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For January 2013

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Self-confidence is ultimately an emotional phenomenon. It doesn't matter how much you know or what risks you're willing to take; those are different qualities. True confidence in yourself—that is, the feeling of belonging in your body and in the world, and possessing faith in your ability to handle your circumstances—is a feeling, and it emerges from your emotional presence. You may be figuring out the ways that you were taught not to trust yourself, which you then tend to project outward into an environment you think you cannot trust. You may be discovering the ways you've been taught to live within the constructs of the past, rather than in your true desires. I would call that a good thing, because if you see your adhesions to the past for what they are, you'll be able to address them. That can set the template for your whole approach to growth: Be glad you see an issue for what it is, then take steps to work it out. Through this process, you may at times feel a deep, burning desire to be independent. You may find yourself making decisions that compel you to indulge a deep autonomy that you've never felt before. Take this as far as you can, but not so far that you isolate yourself. If you lean in the direction of emotional self-sufficiency, you'll figure out that it's easier to build healthy relationships from that state of being than from any other. And that's what I would call true confidence.

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