The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shippman is a must read for women and men (especially fathers of daughters) of any age. I definitely recommend this engaging book, which highlights compelling scientific research about what contributes to the confidence gap between men and women. The high-powered, successful women interviewed offer keen insights and unique perspectives about expanding their confidence. The authors provide valuable tips to help women boost their confidence, and Kay and Shippman’s candid and personal disclosures regarding their own struggles with confidence make the book highly relatable.
The Confidence Code does not address—and this is a noticeable gap—an essential and powerful process for women, one that’s either not often discussed or is mentioned in code—a woman’s monthly cycle and female reproductive organs. As an energy healer, I’m into chakras, the energy centers in the body through which energy flows. All the chakras are important to feeling balanced and empowered, but in this post, I’m focusing on the sacral chakra and how it relates to a woman’s confidence. As the chakra diagram (below) points out, the sacral chakra corresponds directly with the female sexual/reproductive organs.
According to The Confidence Code, building confidence involves taking risks and taking action (new experiences). Balancing the sacral chakra can shift thoughts and feelings to facilitate making empowered choices and accepting the change that come with taking chances.
The sacral chakra influences emotions, creativity, passion, self-care, and openness to new experiences. It’s associated with feelings of acceptance and rejection, both with ourselves and with others. The sacral chakra element is water—think fluidity, movement, and flow. For more details about the sacral chakra, check out Caroline Myss’ chakra descriptions.
If you’re on my site, it’s not so obvious that I worked in the financial industry for close to twenty-four years before expressing myself as an alternative healer, writer, and blogger. After I graduated from college, I worked in sales. When I turned thirty, I transitioned to business analysis/product management, developing financial software products. It’s not a big surprise to anyone when I point out that the financial industry is testosterone driven, aggressive, and competitive, with a focus on exceptional bottom line results.
I’ve worked at companies where I felt as though I had a unique seat in a guys’ locker room. On the other hand, I’ve been at companies where I’ve worked with a lot of women who were more competitive and aggressive than the fellas. Just like the ebb and flow of my monthly cycle, over the years, my sense of confidence went up and down like a roller coaster ride. During my self-confidence lows, I often felt risk averse to taking action and at times talked myself out of voicing my opinion, seeking out new opportunities or even asking for help.
Up until my cancer scare in 2008, I walked around dragging my female organs with a string velcro’d around my ankle. It wasn’t until I risked saving my uterus—Operation Save Uterus—from a hysterectomy that I felt a deeper sense of confidence and success. I took a chance. One step—which took me to the next step (making changes in my diet), and the next (sticking to an exercise routine), and the next, connecting my mind-body and spirit.
Based on a few highlights from the book, here are 4 reasons why the sacral chakra and connecting to your female organs are important to help build confidence:
1. The Good Girl
The book touches on how young girls who are praised for being good, well-behaved, and quiet tend to avoid taking risks—an important quality of confidence. One of the possible consequences of the “good girl” promotes a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach for many girls/women about their female organs down south. Due to strong negative messaging—often by parents and the media—girls at a young age are taught to hide their monthly flow. Noticeable leaking is the worst of worst-case scenarios that can happen to a female at school or at work. Oh the horror! How does reinforcing the need to hide a girl’s monthly flow influence her away from confidently asking questions and expressing feelings about hormones, sexual satisfaction, STD’s, fertility, etc.?
Many women silently suffer recurring monthly physical pain, which isn’t exactly conducive to risk taking and a strong sense of confidence. In the past, I’ve downed a bunch of Advil and thought I could power through my pain—endometriosis, cysts, etc., but I often found myself narrowing my focus to just making it through the day at work rather than being at my best. Learn more about common painful conditions related to the pelvic area here. For example, endometriosis, one of the top three causes of infertility, affects approximately 8.5 million females in North America, and it can take up to ten years to diagnose—that’s 1,200 periods during which a woman is swallowing pain without relief. It’s important for young girls to know that their bodies are natural, and it’s important for them to express what they’re feeling.
Moms: Pay attention to the language and attitudes expressed toward your monthly cycle and your daughter’s.
Ladies: A recurring theme of my blog posts, which is also mentioned in the book, is to support and treat yourself as if you were talking to your girlfriend. You don’t verbally beat up your friend and focus on worst-case scenarios. Encouragement and support help to spur action, not silence. Pain is your body’s message to you, letting you know that some part of your body requires your attention. Speak up and take action to find a beneficial solution that works for you.
2. The Brain’s Fear Center—the Amygdala
Fascinating to read that men and women have two amygdalae. I thought it was just one fear-based dinosaur in my head. The book points out that men rely more on the amygdala that relates to taking “external action as a result of negative emotions.” Women tend to activate the “memory/emotion amygdala more easily.” If women are more inclined to get caught up in their memories and emotions, it’s difficult to stay present, a necessary element to taking action and taking risks.
