Can I tell you how much this word irks me? Confidence. It's followed me around, brutally punishing me for years.
How many sensitive people in this world have heard this?
"Just be more confident."
Great. Thanks for the advise. I never thought of it.
If I could be more confident, if I could put my paralysis into a box and only take it out when useful or convenient to share my vulnerability in a timing appropriate, nice way -- I would. But it's not that easy. Confidence is an obscure and elusive thing. It comes and goes at the oddest times. When you're at the grocery store checkout, talking to the bus driver, or with your neighbor you can be refreshingly charming, honest and authentically yourself. When you're at a meeting, in a class room, or at a black tie event, confidence escapes you. You stand next to the waiter carrying the prawn thingies that no one likes, but even he gets more attention than you do. Because you hide yourself, despite everything inside of you saying I'm here. See me. Hear me. I am more than this.
But guess what? There is a shift. People are rethinking this confidence thing. Sure sure, it would be great to bathe in a sea of self love and emerge from it like a hairless mermaid, and for those who do - Bravo. You're impressive.
But for those who don't, take solace. For, what is better than confidence? Courage. The courage to stand with yourself when every ounce of you wants to crumble. The courage to strike up that conversation with the waiter, or the dude in the tie, or the chick with the mohawk, even though you're not feeling particularly sure of yourself. The courage to go to that interview, that audition, or that date. The courage to laugh at yourself, at the world, at this very moment.
Courage is what confidence is not -- action. It pushes you to take a step into becoming the person you know you are underneath all the neurotic chatter. While confidence says, 'Yeah, I got this', courage says, "I don't know how to do this, but something inside of me does." Courage is compassionate towards the parts of ourselves that feel crippled. It takes into consideration the bullies, the pitfalls, the broken dreams, the skinned knees and the bruised hearts. Courage kisses those hurt parts of ourselves and tells us to get back up. Courage tells us that it's ok to be scared, and to try again.