Learning Confidence

“It is the bright shine of all the endured sorrow that will make us glow” –Tyler Knott Gregson

Confidence is not something that I’ve ever had in abundance. It’s not even something I’ve had a decent amount of. I suppose part of that is my personality and wanting to be in the background more than the forefront of anything important, but it has been a deeply seeded part of me for as long as I can remember.

I tend to read into things far more than I probably should, but I trace a lot of my actions and life decisions back to my lack of confidence on a regular basis. I’ve never thought that I was truly smart enough, pretty enough, worth enough, etc. for some of the things I wanted to do with my life. So I settled. I settled in my relationships, my job choices, and in probably more things that I’m even aware of. The problem with settling is that your soul senses that something isn’t quite right. This leads to unhappiness and uneasiness, which then tends to feed into the lack of confidence again, and the cycle continues.

The funny thing is, the last time I told someone that I have very low self-confidence, they didn’t believe me. They said that I seemed very confident, and I think I laughed at that. I’ve always been a second-guesser, someone who always worried that the decision made was the wrong one. I still overthink practically every decision I make, but I’m trying to take more leaps of faith in my choices. Perhaps it’s this attempt to dive headfirst into decisions that gives me that false air of confidence. Or maybe that attitude is slowly transforming me into a more confident person without me really realizing it.

It’s not that I don’t want to be confident. I want to be confident in who I am and what I’m doing more than anything else in the world. It’s just the struggle between wanting to be a certain way and actually being that way. Just as in everything else though, there has to be a desire for change before that change can actually happen. Like I’ve said before, I don’t really do the “New Years resolution” thing, but I am trying to make it a life goal to build my confidence. I’ve been taking the struggles I’ve worked through and am trying to turn them into something positive. The feedback I’ve gotten back on all of that has probably been the key factor in building whatever kind of confidence I do have at the moment.

I know now that I do have something worth offering and I want to do everything possible to try and share that more and more. I’ve got my life story and while parts of it are incredibly painful, learning to embrace all of the dark and ugliness is what makes it all so beautiful. Like I’ve told everybody I’ve encountered lately, if reliving even part of that pain needs to happen in order to help others through their struggles, it’s more than worth it. Perhaps the confidence will appear as an accompaniment to the peace I feel every time I know someone has been able to relate to my story.

Niederrad, Germany- October 2014
Niederrad, Germany- October 2014

listening to: Damien Rice, Bastille

Finding Balance

Life is strange. It’s beautiful in the strangeness, but it’s got an edge of danger. There’s this quote I read not too long ago about being on the edge of life instead of in the middle of it, because watching the chaos is better than being the center of that chaos. I like the visual that creates. It’s like this wild dance- if you’re in the center, you’ll be completely consumed, but if you’re too close to the edge, you fly out into nothingness. There’s a fine balance that exists, and I often find that balance difficult to achieve.

I got asked the other day if I believed in myself. Not just on a surface level, but at the true root of my being. The entire conversation was very emotionally charged to begin with, and despite responding with a “yes”, I don’t think I was very convincing. It’s funny, really. I’ve realized that I unintentionally come off as pretty confident to people I don’t know very well, but I think it’s a shell personality. It’s a way to protect the insecurity that I’ve always dealt with but haven’t been comfortable enough to let others see until recently.

I think it’s really difficult to transition from a personal outlook of insecurity to one of actually believing in yourself. It’s not as if I haven’t had supportive friends and family. I have. But I also had expectations that were astronomically high. Some of my most vivid memories from my past are ones where I just knew I let somebody down. My depression took that even further. I transitioned from somebody who had all sorts of potential to somebody who could barely function enough to do daily tasks like change clothes and eat. I suppose part of this disbelief in myself stems from a fear that I’ll be too overwhelmed with the business of this new life I’m leading and the thin pane of success I’m treading on will completely shatter. Of course, I know part of the issue is the living in the past that I’ve written about before, but I do know that I need to occasionally step back and look objectively at my actions and life to make sure I’m not unintentionally headed back down a road leading to depression.

I want to believe in myself. I want that surface confidence that I supposedly have to permeate through those layers and show up in the deeper parts of my life. Intellectually, I know I have some things about me that I can be proud of, but it’s truly believing it that is the hard part. It occurs to me that writing and exposing those insecure and vulnerable moments is a practice in being confident, which I believe is one reason why I do write about those topics so often. Perhaps with enough of that, the confidence will slowly start to become a secure part of my personality instead of just a surface decoration.

Niederrad, Germany- October 2014
Niederrad, Germany- October 2014

listening to Damien Rice