If you take a look at my posts over the past few months, you’ll see a common theme: confidence (or lack thereof).
Confidence is the belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities, it’s trusting that you know what you’re doing. Confidence is internal validation, internal drive and charisma. Confidence is when the only person you care about living up to is yourself.
I don’t think people have enough of it, and tragically so, as it’s the key to happiness.
We’re plagued by thinking we don’t deserve our beliefs or our feelings. We spend so much time apologizing to ourselves and to others for who we are. The next time someone says, “I hope I don’t offend anyone,” think about the concern behind that statement. It’s just as much about the listeners’ sensitivity as it is about the speaker’s desire for others to find him favorable. What a terrible way to live!
If you read my “Rolling with the punches” post from September, you can see that my problem was a lack of confidence. I didn’t believe that I deserved better. In this regard and in many others, I had become the object of my life, seeing myself through the eyes of others. How I saw myself was always invalidated whenever that view was challenged by someone else.
We’re social beings. It’s natural to need positive feedback from others, but I think we rely too much on such external validation, and not enough on the internal version. I believe most of us stymie ourselves for fear of failure and rejection before we even begin to dream of what we can do. Once you believe in your own capability to do good things in this world, you create what you have envisioned. As the sole judge of the quality of your work, you are only disappointing yourself if you fall short of your perceived potential.
You can’t expect people to agree with you, but if you believe in what you’re passionate about, you won’t need other people to agree with you in order to feel worthwhile. You would trust in your truth.
I was never passionate about acting, and therefore I could never have had confidence in it. You know that feeling where you feel like you did a good job? I NEVER had it with acting. How could I believe in myself without passion? The meaning of life is finding what you’re passionate about, believing in your aptitude to be successful at it, and to recognize when that passion has shifted elsewhere.
I’m sure there’s plenty of people who have figured this out already, but I’ve spent the past month and a half working on this one, so thank you very much for your time. And I’m CONFIDENT that most people haven’t figured this out because I can think of a large number of fully grown adults who don’t feel good about themselves, and it’s one of the saddest things in this world to witness.
Confidence grants you freedom. Freedom from the limitations you don’t even realize you’ve placed on yourself. Some people don’t do so well with freedom – they become drug addicts, assholes, or criminals – and maybe for them it’s best to be confident within a structure (either correctional or religious or rehabilitative). But I’m sensitive towards others and I have a strong enough moral code that I thrive on the freedom to do, think, feel, and say what I want, and I grant such freedom to others in return.
Being confident makes me so much happier:
- I’m happier for myself because now that I know I deserve awesome things in life, I’m either making them happen or waiting for them to happen to me. If someone doesn’t think I’m awesome, he’s in the wrong, not me, and he shouldn’t be in my life (since I only deserve awesome things!).
- If the world looks rather bleak, at least I’m doing all I can so that it doesn’t. (This position is also helped by my related epiphany outlined in “i am an extraordinary human being,” in which I explain that most of humankind is quite useless; it was counterproductive expecting more from the world than sum of its parts.)
- I’m also genuinely happy for other people. When my self-worth isn’t tied up in others, I no longer set others as my standard from which to measure myself. All I want is for other people to do what they’re passionate about, just like me.
Since this epiphany began, it has been harder to handle interpersonal interactions. I don’t know how much (if even) I should soften my positions in order to minimize conflict. I’m not exactly sure how confidence and sensitivity should interact.
If everyone were just confident, it wouldn’t be an issue.