Written in August 2019. It was day 11 (or 12 depending on which way you looked at it) of ‘The Great American Crossing’ with ATI and we were going to Yellowstone National Park. It was right in the thick of the tour. We had been on the bus for well over a week. By day 11 we were totally comfortable. We felt familiar and at ease with Maiko, our guide, and our driver Gary. The other people on the tour were quite nice and we had a gentle, pleasantry level of interaction. Whilst it was a bit disappointing on the social front – we had had much better social times on our previous American tour – it did mean we were free to get on with it uninterrupted.
The previous night we had stayed in Cody. I just loved it there. It felt so very American – whatever that might mean (unpack as desired). I don’t know, there was a relaxed, warm and familial attitude from the people of the town. According to Cody’s official website, it is a “full Wild West experience”, and was recently ranked as Wyoming’s most beautiful small town by MSN loveEXPLORING.With it’s big main road surrounded by mountains, it reminded me of my vision of how America might be before I’d ever embarked on the journey ‘across the pond’. Anyway, we stayed in Cody and I was really in the mood for a full on sensory experience when visiting Yellowstone the following day.
It did not disappoint. On the way to the park we were given a safety poster to read ( see picture).
It was rather exciting to even contemplate the idea of seeing a bear. Of course we didn’t. In fact we saw relatively little in the way of animal life. There was a coyote on the edge of the park and we saw a few bison at a distance. We may have seen a mule deer here too, I can’t remember if it was at Yellowstone. It didn’t matter as there was just so much natural wonder to look and marvel at.
To an American, what I’m about to say will be obvious, but to a European there is something that, should you decide to visit, will astound you. The park is huge. Everything is just super sized here and Yellowstone is no different. At nearly 9,000 square kilometres, it’s big. We were only there for one day and so we only visited the ‘southern loop’. The roads around the park are so well maintained and it’s very accessible with walkways, basic restrooms and at least one car park around all the main attractions within the park.
The speed limit is 45pmh along the single carriageway road around the park. With limited places to stop at the edge of the road, we encountered a couple of jams where people had obstructed the road in order to get out and traipse across varying terrains to try and get closer to distant bison. Our guide, apparently an old hand at navigating the park, shook his head and muttered about how the tourists didn’t realise how far away the bison were.
As we entered the park, our guide collected enough maps for all of us. This way, we were able to see exactly where we were going. You can collect one of these maps on payment and entrance to each national park. They really are informative and a great momento for remembering and thinking about the experience on the return home.
We visited several of the most famous parts of the park and a few that I didn’t even know existed until the visit. The Yellowstone falls are just incredible and the viewing points are awe inspiring since you feel so very high up. The geysers and various hot springs were interesting and beautiful. The colours were so rich but the smell of sulphur was enough to make you wretch. I have a pretty strong stomach but a sensitive sense of smell. I’ve got to say that it got to me after a while!
It was a funny experience at Yellowstone. In a way it’s one of the most wild and stunningly vast natural experiences of my life but in another way, it was so over-humanised. With roads, signs, road signs, walkways and car parks it seemed like somehow the landscape had been invaded. I was glad to be there and see it and yet sad for the land and her natural beauty. It was as if it was being controlled, dressed up and forced to perform like some sort of horrible circus act. I suppose I was a willing voyeur.
I loved the vast lake and the eerie Bobby Sock trees. The sheer amount of beauty is quite incredible and we only saw a tiny bit of it. This is one of the reasons I loved being on the tour. Whilst the map was incredible, had I been driving myself around the park, a lot of my attention would have been taken up with thinking about where I was and where I was trying to get to. There was none of that on the tour. Maiko, our guide, made sure we saw a lot of the highlights and gave us just the right amount of time to see each feature. He gave us instructions on where to go what to look out for. We couldn’t go wrong.
Lunch time was spent at a visitor centre where there were several options of things to eat and buy. Again, unlike in a European tourist site I was used to, the visitor centre was huge. The food was not over priced and pretty good quality. As always, there were a lot of good bathroom facilities at the centres and they were very clean. Our afternoon coffee stop was at ‘Old Faithful’ – incorporating a rest stop, coffee break and a chance to see the notorious and predictable eruption of the geyser. Again, with places to sit and view the eruption and a centre for purchasing souvenirs and refreshments, the whole place was organised perfectly. It was contrived in a way but so convenient in another. I loved it and felt strange about it at the same time.