Interestingly, the sacral chakra is known as the seat of emotions—the “I Feel” energy center. Based on my personal experience and what I’ve learned from working with the many woman I see in my practice every day, sacral chakra imbalances are often related to negative experiences from the past—especially childhood or early experiences that women have not let go of/released—that impact their confidence. The cave-like nature of the uterus is a center of creation, but it is also a place to hide and bury negative emotions. Many women hide or dismiss their feelings of shame, anger, or betrayal about physical and sexual abuse, unresolved relationships, fertility issues, and loss. If not released, the energetic memory/emotion of the past event creates a block that can consciously or unconsciously diminish both feelings of empowerment and the ability to take action in their present day. Rather than shut down negative emotions, it’s important for women to release and transform stuck feelings in order to move forward.
Letting go isn’t necessarily a logical experience, where you hit a delete button and whatever you’ve been holding onto vanishes—like deleting an email from your smartphone. I suggest working with an energy healer. I worked with different healers during Operation Save Uterus. Energy healers’ help to shift you out of the logical and analytical loop and put you in a relaxed, safe, and open space to release and transform.
Journaling, meditating, and seeking professional assistance are other opportunities to release.
3. Hormonal Messages
The Confidence Code describes how testosterone influences a man’s confidence—“higher testosterone levels are linked to feeling powerful”—and compares testosterone to estrogen, one of women’s primary hormones. Estrogen “encourages bonding and connections . . . it drives women to avoid conflict and risk and so it might hinder confident action at times.” The book focuses on the brain quite a bit, but I was surprised to find no mention of how the rise and fall of hormones during a woman’s cycle can influence her confidence. For example, during the second week of a woman’s cycle, estrogen peaks and helps her to feel more attractive. When estrogen peaks, the effects of testosterone kick in and women also tend to feel more confident. During the third week, estrogen drops due an increase of progesterone. Low levels of estrogen by the fourth week might cause women to feel grumpy or negative and less self-assured. Read more about how female hormones dramatically affect how a woman feels during each week of their cycle.
The ovaries—a sacral chakra organ and the main producer of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone—play a critical role in a lady’s hormonal balance, sense of well-being, and confidence. The sacral chakra is also related to relationships with others and to a woman’s relationship with herself, where for an intimate understanding of and relationship with her body, a balanced sacral chakra is critical. Many women are taking care of everyone else in their lives but are not placing enough importance on their own self-care.
Subtract 10–15 minutes daily from the time you spend watching TV, playing online games, or shopping online and prioritize learning about your female organs and your hormonal process during the month and at different stages of your life. Also learn about possible environmental stressors that can negatively impact your hormonal balance and health.
4. Women Are Overthinking It
I don’t think any woman would be shocked to hear that women have “30% more neurons firing in their brain at any given moment than men.” The book explains how this 30% helps women with multi-tasking, intuition, and collaborations. On the downside, that 30% causes more worry and negative thinking, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Speaking as a woman, when has constant worry about an outfit, the number on a scale, a relationship, a tough project at work, or a health issue helped to solve the problem? Ruminating is debilitating to confidence, blocks the flow of creativity and movement, and contributes to feelings of being stuck.
The sacral chakra relates to creativity, desire and flow. Energetically, many of the women I work with have a thick band of heat around their heads from all their over-thinking. The energy around their lower chakras—power, sacral, and root—often feel hungry for balancing. Many women are living in their heads rather than being present in not only their full body but also their abilities to thrive. By being more grounded and present women, are able to capitalize on their strong intuition to create abundance and success.
If your head’s in a spin, here’s a simple exercise to try. Take deep breaths while visualizing a bright light on top of your head. Bring the light down past your eyes, throat, heart, stomach, and female organs, letting it rest at the base of your spine and gluing it there. Keep your attention focused on the light at the base of your spine. Notice any differences between how fast the energy feels in your head versus at the base of your spine.
Also— try standing in a Wonder Woman pose for two minutes for a quick boost of confidence. Hormone Horoscope shares why that works here.
There are too many vital and critical processes going on in a woman’s female organs that contribute to confidence. It’s impossible to apply the fake it ’til you make it philosophy when it comes to being healthy and feeling empowered. As the book suggests and I’ll reiterate—be authentic. Being true to who you really are—including your amazing and powerful female organs—is crucial to confidence.
PS. A shout out and thanks to my friend Missy Berkowitz! Her “Just Say Thanks” post inspired me to read The Confidence Code.
Lorraine Giordano Inspired To Health www.inspiredtohealth.net firstname.lastname@example.org 201.344.6448