The last few HSM posts have been all about how a person’s perceived external identity translates into dysfunctional drinking behaviour. Within that, I covered advertising, culture and role models. Now we move into one of the other two key contributing factors – relationships. Or more specifically, how a persons ability to attract, build and maintain relationships fits into the binge drinking conundrum.
Delving into this concept of relationship, our research has forwarded two significant concepts in a person’s psychology that translates into excessive drinking; confidence and communication. This post is about confidence.
Real confidence boils down to one single belief. The belief that one is worthy of fully experiencing a particular moment in time. A fully confident person values themselves and their time as just as valuable as anyone else’s. They act on their instinct over inhibition and if necessary they ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
61% of young people in our research said that confidence was the number 1 reason why they drink to excess. That’s nearly 2 out of every 3 people! 2 out of 3 people that need alcohol to be able to fully experience the moment they are in. Drinking for confidence has largely become an accepted given in nearly all ‘adult’ social situations. It has become woven into our social fabric in such a symbiotic way, that removing it often makes people feel very, very uncomfortable.
So why do we need alcohol to give us confidence? How does it actually work?
To answer these question, we need to go back to the beginning. Nearly all of us start our lives with a clean slate. We are born free. If you spend time with any child under the age of about 4, you will notice that they are completely confident. They scream when they want something, they play/dance/laugh when they feel like it. They feel compelled to fully experience the fantasy of the moment.
Then sadly, shit happens.
They grow older and people start to turn their fantasy into reality, piece by piece. One experience after another, people tell them to not be confident and to fear others. They tell them to avoid being different, or being weird in any way.They are socially normalised and conditioned to fit in. They lose their Neverland.
They slowly start to give their identity over to to the thoughts and words of others. “You’re fat”. “You’re ugly”. “You can’t sing”. “You are boring”. “You aren’t worth it”. These are all comments that may have been made off the cuff after someone was having a bad day. The person or parent that told them this may have done so in complete unconsciousness but, the unfortunately anchor has been thrown. If the recipient isn’t careful, these voices then get stuck in their head and what’s really bad is that these voices turn into their own voice. Some people like to call this – mind chatter. That which a fully confident person, just doesn’t have.
Drinking gives us respite from this chatter, these voices. For a small amount of time and cash, when we drink, we manage to fall below a lot of the limiting voices we have in our head. We fall below thought.
I have to admit that there is a part of me that misses being able to do that for the past 7 months. I miss being able to turn my mood around so quickly. To stop thinking for at least a night. Learning to do this sober has been a much, much, much more arduous and confronting task. The difference is that rather than fall below the chatter, through taking things like drugs, alcohol etc – I’ve heard the trick is to try and rise above it. It’s much harder, but in the long-term much more rewarding.
I can imagine why a lot of people wouldn’t want to do something like a HSM. I can feel it on the train into work or out at lunch. I can feel the collective thoughts all struggling in people’s minds. “I’m not rich enough”. “I’m not in a good enough relationship”. “I hate my job”. I can imagine how difficult it would be to take away the ‘off’ switch from them.
So, the most important question really is how does one get confidence? Moreover, how does one break away from that need to drink for it? I suggest throwing yourself in the fire. Look at all the limiting beliefs you have about who you are and what you can achieve, write them down and set the intention to do the exact opposite.
If you believe that you aren’t worth talking to that attractive person, start with a smile and ‘hello’.
If you believe that you can’t achieve your dream, take the first step now.
If you believe that you can’t dance sober, I’ll see you on the d-floor at Alhambra on Saturday night. 🙂