“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along’.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Confidence. Where does it come from? Like most things, I don’t think there’s one answer to this question but I do have a few thoughts and the first one is that confidence comes with experience. It’s natural that when we’re new to something that we might feel insecure, uncertain of ourselves, and that each time we do that thing – whatever it is – we’ll become more confident. But that’s only one component.
Confidence can be specific, or general. You might feel confident in some areas of your life, with certain tasks, and feel self-doubt in other areas. But I’m not convinced that confidence means we never experience self-doubt, or uncertainty. Or that confidence means always succeeding. In fact, it seems possible that confidence has more to do with being willing to take risks and being brave than anything else.
When I reflect on my own sense of confidence, it seems to come from an understanding that I’m willing to try, regardless of the outcome and that my willingness means more than success.
My confidence seems to be directly connected to my courage, or rather, that I am confident because I have been brave and I take that bravery with me into every task, whether it’s the first or hundredth time I’ve done it. Confidence is a grounded sense of one’s Self. Not just that you can do something but that you can face a challenge, whatever it may be, and call on the courage you have already shown.
“As far as self-confidence goes, so much of social media is about approval, getting likes, comparing our lives to others’ – meanwhile, confidence is an inside job: it’s about how you feel about yourself regardless of what anyone else does or thinks. It’s a knowing that you’re human, you’re flawed, and you’re awesome in your own way.”
– Jen Sincero
I love this line: “confidence is an inside job.” This doesn’t mean that we don’t all benefit from acknowledgment at times. It is a gift when we can hold a mirror up for each other to remind us of what we are capable of. But it does mean that confidence can’t come from outside us. After all, you can be told a thousand times that you are a magnificent, beautiful human being and still not believe it.
So go do the things that scare you, and do the things that you already do, but please do all of these things knowing that YOU’VE GOT THIS. Whatever it is, no matter the outcome. Remember that just like being brave doesn’t mean you are not afraid (in fact, it is not bravery if there is no fear), being confident doesn’t mean you don’t experience self-doubt. Know that you’ve got your own back and that I, for one, am rooting for you.