Overall, I could not recommend a visit to Yellowstone National Park enough. It is one of the best and most spectacular places I have ever seen. It has such variety and it’s incredible to see what nature can do. With so much information and so many amenities, it’s an easy and tourist friendly place to spend several days. Whilst I think you can see many of the main attractions in one day, I wish I’d had longer there to really appreciate this stunning park.
https://ksabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/12_file.png1000750KS Abbotthttps://ksabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/kat_logo01.pngKS Abbott2020-09-13 09:35:002021-01-08 18:30:59Travel Stories: Visiting Yellowstone National Park
If you have low confidence, the chances are you have an idea of a certain standard that you’re not meeting. On some level, you think that you’re not cutting it – you’re not good enough. This could have been learned from somewhere else or perhaps you just came up with it yourself.
Have you tried to make changes but they haven’t worked? Are you still doubting yourself and worrying what everyone else is thinking about your last social media post or the outfit you wore to work today? You are not alone. This is the norm. It was my reality too. But I changed it and I believe that you can too.
Choosing new thoughts
The good news is that everything that you’ve thought or felt before is already over and in the past. It’s gone. Finished with. You have a clean slate as of now!
Most of us overestimate the power that the past has over us. In truth, you can change your life from today by starting to tell a different story. How do you do this? By focusing on how things are now and where you are planning on going next instead of revisiting the past. You get to choose your thoughts, ideas and everything in your life.
I’m here to tell you that you are good enough and everything is unfolding perfectly…sound too good to be true? It isn’t. If this sounds off to you, that’s not unusual. The idea that we have lots of things to fix in ourselves and the world before we can be happy is the conventional opinion that most people hold (albeit perhaps not consciously). That’s OK, but you don’t have to do it any more.
Let’s look at an example. If you think you’re too fat, too old, not pretty enough etc… so what? I’ve met plenty of confident fat people and fearful thin people. It’s no crime to be fat after all. However, you may have an idea that it is somehow bad or wrong. This is the same with all the other reasons you may have for why you lack confidence. Whatever it is you feel you lack, I’m here to tell you there are plenty of people out there with just your issue – perhaps even worse – who are full of confidence.
The point I’m trying to make is that your ideas about what is good and bad about you are just that, ideas! Whether they are ideas that were handed to you by society, your family or if you came up with them yourself, they are still just ideas. They are perceptions.
Understanding truth and belief
The point to really take on board is that your ideas and thoughts about yourself are just that – thoughts and ideas. They aren’t the truth. We have so many examples to draw on of human error regarding beliefs. We thought the earth was flat but it wasn’t true and we thought cigarettes were good for us at one time. You can see the same error in your own life. Things you thought were impossible when you were 5 are now natural to you and things you believed back then, you no longer believe. Really register the fact that a lot of your thoughts and beliefs aren’t true.
“Beliefs are not truths”
Watch out for hidden beliefs masquerading as truths and getting away with it because most people believe them. You may have an idea you hold as true but, on closer inspection, you find it’s still only a belief. Many ideas we hold about ourselves and life are rooted in convention but it doesn’t necessarily make these conventions true. If you take a look now, you will find that almost everything you think to be true is just a belief. It is crucial you notice this if you want to make a serious change to your confidence.
The old way of dealing with low confidence and why you’re still feeling less than fierce!
Very often, when we read or think about improving our confidence, we do superficial things to temporarily boost our confidence. Perhaps we may make ourselves look nice or buy a new item, but what we’re doing if we only use this method is actually feeding the problem in the long term. Why? Because we are purely pandering to our belief that we’re not enough as we are, rather than changing our belief at the source. Maybe we are telling ourselves we’re wonderful via affirmations or notes on the mirror. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is great to do it, but if you have a core belief that goes against the affirmation, it is going to be difficult to convince yourself permanently.
The old ways of dealing with low confidence are only effective if we use them in tandem with changing our old beliefs about ourselves at the root. We have to notice where we are getting these ideas about ourselves from. Once we know, we can start changing or challenging them.
The 4 the main ways people who lack confidence tend to sabotage their own ability to shine…
(You may do one or all of these, if you lack confidence)
You judge others – It’s sometimes hard to see the way you judge yourself. However, it’s easy to notice how you constantly label and judge everyone and everything around you. Our mind chats away constantly as we pigeonhole people straight away and make our constant comparisons – ranking ourselves in relation to everyone and everything around us. Take notice next time you walk down the street, notice how your mind does this.
