Building up confidence in yourself

Learning to control tension and anxiety bit by bit, realizing all the time that you are making only small steps forward, is possible for everyone, however threatening the mechanics of life may seem. The relaxation procedures I have outlined will help, and whoever masters tension has understood the essence of all anxiety.

After the gentle control of tension has been appreciated, another step has to be taken. Control is also a yoke in itself. It binds the controller to what is controlled: the master and the servant, the hunter and his prey. Although control is a useful learning device, real freedom is harder to grasp and is bound up with the experience of true and lasting confidence in oneself. Confidence does not come solely by learning methods and, useful as they are, they are only buttresses to a true experience of reality and an awakening of a new kind of trust – the essential trust in oneself. Once you learn to trust yourself it is possible to accept the thrill of fear without magnifying it out of all proportion by adding tension and anxiety to it and thus making it unbearable.

The ultimate conquest of tension and anxiety implies an acceptance of reality and a sort of selfless loving of oneself. It is pointless to try to believe that the same way of experiencing this real freedom applies to all and sundry. Some find their inner peace through devotion and prayer, others through being able to laugh, especially at themselves. Whichever way you get there, a thoughtful conscious process is involved which is helped by a mastery of the relaxation response. This will eventually allow you to experience the dignity of the human soul that enables you to put fear, anxiety and tension in its place as you revel in your heritage of real freedom to live, love and explore your anticipation of a confident future.

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