Confidence. Self-confidence. A very sensitive, challenging, and incredibly interesting topic of self discovery…
What makes someone confident? Look, act, but first and foremost, truly FEEL confident. Deep inside. Solid, as a rock. Beautiful and unique as each and every seashell on the shore.
What makes you believe in yourself? Believe that you are worth it? That you are good enough? That you are doing it right? Despite comments, despite pressure, despite “good practices”, despite trying to do everything at your best, sometimes consuming every single bit of your energy and at the end not even finding the so-wanted, liberating. Relief. Acknowledgment. Appraisal. Merit. Love. You name it.
When you don’t have to prove yourself over and over again. When you don’t have to live up to expectations. Expectations of your family. Your boss. Your colleagues. Your friends. Your partner. Your kids. Whoever. Or even go further, the most challenging: yourself. When you can lift that incredible load off your shoulders and finally relax.
When I found and read this quote, I could immediately relate to it and feel it had a deep message to convey. A message to me, and probably to so many of you.
I see so many people struggling with a lack of self-confidence day by day in my surroundings. I see that deep inside so many are unsure if they are doing the right thing. So many are unsure if they are valuable. So many live in a constant competition and race trying to show that they are better than… or just simply, good enough… For others. For themselves.
Some dare to talk about it, dare to acknowledge it. But most like to pretend or believe it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t affect them. Some look really confident. Some act really confident. And some of them deep inside absolutely are not confident. Sometimes, seldom, often, always.
Some fear of it. That someone one day will discover this little secret. Even worse, that one day when they look at themselves in the mirror, on an early morning or a late night, pure and natural, no mask, no make up, no cool sunglasses and no bright lipstick, no nicely shaved face, trimmed moustache or beard, that they themselves will have to confront their reflection in the mirror who doesn’t at all look like the confident person they imagined, wished to see or pretended to be…
I also struggled and struggle with this. Some time ago I would never want to admit it. Never even realised it. Now I notice it not only on myself, but much more intensively on others, too. Now I got to the point to be able to talk about it and reflect on it. It is often not easy, still, after so much reflection and so many questions - why… Yes, perceptions…
So what does one do to feel more confident? Usually seek something external that will give you self reassurance that you are good. That will boost your confidence. That will make you feel like an expert.
You can excel at work, strive to be the employee of the month or the year, work really hard, help out others and even do the job instead of others, often after-hours, to receive a wholehearted thank you, a raise in your salary, an honour, an appraisal in front of the others, or sometimes just a teeny-weeny acknowledgment, or not even, but at least you feel you save the world and do the right thing sending out that 200th email in the evening between your dinner and bath.
You can study hard. Even harder. Get good grades. Straight As. Pass exams. Never fail. Be the good girl/good boy of mummy and daddy. Be a top sportsman or sportswoman. Flex all your muscles 100% after a tough workout. Have that 6pack. Make the strictest diet to fit in that dress. Buy all that branded clothes that will make you believe you are someone. Cook incredible meals, clean the house and think you are the perfect wife. Obey and follow all the advice someone important in your life gives you despite you totally disagree, just because you think he/she knows better as you don’t have the courage to trust yourself. Especially when you happen to be a new mum. Trust a “friend” because he/she should definitely know better, at least he/she makes you believe that’s the perfect way.
And at the end of the day, when you happen to allow yourself a moment of sincerity and deeper reflection, you might find yourself stripped down, naked, nowhere to hide, in front of yourself and your search for your self-confidence. Looking in your own eyes. In front of that scary mirror.
Have you ever had that confidence? When is the last time you remember you had it? Where and why was it lost on the way? What and who made you loose yourself on the way? How can you get it back? Does it come at all ab ovo? How will a little baby develop self confidence and how can you assist and encourage a healthy, confident attitude so this person can strive without fears in the future?
Seeking outside is great. It does provide a lot of self-confidence, no doubt. A nice dress, being expert on a topic, an environment where you know people, being a champion, being famous, having money, a fancy car, a full make up, yes, these can all boost self-confidence.
I tried some of them, they all seemed to work perfectly till a certain moment… But at the end of the day, when it is the mirror and you, these are all gone. And you just stand alone, with everything that is within. And lucky are those who found that within. And lucky are those who are willing to search for it. It is there. Maybe deep, deep inside, but it is there. And it feels so much stronger once you even grasp a tiny little piece of it. Go find it! You are not alone. :)
“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all of the time.” - Anna Freud
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