But what if we started to see everyone just as human beings and as equal? Instead of the constant ranking of less than or more than, we just see people. It’s liberating and life changing. If you let other people off the hook, it’s easier to let yourself off too. As you stop constantly judging, categorising and labelling everything, you’ll change your habit. As you judge others less and are more compassionate in general, you’ll find you start feeling this way towards yourself too. If you drop categorisation, it means you no longer have to judge and categorise yourself either.
You believe the media – Perhaps you look at media, magazines or on social media. Wherever it is you are looking at, you are maybe buying into the hype and forgetting that it isn’t real. We all know it isn’t real if we step back and think about it. But do you? Do you step back?
What you see online or in print is far from realistic. Even though you know this, it can be easy to get sucked back in. It’s sneaky like that. The shiny, filtered media is everywhere we look and the content is often misleading, especially when people post content that claims to be an ‘every day’ image but is far from it. We have to be very strict with how we consume content, remembering that most of it isn’t real. Period.
If you unconsciously take too much notice of the media, you can easily be left thinking that everyone else is doing better than you. It’s not true. We all have ups and downs, highs and lows. The people in mansions are no different, they’re just doing it in a mansion! Enjoy the media – it’s beautiful, glamorous and perhaps inspiring in context. But, remember – it is advertising. Everything you see has been filtered. It’s not reality. It’s virtual reality.
You think you should have “made it” by now – The good news is that this feeling that you’re never really making it will rapidly diminish when you start to become more conscious of what you are thinking and believing. We are very conditioned by the consumer culture but only until we realise what it happening.
If you are here reading this, perhaps you are already having an awareness of what is going on and perhaps you’ll choose another way. This doesn’t mean we have to give up all our old ways or every aspect of our consumer lifestyle (that’s always your choice). All it means is that we don’t have to let it control us any more. We choose how much and when. We know it isn’t the whole story and we get more peace just from knowing that we actually don’t need to ‘make it’ because we are already there. We are all just humans, learning and experiencing. We come here with nothing and leave with nothing.
If you feel like you haven’t achieved enough or got where you wanted to be by now, the simple answer to this is – you and every one else! Most people feel like they haven’t achieved enough. It isn’t true, but society would have us believe it as it keeps us buying and consuming! Our minds go along with it because we follow the flock, it’s what everyone else does and so we do it too.
Another thing to consider, when it comes to feeling like you are ‘not making it’, is that our minds are naturally never satisfied – have you ever noticed that? The mind is always on to the next thing. If you do get what you want, the satisfaction only ever lasts a short time. Noticing this habit is a great help in starting to assist you in feeling better about your life and therefore boosting your confidence. It’s helpful to remember that, whilst your mind may be always pointing out all of things you’ve done wrong or opportunities you’ve missed, you can never choose every option in life anyway. Whatever path you’ve chosen, you’ve always technically missed out somewhere else anyway. No option would give you a sense of having it all because to ‘do it all’ or ‘have it all’ is impossible.
Remember that even though you maybe had ideas about what you wanted your life to look like (that’s normal human behaviour), life rarely does what we expect it to. “Making it” is a fearful standard, born out of a struggling thought, that we can just let go of. It’s a mixture of external pressure, consumerist culture bombarding us and our unchecked thoughts and emotions running out of control. Once we know what’s happening, we can notice. As we become aware, the picture starts to shift.
You don’t feel passionate in life– Are you doing what you want? If you do what you love, you naturally often ‘run away’ with it before you get chance to second guess and stop yourself. This is what pure unfiltered confidence looks and feels like. If you have no joy in your life and have limited chances for self expression, this can leave you feeling really low and flat. It can make you feel lifeless which, in turn, affects your confidence.
Real confidence is born out of love and light. It’s a positive energy that springs forwards in you and wants to come out into the world. The easiest way to tap into that confidence and light is to do what you really enjoy. If you can do what you feel passionate about, even if you only do this for a short time each week, it will make a difference to your confidence levels.
Turning our confidence sabotaging behaviours around
We’ve identified our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours might be faulty. But what can we do to turn them around? Honestly? As you see where you are unconsciously believing your reactive thoughts or going along with society’s ideas, you will automatically become more confident and aware. But there are plenty of things you can do to amplify this and speed up the process of becoming more confident.
The 5 Steps to finding more confidence:
There’s one simple solution to every problem you’ve ever had or ever will have – open your heart – this is all you need to do. This is the solution to everything. But how do we actually do it?
