to your success?

Here are some ways that I have used to silence the inner critic and clear the ancestral chatter:

  • First, I evaluate the critical message.
  • Is it true? Is there a bit of truth? Or is it a completely false message? Is it mine? Do I own it or is it someone else’s opinion?
  • Next I look to determine if it helps me in some way? Sometimes there is a subconscious belief that the learned message is in some way protecting me from dangerous (read that as “unchartered”) territory.
  • In that case, is the danger real or imagined? Is the danger simply an unfounded fear of the unknown or is it actually just an excuse to play small by not exploring and expanding the possibilities?
  • I consciously shift my inner critic messages to messages of accomplishment –whenever my negative voices show up, I remind myself of the positive qualities I possess, and I back that up by focusing on accomplishments both big and small.
  • I use the mirror as a place for feedback and personal growth, and begin by looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “Yes, this may be true about me, and what is also true is that….” As an example: “Yes, sometimes I do sometimes have grandiose ideas and dreams and I am really productive when I align with an idea and put my whole self –mind, body, and spirit into it.”

Finally, it’s most important to remember that whenever we hear that pesky critical inner voice asking such judgmental questions as, “Just who do you think you are?” we alone have the power to turn the volume up, down, or better yet, turn it off. And as we consciously replace the negative messages of an inner critic with a supportive, nurturing one that speaks power into who we are, that part of us blossoms into the personal we were born to be.

Commit to listen closely to the inner voice, and decide what to own and what to release. Click To TweetThere is much empowerment in the results of deciding what fits and what does not belong to you. And if it doesn’t make you look and feel like a million bucks, express gratitude to the message for its well-meaning lesson of keeping you safe; tell it you appreciate it and now it’s time to release it. Say good-bye and replace the released message with a new supportive message that affirms you. It’s time to grow consciously into those big girl britches!


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9 thoughts on “Confidence Tip #7

  1. Chara, somehow I commented on this and lost it to the ethers…. Regardless, I want to say that your comment means the world to me. We do need “to keep sending out this confidence-boosting, confidence-nurturing message until everyone feels strong in themselves and ready to believe in and serve their mission!” And somehow, your affirmation of that fact feeds my soul and encourages me to get back to work and do more! As a women’s empowerment coach for over 30 years, it can be nice to hear others on the same page. And simply by the name of your website, I know we are on the same page! Thanks sister! xox

  2. Brandy, thank you so much for the kind comment. I could not agree more that “It’s what we tell ourselves – and our children….” (yikes!) Is your workshop live or virtual? If it’s virtual, feel free to add the link and I will promote for you (and come and check you out!). Shine your beautiful light and sing and play for your soul; the rest will take care of itself. xox

  3. Minette, thank you so much for your comment. Sometimes I feel like a great big old grandfather clock with my confidence swinging from one side of the trajectory to the other and back again…. Not exactly manic. But certainly pulled to clarify what works best. The older I get, the less I need to ask for permission to be who I am. And that’s the confidence I try to be in as much as possible. Your confidence is clear. And yes, of course you are human. It’s what makes you continue to grow and be the best version of yourself personally and professionally. Much love and gratitude to you.

  4. Sheila, you make me laugh so hard. Lovin’ me some endorphin highs! Thanks for the fix! I gotta tell you how much it warmed my heart to hear the way you encourage your children to listen to their inner voices. Evolution of the species seems precarious at times, and it’s reassuring to find parents who are encouraging their offspring to self-realize. Thank you so much for the thoughtful insightful comment.

  5. Ha! Ha! You mean it’s okay to play confidently in one’s power! Of course it is, but you are right, Jan, that the old programming still creeps in. I, too, heard, “Don’t get too big for your britches.” And yes, it held me back for too many years. For me, that phrase meant, stay like us, talk like us, act like us. But that wasn’t what I was meant to do. I spent so much of my life as the “black sheep of the family” who stubbornly “walked to the beat of a different drummer.” That experience has influenced my parenting in amazing ways. I frequently tell my children how important it is that they “follow their inner voice,” so that whatever they do in life they find joy in it. The learning was the contrast I felt living in that environment of limitation so that, as a parent, I could show my children how to live an authentic, expanded life. Yes, I got too big for my britches and I liked it! Now I’m teaching my kids to get too big for their britches, too! 🙂

  6. Jan, I loved this post and it was what I needed to hear today. I so resonated with the pull between confidence and the inner critic. I loved your suggestions/questions for calming that critical voice so that I can move forward. I especially appreciated your personal example of “Is it true?” Yes, and is such a lovely way to reframe a situation and own it at the same time!

  7. Excellent article Jan! It’s what we tell ourselves – and our children, and those around us. Thank you for giving me space to explore whats going on in my inner dialog right now through reading this and checking in with myself! I’m giving a new workshop tomorrow and will be playing some instruments and singing for the first time and I have to get on the confidence bandwagon!! Big hug to you!

  8. Thanks for the comment Chara. I am creating a little e-book of confidences and these “Tips” are a part of it. As a women’s empowerment life coach I have found (lack of) self-confidence to be the #1 issue. ALL of my empowerment “power tools” are created with the purpose of self-esteem building as the outcome. So to hear (or read, rather) your comment that “We have to keep sending out this confidence-boosting, confidence-nurturing message until everyone feels strong in themselves and ready to believe in and serve their mission” is exciting and re-affirming. Thank you for the work you do in the world. xox

  9. I really needed this article today, Jan. We have to keep sending out this confidence-boosting, confidence-nurturing message until everyone feels strong in themselves and ready to believe in and serve their mission! Thanks for articulating this in a powerful way.

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