A friend of mine wrote about confidence on a recent blog post. She was talking about her writing and being more confident about sharing it with others, and I thought, “What a great topic.” I’ve always felt as if I’ve struggled with confidence. What would confuse me is when someone would tell me how they wished they were as confident as me. Me confident? You must be joking. I’m the least confident person in the world. Or so I thought. Most of the time I had no idea when I was being confident. It took me a long time to realize what confidence was and how it felt.
To me, confidence is when I am just being me, and not comparing myself to others. I am perfectly aware of who I am most of the time, and my abilities. The things I am certain of, the things I know without a doubt I can do, give me confidence. Put me around people I am comfortable with, and I am confident. Talk to me about a subject I know, and I can talk your ear off, because I love the subject and I am confident I can hold my own.
The problem comes when I am around someone who I think is better than me in some way, which is a direct contradiction to my belief that no one is better than another person. (My description says I’m complex. This is your example.) Maybe I think they are smarter than I am (often), more attractive (this one is almost every other woman in the world compared to me), or a better person in every way. In point of fact, one person is no better than another. We are all born naked and cold and crying into this world, and we all go out the same way, alone. Each of us has something about ourselves that we don’t like, and that causes us to be less confident than we want to feel. It’s all about perception and self-esteem and confidence. If we perceive someone as knowing more than us, which they might, we experience a loss of confidence, which might cause a dip in our self-esteem. Then, we might overcompensate with false confidence which makes us feel worse about ourselves, I think. Or we retreat into ourselves and decide that we aren’t as good as the person who knows more than us.
Too many negative criticisms can also cause us to lose confidence. I know that from personal experience. For years I was told that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and this occurred often. I was made to feel as if I was a bad mother because I don’t make my kids eat meat all the time, or because I don’t get upset at them and punish them for little things someone else might feel to be disrespectful. Often, I would hear things that just got me down and blue. I didn’t hear many good things about myself except from my friends, but their words were hard to believe because I didn’t feel confident in myself.
Confidence is hard to gain back once lost. It also comes and goes. If we’re having a particularly bad day, we’re going to be less confident about ourselves. The reverse is true as well. On great days, our confidence soars and we feel like we can do anything. Since I’ve been exercising and working on both my inside self and outside self, I’ve had more confidence. I’ve begun to feel like I can do anything almost all the time now. I feel attractive and healthy. I haven’t felt attractive and pretty in years. That’s confidence, and it can make an ordinary person like me feel pretty and worthwhile. I’ve been talking to my friends recently about something that I find sort of…ironic, I guess. We’ve discussed the fact that I am completely unaware of the fact that I attract attention (not in a bad way) and because of that I’m not concerned with impressing anyone. And according to each of them, apparently that is an attractive quality to men. (Since I have not talked to any men about this I cannot confirm that statement. Again, it’s coming from a female discussion about it.) I find it hard to believe that I get noticed by someone in that aspect. I am truly oblivious to the effect I have on people. It’s true. When I go out, whether on my own or with friends, I just enjoy myself. I don’t try to impress anyone. If the hottest guy in the place were watching me, I’d never know because I’m more focused on enjoying the moment. I’m completely unaware of that kind of thing. Not that it would happen but if it did I wouldn’t mind in the least. It seriously takes someone coming up to me and talking to me for me to understand that someone might be interested. And even then, I’d still think the person would be interested in one of my friends. It’s all about confidence. Isn’t it?
Confidence is a funny thing. One minute you can do anything and the next you’re falling on your butt because you tripped and fell. The thing to remember about it, though, is that you’ve got to watch out for over-confidence. It leads to being prideful and that always leads to a fall. God/the universe, karma, whatever/whomever you believe in is just waiting to take you down a peg and show you who is really in charge. Be confident but try to remain humble as well. Confidence can only get you so far and then you have to have something else to rely on. And try not to compare yourself to others. You were born unique with your own talents and point of view. No one else sees the world the same exact way you do. You are you, with your own talents, your own voice, and your own perspective. Walk with your head high, and be confident that no one else can do what you can do, whatever that may be.