Here are the things that work quickly and effectively for opening your heart when it comes to confidence boosting:
Keep a gratitude journal Take a few minutes morning and night to list three things you’re grateful for. It can be on a scrap of paper or in a proper diary or journal. It doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as you write it down. It appears that writing it down, rather than just thinking it, solidifies the thought and amplifies it. It’s also a wonderful record to look back over. Try not to make it last more than a couple of minutes at either end of the day though. Why? Because if it’s too lengthy a process, you perhaps won’t keep it up. Keep it achievable, simple and consistent.
Limit your social media intake or other media to stop the inevitable comparison and to keep it in proportion to your life. Set a timer for a certain time slot allocation per day or delete certain apps from your phone. What about if you need to engage on social media for work? Then, for example, make yourself a rule that you only scroll at your desk, not when you’re sat at the dinner table or on the sofa supposedly relaxing! You get to make the rules as to how much and when you consume, just be conscious about it. Make a well thought through choice as to when you’re looking and what you’re looking at. Delete follows that bring you down or buy into a fearful or low vibe mindset and follow people and websites that talk in ways that make you feel more empowered.
Spend more time doing what you want and building your happiness When you are in a state of open heartedness you’re happy. You fall in love with life and yourself when you are doing what brings you joy. It’s the quickest and easiest way to bypass all the old pain, baggage and nonsense that we encounter daily in the world. We’ve all likely experienced this in our lives at some point – that feeling of being like a small child again, totally absorbed and joyful in our activity. Try to introduce or increase this in your life as much as possible.
Don’t fixate on whether you’re any good at it or not. If you love it: learn, take a course, get assistance or practise. Everything we do is infused with the energy in which it was created, therefore anything made from a state of joy and happiness will, in its own way, contain a special and high vibe energy. Whether you do this as a career or a hobby doesn’t matter, so long as you are doing it on a daily or weekly basis and prioritising it as a must in your life.
Notice when you start to feel low in confidence and ask yourself this question: What am I thinking and believing that’s making me feel unconfident? There may be a situation or event happening, or perhaps you’re just sat quietly alone. Whether someone has said something horrible to you, you saw a post on social media or you thought of something that brought you down, it’s not the actual event that’s making you feel lacking, it’s your thoughts about it. As you question your thoughts and notice that they’re just thoughts that aren’t necessarily true, you can start to let things go and change your reactions to things that used to make you doubt yourself.
Focus on your qualities and the people whom you love and who love you Reframe and refocus. We all doubt ourselves from time to time. It’s not that confident people think they’re perfect, in fact they don’t and that’s the very reason why they’re confident! They know they’re not perfect and they’re OK with that. They are willing to be themselves and don’t hide their so called weaknesses. What confident people do well is focus on their good qualities and skills. They’re comfortable with the whole picture and know they’re no better or worse human being than anyone else. So, if you lack confidence, try to emulate this. Accept you fears or concerns, feel them and refocus towards things that remind you who and what you really are and all of those people who see these qualities in you too.
You have ideas about yourself that are making you lack confidence.
They are just thoughts and thoughts can be changed.
It’s not always easy but it is simple. With dedication and patience, you can make a new habit to help you change. Just like going to the gym will build muscle, doing new things in your life will change your confidence muscle. YOU don’t need to change to have confidence, although you will (we’re always changing). What does need to change are a few of your HABITS, that’s all!
Required changes summarised:
Stop self criticism and criticism of others, stop believing that the shiny media representation of life is real for anyone, and enjoy the moment of life you’re in now. Retrain yourself to see yourself and the world more positively. Don’t expect everything to change over night and be patient as you change the way you look at yourself and the world.
If you want to change you need to put things in place, but don’t think that it is going to be extremely hard. It isn’t. Small changes – like keeping a gratitude journal and spending an hour a week doing what you love – will make a whole lot of change over the space of a few weeks. If you haven’t changed your confidence level yet it’s most likely not because doing so is difficult, but rather that you haven’t consistently applied the simple changes.
Most people do a lot of things for a few days and then quite simply go back to their old habits, not keeping up the changes. They get distracted by all their daily tasks and then before they know it, months have passed.
Make a promise to you:
Be the exception to the rule and know that you can and will change to becoming a more confident person. As you make the small changes consistently to your everyday life, your confidence will sky rocket, as it does so too will your potential to reach your dreams.