You may ask: "Why do I lack self-confidence? If I have therapy, will I be more confident?"
The answer to the first question is simple. You learned not to be confident as you grew up.
Or, rather, you were taught how to be unconfident by the people who raised you, who may not necessarily have thought at all times (or even much of the time) of what was best for you and how to meet your needs.
All children are born confident.
They are naturally confident, self-expressive, uninhibited and curious. As they grow, their parents, their teachers, their friends and their siblings may not offer the positive nurturing and encouragements that a child needs.
They may criticize, judge and condemn. They may be discouraging when a child shows her youthful naivety or enthusiasm.
They many come from their own victim place - whatever the mechanism, the cause of the loss of confidence in a child is the negative words and actions which older figures (or even those of the child's peer group) impose on the child.
In psychotherapy it becomes possible to understand these processes. You can gain insight into why you feel the way you do and why you act the way you do in life.
You will find out how triggers can stimulate you to a reaction that would be more appropriate in a child, and how you carry with you the confidence-destroying words and actions of your parents and siblings. But does therapy help you to change?
There's the million dollar question. The answer, I think, is a cautious: "It depends." It depends on how deep the therapy goes: for simple understanding is not enough - you have to do something in therapy to change these old behavior patterns. These patterns are very deep-rooted, and it takes a lot of psychic energy to change them.
However, it may not be necessary to change them. You can choose to act in a different way to the old behavior patterns: you can choose the path of optimism and self-determination rather than being a victim and being controlled by others, either sexually or in any other way; you can choose the path of self-confidence and happiness rather than lack of confidence and weakness.
But there are many things you have to do - not least getting to grips with sexual or emotional dysfunction.
Having a good relationship, both sexually and in every other way, is essential for complete mental and emotional health. You won't have good sex if you don't have complete sexual self-confidence!
This choice depends on you really wanting to be confident, on really being motivated to seek a change, and willing to take a risk. Of course simply trying new behaviors won't bring about a massive increase in your self-confidence overnight.
On the contrary, it will produce small successes on which you can build so as to develop a new pattern of behavior which you know is sustainable.
How important is past life experience?
Well, the answer, of course, is very important. Your past life experience made you who you are, with all your attitudes, thoughts and feelings, including your level of confidence in different circumstances.
But that does not mean you have to be bound by it, as I explained above.
You do have the power to choose a different way of thinking, and you do have the energy to sustain that new way of thinking, even if you snap back into the past unhelpful behavior patterns at times.
On the other hand, understanding why you are the way you are can be useful in finding a new way of looking at things. The following exercise may help you o see why certain life experiences made your confidence greater or less than you would like it to be.
Imagine you have a rucksack, a large backpack, and into it you are going to place a rock weighing about a couple of pounds, a kilo, for every life experience you had that seems significant.
Look back as far as you can: what was the first things you recall? Going to school, or something earlier? Close your eyes and extend this process of remembering for as long as you care to, right through from your early memories to the present day.
Then imagine that the loaded rucksack, carrying all your memories, experiences, and of course their consequences, is on you back and you're lugging it round the room. How does that baggage feel?
Hmmm.....The best way to deal with outstanding emotional issues is to try some systematic process for dealing with stress - shadow work is a good idea. www.shadowwork.com
There are other organizations which use similar techniques including the mankind project.
Now, when you get out of bed in the morning, do you put that rucksack on? If so, does it help your confidence?
Would it be better to think about nothing more than what adventures and excitement and positive experiences this new day is going to bring you?
Would that be more likely to boost your confidence? Hmm.....
If you feel that you lack sexual self-confidence, it is probably a great idea to get some guidance and help to overcome common problems.
For example, lack of ejaculatory control in men can seriously deplete sexual confidence and cause performance anxiety.
In women, vaginal pain on intercourse and lack of orgasmic ability may cause similar loss of confidence. Incidentally, pain on intercourse may be caused by tears in the vaginal lining due to lack of lubrication.
If you wish to avoid sexual problems like delayed ejaculation, there are always helpful websites written by our team of experts available, for example this one - www.increased-staying-power.com - but men who have ejaculation difficulties should always receive the support of a partner who is not performance oriented and does not believe that the man should be responsible for her sexual pleasure.