Probably one of the most common statements I hear from children is “I am not very confident”. I am never sure if they have come up with that statement, or they have heard the adults around them saying it. The fact is that the simple statement hides between those lines a very limiting belief (lack of confidence) at a very profound level (identity: I am not).
The first thing I do when I hear this statement is saying “yes, you are”. This is normally followed by a classic comedy moment of “no, I am not”, “yes, you are”… which is very entertaining for the child and myself.
The priority for me it is to help the child understand that it is not a case of being or not being confidence. We are confidence; it is a case of using it. Obviously breaking down such a limiting and embedding belief is not easy so I have to resort to a language they understand.
This is how I explain it to them:
Me: confidence is like playing hide and seek. I imagine that you are in the playground and you are playing hide and seek with your friends. It is your turn to look out for them but you only look at one side of the playground and completely ignore the other, what will it happen?
Child: I will only find a few of my friends
Me: that’s correct, and what do you have to do to find the others?
Child: look on the other side of the playground
Me: well, with confidence it is exactly the same. It is already there, within yourself, but you haven’t looked at it enough yet. You are probably confident playing football, or signing with your sister in your room, or playing with your friends
Child: yes, I feel good when I play with my brother/sister
Me: so, you are confident. Now we only have to work out how to do more of it. How to look at that side of the playground more often.
This simple conversation can change the child’s belief in himself. If he feels confidence once, he can feel it twice, three times, ten times…. a million times. It all starts with that first belief.