Talk to Magie

Using Objects (Totems) to Enhance Confidence

One of the great powers of human creativity is the ability to create meaning, purpose, and intention simply by the will of our thoughts. I’ve written many blog posts speaking to this effect, such as using positive manifestation and crafting self-fulfilling prophecies, but the main point remains the same: your belief is enough to manifest new beginnings, a more positive reality, and promote success. This latest series of blog posts, as I am sure you’ve noticed, has focused on the many ways we can direct this power with intention, whether through literature or alter ego development. Today I want to introduce a new method for harnessing this wonderful gift of creativity; the best part is, you probably have already been doing this one all along without even being consciously aware of it. The way I like to introduce this concept is to direct our energy towards thinking about childhood. When you were a kid, did you have a favorite toy? Did you own something that you were attached to in a way that, even now, you can’t completely explain why? As a child, do you recall if that object made you feel:
  • Safe
  • Confident
  • Bold
  • Happy
  • Focused
I use this example to demonstrate one fact: at one point or another, we all had the automatic ability to find strength in objects, and ascribe meaning to things that others didn’t. Kids are experts at this. But as adults, I’m here to tell you that we still have that same ability, and many of us use it on a daily basis without even knowing! While our lives become more complex with adulthood, the same concept of looking to totems and signs from the universe remains a powerful method for unlocking inner strength and security when we need them most. These totems and signs, if heeded, can serve as powerful allies on our path to confidence and success.

What are totems and symbols?

The word “totem” often carries with it a spiritual connotation, which isn’t incorrect, as many cultures around the world maintain a rich, beautiful tradition of ascribing sacred meaning to tangible objects. Certain cultures attribute supernatural qualities to totems, with these objects commonly representing nature, a bad omen, or the will of gods. However, totems as we think of them now can be much simpler than that. Things like tattoos, your favorite photo you keep on your desk, even songs — all of these can be considered totems that are everyday items, yet spark emotions and feelings of comfort, self confidence, reminiscence, or strength within. It is human nature to look for reassurance and security in places deeply personal to us, and totems are a powerful way to redirect our energy and achieve stability in the world when we feel uncomfortable or uncertain in life. Totems as we describe them can be any thing, object, or symbol that represents something very personal to us, whether it be a memory or experience, in such a way that each time we see that totem, those feelings that it represents return to us automatically. Totems symbolize a lot of personal information that is nearly impossible to summarize in a few words, a testament to our power of assigning deeper meaning to everyday objects. They are completely personal, and the symbolic meaning of the same object may be entirely different between most people; for example, necklace that holds special meaning to one person could be completely meaningless for another. Or, for instance, two people hearing the same song could have wildly different meanings attached to the words.

What are the different types of totems?

Totems don’t always have to be plain objects. In fact, many of them could be considered fairly abstract, appearing at different times and contexts throughout a person’s life without you even expecting them. Whatever the kind of totem, when they appear, they signal good fortune, inspire strong emotions, or incite us to action.

Animal totems

Animals have long been regarded as spiritual messengers, each carrying its own unique symbolism and wisdom. A totem animal is typically one that sense a connection with, in that when the animal appears, it invokes a very clear image in our minds of a positive memory, person, or place. In many cultures, these animals are believed to serve as guides, protectors, or sources of wisdom. A totem animal tells us quite a bit about ourselves, as we tend to ascribe the same positive qualities we see in ourselves to them. If you think about your favorite animal, or even an animal you tend to see when you’re in need of security and strength, you may find that the things they represent are qualities you already have the capacity to demonstrate. Pay attention to the animals that cross your path; they may be guiding you toward insights and opportunities.

Musical totems

Everyone has a favorite song, one that holds many symbolic meanings to the listener sometimes outside of the intention of the songwriter. No matter how many times you go back to it, that song often inspires renewed self knowledge, self reflection, or helps draw attention to a key aspect of your personality that you treasure. Human memories are innately tied to music, and music we hear during particularly trying times stick around in our brains. When we listen to that same melody, we’re reminded of those periods, but with a new perspective — rather than the event itself, we think of the courage we demonstrated, the power we harnessed, and gain a greater understanding of our ability to face similar challenges later on.


In a way, all totems could be considered symbols of some sort, but symbols as I speak about them now are graphic totems, symbols that are written and may or may not share a universal meaning. Symbols are used for identification purposes: company logos, medical symbols, or family sigils are some examples of these, because they correspond to a larger entity or idea. They don’t as much symbolize the concept they describe as much as they truly identify them (you wouldn’t say the Apple logo ‘symbolizes’ Apple, it simply represents Apple). Symbols that we are familiar with, say like, the Apple logo, have a universal meaning in that it represents the Apple company. But say you’re starting your own business, and you see the Apple logo in passing, and for some reason, looking at that logo brings up images of competency, prestige, tenacity, entrepreneurship, innovation etc. Things we associate with Steve Jobs more than Apple. In that moment, the symbolism of the logo becomes more than its intended purpose, and its power to remind you of the qualities you need for success is apparent. Not everyone who looks at that symbol will have that automatic association, but the example illustrates this key idea of personal identification. The meaning you assign to the symbol is uniquely your own, and if it reignites passion, brings you inner peace, or serves as a sign that you’re on the right track, it becomes so much more than a simple symbol.

Conclusion: The Power of Totems in Building Confidence

In a world filled with noise and distractions, the universe speaks to us in whispers, offering signs and totems to illuminate our path. By embracing these cosmic breadcrumbs and allowing them to guide us, we embark on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and fulfillment. The associations a person makes when identifying a totem often symbolize qualities we need to be reminded of in the moment, whether it is because life has become challenging, or we need to remind ourselves of where we came from to gain a greater appreciation of where we are going. As we access this greater awareness, trust, and gratitude, we unlock the door to greater confidence and success, knowing that we are supported by forces far greater than ourselves.

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