5 Lessons in Self-Confidence from the Bhagavad Gita
Self-confidence is a fundamental quality to living an effective, empowered, and fulfilling life. Being conscious of and reliant upon your own powers and abilities is what allows you to think, speak, and act purposefully and believe that you have the inner strength and courage to succeed.
Like everyone, there are times you can lose confidence in yourself and slip into bouts of doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty. Lacking self-confidence, you may fear and suspect that you are weak or incompetent and thereby hesitate to speak or act with assertiveness, missing out on potential opportunities for growth or success. You may sabotage and hold yourself back in your work, relationships, or personal lives. As anyone who has slipped into ruts of self-doubt and insecurity can tell you, this is not a pleasant state to be in. But how do you avoid it? How can you maintain a healthy level of self-confidence in who you are and what you can do? The answers, in part, lie in the Bhagavad Gita (Gita).
The Gita, arguably one of the most revered texts in all the Vedic literature, is a vast storehouse of Yogic knowledge and philosophy. A part of the epic poem, The Mahabharata, it encapsulates the essence of Vedanta in the tale of Arjuna, the finest of warriors who is caught up in an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. Gathered on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the forces of good (Pandavas) and the forces of evil (Kauravas) are preparing for war. The mighty Pandu warrior, Arjuna, asks his divine charioteer, Krishna, to place his chariot between the two armies so he can see who he has to fight. To his dismay, Arjuna sees in both armies friends, family, teachers, and respected elders, all willing to fight and die. Overcome with sorrow, Arjuna sinks into despair at the thought of the inevitable bloodshed. The resulting dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna expounds on the path of yoga as a means of liberation from suffering.
In the second chapter of the Gita, The Yoga of Knowledge, Krishna instructs Arjuna in the ways of yoga, essentially giving him a wakeup call from his despondency and sadness, saying:
This despair and weakness in a time of crisis are mean and unworthy of you, Arjuna. How have you fallen into a state so far from the path to liberation? It does not become you to yield to this weakness. Arise with a brave heart and destroy the enemy. (C2, v2-3)
The lessons that follow are powerful tools for restoring Arjuna’s self-confidence. Like Arjuna, you can also benefit from these timeless teachings in your quest for self-confidence and self-determination. As you read each of these five principles, allow the profound wisdom of these teachings to resonate within you and feel your confidence grow as a result.