What’s STOPPING me from becoming confident

Several of the questions that have been sent to me are from people who see no reason NOT to be confident, and who have tried many approaches to improving their confidence which have not worked.  They have had riding lessons, been to coaching sessions for themselves – and yet nothing seems to be changing.  In all these particular cases, the phrase they all seem to use is “I feel as if something is getting in the way of my becoming confident”.

This is an interesting question, sometimes I come across people and we are coaching and working away and yet every time we find an answer to the confidence issue they seem blocked and can’t move forward again. Sometimes this happens in practice and sometimes this happens when we are just talking.

I remember one person. I had arranged to meet her with her horses for an initial session.  Just before I was due to leave to drive to her, a journey of over an hour and a half, she called and said she would rather come and see me.  Since this was obviously important to her, I agreed and in a couple of hours we were sitting outside in the sunshine, looking over a lovely view as we talked.

We did the usual thing – talked through the tools – but something else seemed to be blocking her. Every time we reached a point where she started relaxing and saying “yes, that could work…” it was as if a barrier came up inside her which said “no, that can’t happen”…..

So after about 45 minutes, I paused and said “I just have one question for you: picture yourself 18 months from now, you’re riding your horses confidently all over your property, out on the bridleways. Walk, trot, canter – it’s all absolute fun with no tension or worry…..what else is happening?”

She looked down and said “My husband has left me”.

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting THAT.

However, this isn’t all that unusual:  what she was saying was that something ELSE in her life was getting in the way of her becoming confident – -and this can happen more often than you might think.

We talked about this for a bit. I should probably make clear that she has given her permission for me to share her story here as it makes such a good learning point – that confidence with our horses isn’t always an isolated issue – it can be a reflection of larger things going on in our lives.

In this case, it turned out there were some things going on in their relationship which led her to belive that if she were happy and confident, her husband would leave her.

Digging deeper, they had moved a few years ago to follow a dream of creating a home for their children and had worked hard for several years to rebuild a house and outbuildings so that holiday visitors would bring in the income they needed.  This project was almost finished, was working well – and once that was done, D had concerns over what would keep her husband with her and the family.

We switched the coaching session to this topic – and D had some plans when she went home.

She later contacted me to say that they had talked, her husband was starting another project and all was going well.  Oh and by the way, her riding was going well too as her confidence issues had slowly evaporated as the relationship issues had been resolved.

Further conversation revealed that she had probably been picking up on her husband’s feelings of “what next after this project?” and he HAD been looking for what to move on to – but just in terms of projects, not relationships!

This example raises the interesting concept of how our ECOLOGY can affect our ability to make changes.

If you think of ecology as our whole environment, where we live, who we live with – and all the expectations, habits and history too – it is easy to see that sometimes changes can be hard to make.  And even that changes we want to make for ourselves and our horses, might be hard to think about and do when we start thinking about the consequences these changes could have in the rest of our lives.

One person I worked with on confidence had to do some hard work not on herself, but on her family so THEY could cope with the newly confident woman.

So if you are finding that despite understanding unconfidence, and working on yourself – that part of you doesn’t seem to be allowing you to become confident – perhaps it’s time for you to ask yourself the question:

In 18 month’s time, when all this is sorted, and I am confident – what ELSE is happening?

And listen to the answer that pops into your mind.

Whatever comes into your mind, however ridiculous or small or big or – well, anything – WHATEVER comes in to your mind is what needs to be sorted out before you will allow yourself to become confident.

It’s often useful to have a friend or coach with you when you do this, as this can lead to some challenging answers.

Remember though, in many of the cases I have worked with, the issues have been resolved happily – in an earlier post I mentioned that the unconscious mind is a bit like a 3 year old child – it feels emotions but isn’t always accurate with is analysis of things – as per the story in this post.    The unconscious is excellent at picking up feelings and undercurrents – but will often label them with words and titles that are from your OWN baggage.   So having a friend or coach to support you in that step can be very useful!

Ok – I hope this post helps some of you who sent in questions about feeling “blocked” in becoming confident – any questions, please post here or email me!

Yours in confidence



4 thoughts on “What’s STOPPING me from becoming confident

  1. Very interesting and I do relate to this! It’s like a balance, if you are unhappy in one part of your life then it effects other areas. You just don’t feel like your old self.

    • SO true. One lady once got in touch and said that 9 months ago she had lost her confidence — so I just said “so what else happened nine months ago?”

      her whole body language changed — she realised there had been a major life event at that time, and no wonder she had lost her confidence with her horses — she put her horses out to “rest” for a few months while she sorted things out — and when the life event was resolved, she and her horses moved on confidently……..


    • Hi Adria — I do tend to find that any larger life decisions have an impact – -grandchildren, downsizing or upsizing, family moving closer, further away — all can have an effect on confidence and “becoming confident”
      Enjoy your reflections


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