• 9. Satisfaction And Self-Doubt

    What I teach people is to not take on the confusion of others…

    When students today can’t do this, what is their problem?

    Their problem is not trusting in themselves.

    If your inner trust is insufficient, you will frantically be driven by changes in situations,

    constantly influenced and affected

    by others, unable to be independent.

    If you can stop the mentality of constantly seeking and wanting,

    then you are no different from Zen masters.

    Master Lin-Chi

    (?-d. 866)

    What would it be like if every day you had to deal with a person who criticized your every effort, who rarely offered a word of praise or encouragement? That’s what Negative Conditioned Responses can do to you.

    When you have success, your self-confidence may not be strong enough to accept it or to take credit for it. You may feel like an impostor. You may think that you were lucky to attain the result, that those who praise you don’t really mean it, that someone will see through your efforts and point out the faults. Sometimes, self-doubt can be so strong that you focus only on your self-perceived shortcomings without giving equal time to your accomplishments.

    Two groups of athletes, who had experienced success, were asked to recall past events where they had performed well. For those with low levels of self-doubt, the result was beneficial. However, for those with high levels of self-doubt, not only did they have difficulty recalling past successes but they also blamed themselves for not being able to remember any examples!

    Why can we be so quick to respect the attributes and accomplishments of others but so slow to respect our own? Why can we focus so much on a criticism while quickly dismissing or explaining away a compliment?

    It’s important to take pride in your efforts, discipline and perseverance. The primary source of confidence is to acknowledge positive accomplishments.

    Studies report that expressions of pride can represent “the strongest status signal we know of among the emotions; stronger than a happy expression, contentment or anything.”


    This is an alternative to the relaxation technique “Star Stretch”:

    • Standing upright, first gently shake your right arm then your left arm to relieve any tension. Do this several times. Repeat with each leg.
    • Let your arms hand loosely at your sides, while keeping your back and neck straight.
    • Close your eyes, inhale gently and swing your arms outward and upwards in a large circle until they are touching above your head.
    • While inhaling, say the word “Relax”.
    • Slowly lower your arms to hang loosely at your sides. As you do so, let your breath flow out and again say the word “Relax”.
    • Repeat two more times.

    If you prefer, imagine that you are breathing in a cool, relaxing blue mist and breathing out hot, tense orange air  (note: if you have difficulty visualizing color, don’t worry about it, some people visualize color more easily than others).


    Write It Down-I

    Take a pen and a piece of paper and jot down in point form the positive aspects (ignore any negatives) of your practice habits for the past week and/or the past month; of course, the fact that you have taken time to practice is a positive in itself. As well, for each day, include the ways that you have helped others.

    This may seem difficult at first, but you didn't get this far without achieving certain goals, acquiring certain skills and occasionally lending a helping hand.

    Write down a phrase or a positive word to remind you of these events.

    Use this phrase or word to help to regain focus when slipping into negative thoughts about past difficulties and setbacks.

    Review your “Satisfaction” list every day, such as first thing in the morning.