Posts Tagged ‘a purpose to our suffering’

Self-Confidence: Trusting Ourselves Enough to Try

November 25, 2014

Over the course of my college reunion, my classmates and I swapped a variety of stories about our ongoing challenges, setbacks, and successes and what lessons we drew from these experiences. One conclusion all agreed upon was that having self-confidence is the primary, determinant factor in how our lives proceed. Believing in oneself makes all the difference in the choices we make and how we go about fulfilling the roles we play.


As I see it, the existence of a deeply held conviction that 1) our life is of value (even if we sometimes have trouble seeing what that value is), 2) that we have worthwhile contributions to make, and 3) that we merit success, serves as the energetic core of our instinct to find meaning and gratification in our lives. Do you realize how many people spend their days without ever thinking about, let alone pursuing such goals? Do you know people who have preferred to shut down rather than acknowledge and grapple with such intimidating ideas? It’s heartbreaking to witness. Let’s face it, re-booting is an existential struggle. A fight this big and this hard would not be assumed if we didn’t believe we were worth it. Otherwise, why bother burdening ourselves with inconvenient, deeply uncomfortable questions such as Am I doing what fulfills me? Is there are constructive purpose to my suffering? How might I take these lessons and become a better person? You don’t ask these questions without a foundation of self-belief.


So, back to confidence…


Who is someone whose faith in him or herself you admire? How do they think about themselves that differs from you? Is there a way you might copy them to bolster your own sense of self-assurance?


I pose these enquiries somewhat timidly because, on one hand, so much of my current, awkward circumstances makes me question my understanding of myself and my worth and yet, it is my fierce self-confidence and determination to overcome such trials that enables me to move forward. I refuse to concede defeat. So, here I am, stumbling around in the fog, chasing patches of sunshine wherever they appear.


As we all know, confidence has both internal and external components. On occasion, people comment on my confident disposition (which generally takes me by surprise, but I know what they’re responding to). When you think about it, isn’t confidence the first thing that catches your attention and draws you to someone? It is for me. I’m always attracted to those who radiate a calm self-possession; I find it reassuring. Having confidence about themselves invites me in.


I know it can feel hard to believe in yourself when you feel overwhelmed by events, seriously doubting if the choices you made were good ones. Such doubts can torment us, made worse by our wavering belief as to whether we can even manage to get through the day, let alone thrive in a future we cannot envision. But what I am here to suggest is that these struggles make you stronger; they won’t break you—you won’t let them. The motivation that propels you to get up in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other, to do what you need to do, the courage of the every day. These are not small things. All of these undertakings are acts of will, and acts of will spring out from a baseline faith in yourself. (Otherwise, you wouldn’t bother.) Faith means hope. You have hope.


So, you. Yeah, you there, you the re-booter. You have hope! You are kicking with all your strength to make your way to the Promised Land. You have the courage and the confidence to try. My friends would be impressed.


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