The meaning of life

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:

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.



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5 responses to “The meaning of life

  1. Evan

    Confidence and freedom flow from the same place, as do power, contentment, and pretty much everything else people look for in the world. The access to that place is in recognizing that every one of us is the ultimate creator of his or her own universe. Whatever we believe will manifest in front of our eyes. Thus, if we expect things to go a certain way, they almost certainly will and if we believe we lack something, the universe will continually deny that something to us. If somebody is able to shake your self confidence by challenging your views, I’d venture that you already harbored secret (or not so secret) self-doubt.

    Looking at this in reverse can inspire great confidence. After all, it’s just a slight-of-thought. The key is not to want something — not to aim for specific goals, outcomes, or material conditions. It’s about being. We need only realize that we are as we choose to be, and then it is done. I choose to be awesome. I am awesome. I feel confident!

    • throwinginthetowel

      Evan, thanks for commenting. No need to rub it in that I sometimes lack confidence! Hopefully I am now on a more confident path.
      Maybe we’re just arguing semantics, but I really think the key is passion. You have to envision the RIGHT future. I would love to be lots of things, but I have to choose to be the things that I would love most of all. I could be nitpicking but I find it to be an important distinction. It’s hard to find what you’re passionate about, so if you don’t know what that is, then any sort of reality you envision for yourself will most likely not bring you true happiness, if it even manifests in the first place. As such, it’s really hard to be fully confident when you don’t have that passion. Basically I don’t think it’s as simple as you make it out to be.

      • Evan

        Passion definitely goes a long way. What you describe sounds like analysis paralysis — something I have certainly experienced. By spending effort thinking about the “right” path, we fool ourselves into thinking that there is such a thing. But there must necessarily be many, perhaps even infinite right paths. Every path we’re on is right, if we live it right. If we are being who we want to be in that moment. I’ve found that the more in the moment I live, the easier it is to feel passionate about things. Thinking too much tends to get in the way. It all really is amusingly simple. But that doesn’t make it easy!

    • throwinginthetowel

      Also, I appreciate your zen but I like goals. From my perspective goals are really great as long as you’re setting them to be the person you are or want to be. Other people should not overly influence those goals or affect your evaluation of if you’ve acheived them.

      There is some truth to the relativity of truth, but I still believe you have to put some work into it to maintain and create your truth.
      I could just be naturally inclined to making life hard for myself – I’m sure I could learn a thing or two about believing myself into my future.

      • Evan

        If you are being the person you want to be, suitable goals will flow directly from that. We cannot force ourselves onto a new path by simply imagining goals. We have to be the person for whom those goals inspire passion. Then it’s no longer about achieving something, but being something. I think it makes life a lot easier to deal with — if we fail to accomplish a goal, it doesn’t change who we are, because the goal doesn’t define us. It’s just a natural expression of who we are. And we make new goals. As for work — we are always creating and maintaining our own truth and reality, but most of the time most people are totally unaware of this. Once you become aware, you can simply choose to alter the way you look at things (and thus your reality). You might be amazed how easy (and fun!) it can be. If you are making life hard for yourself, perhaps you could reflect on why that is. What’s the payoff that you get from choosing the hard way? Maybe you’ll decide to reevaluate your approach.

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