Confidence is key.
At least, that’s what they say. And let’s be honest: how much of what “they” say should we really hold on to?
I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because of the standards set upon them. You should be good at this because you studied this. You should this, you should that. I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because there’s this misconception that being confident means you’ll succeed.
As someone who is thoroughly confident, I know this is not the truth. To be confident does not mean you will succeed, it means you have the ability to accept where you fall short. It means you don’t avoid the hole by risking your life and leaping over it, it means you fall into the hole and manage to climb your way out.
Some people call that resilience, but you can be resilient and stand strong while continuously getting beat into the ground without a chance to get back up. And without the chance to get back up, you start believing you won’t ever get back up. And that doesn’t sound like confidence to me.
To be confident means you know it’s okay to feel bad. To be confident means you know that the struggle is not the end, but a process to birth an outcome. To be confident means you know that outcome, whatever it may be, is just that: an outcome. And once that outcome passes, there will be another chance, in whatever way it presents itself, for you to create a new outcome.
To be confident means you don’t always smile. It means you accept what emotions come when they may, whether they be “appropriate” or not. To be confident means the words placed on your social media meant to provoke you into a rage doesn’t dent your pride, but elicits a laugh because words on a computer screen are like salt tablets thrown into the ocean.
To be confident doesn’t mean you’re strong, and it doesn’t mean you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. Being confident is the act of allowing weakness to simply exist.
To be confident isn’t to be smarter than the person beside you; confidence and arrogance are not synonymous, I’m sorry to say.
All of the above is the reason they say confidence is the key to success. When a wall is presented, those of us who are confident don’t slink in defeat and we don’t majestically leap over the wall with no effort. We stare at the wall and acknowledge it. We say, “okay, this wall is new; let’s see where this takes me”. Then we walk along the wall and feel the wall and see the wall and never ignore it. We let the wall think it controls our fate and we understand that by giving up the power of perfection and standards and the illusion that we can simply climb up the wall without understanding why the wall exists in the first place, we gain even greater power of our outcome.
You don’t need multiple successes for confidence: take it from someone who, in many people’s eyes, including my own, has failed over and over and over and over and over again. And those failures are what keep me going. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be nearly as confident. I would be terrified that one day, at some point in time, my successes or my achievements or my standards would be ripped away in an instant. I would smile all the time so people couldn’t see my terror.
With that, I shall leave you with another excerpt entitled “Prayer For Keeping On”.
Let us find a way to keep it moving, to keep it alive and free, where it wants to be. Let us walk all the way through doubt consistently, to believe in what we have found in our beginnings. Let us know what is real, and let us pass it back and forth between our hands until we are gone from this earth, and even then, let us remain in this spirit, please.
From “Sam Woods, American Healing”.