One significant insight that has come to me rather intensely in recent workshops is that self-acceptance is far more important and relevant than self-confidence. Typically, in theatre, when we start work on a new play, there is great insecurity. There is even the fear whether the play will turn out well and whether audiences will accept and applaud it. Even though we invite friends to come in for the rehearsals to give us feedback during the course of the later rehearsals, the first show for the public is a very scary experience. If it were necessary for the cast and crew to be self-confident before they get on stage, most plays wouldn't happen.
If you were to go backstage before a play starts you would find the actors and the crew reassuring each other, hugging, holding hands, meditating, helping each other to manage the fear and tension. What works at this point is not self-confidence. Instead, there is an acceptance of the fear, the tension, the doubts and the insecurity as part of the performance process. Perhaps going through this stage together is one of the reasons why a theatre group becomes so closely integrated.
Sometimes our egos cannot accept that we are nervous and uncomfortable before taking on a new challenge. We tend to chastise ourselves wondering, "why am I feeling this way?", or "I should relax", or "they must not see that I am nervous'. Instead, if we give ourselves the freedom to be tense, nervous, and others the freedom to think what they will about us, and accept this as the reality of the moment, and then consciously decide to put ourselves completely into the task at hand without denying what we are experiencing, we move beyond the fear. No more energy is wasted on resisting what is. All our energy is now available to do what needs to be done at that moment.
In the process, we actually empower ourselves and also energize others all the more.