According to the Dalai Lama, honesty and self-confidence are closely linked. Think about that for a moment.
He says in his book ‘The Art of Happiness’:
The more honest you are, the more open, the less fear you will have, because there’s no anxiety about being exposed or revealed to others. So, I think that the more honest you are, the more self-confident you will be…
He goes on to discuss being honest about one’s limitations. He touches on the topic of miracles as he discusses confidence:
However, for me to realize that I cannot perform miracles–that does not lead to loss of confidence, because I never believed myself to have that capacity in the first place. I don’t expect myself to be able to perform functions like the fully enlightened Buddhas–to be able to know everything, perceive everything, or do the right thing at any and all times. So when people come to me and ask me to heal them or perform a miracle or something like that, instead of making me feel a lack of confidence, it just makes me feel quite awkward.
Think about how nervous and agitated people are when they’re hiding something. Think about the things you hide from others and possible even yourself. Now, think about letting go of them, one by one. Vices, addictions, skeletons in the closet, perhaps. Think of the confidence boost you’d receive if you could conquer one of those.
First, take it easy on yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. That just compounds the problem. Don’t worry.
The Dalai Lama on worry:
If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, then one needn’t be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. It is more sensible to spend the energy focusing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no way out, no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you can’t do anything about it anyway. In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be on you. This formula, of course, implies directly confronting the problem. Otherwise you won’t be able to find out whether or not there is a resolution to the problem.
Perspective often helps. Think about all of those suffering in the world. Think of the suffering children, AIDS orphans, for example. Most of our troubles pale beside theirs. We all have troubles and we all have things in our lives we regret. Including the Dalai Lama:
…there was one older monk who lived as a hermit. He used to come to see me to receive teachings, although I think he was actually more accomplished than I and came to me as a sort of formality. Anyway, he came to me one day and asked me about doing a certain high-level esoteric practice. I remarked in a casual way that this would be a difficult practice and perhaps would be better undertaken by someone who was younger, that traditionally it was a practice that should be started in one’s midteens. I later found out that the monk had killed himself in order to be reborn in a younger body to more effectively undertake the practice….
The Dalai Lama still lives with that regret:
But even thought that feeling of regret is still there, it isn’t associated with a feeling of heaviness or a quality of pulling me back. It would not be helpful to anyone if I let that feeling of regret weigh me down, be simply a source of discouragement and depression with no purpose, or interfere with going on with my life to the best of my ability.
And finally, build daily practice into your life. As you can gain confidence from honesty, so can you from setting goals and acheiving them. Set a small goal, say of ten minutes a day. Schedule it into your daily routine. This will also begin to provide a calming foundation for the rest of your life.