Pandora’s Box

Where does a person find “confidence”? Is it something we learn to have (or not have) throughout our childhood? Is it something with which some people are born? What is it that makes one person able to stand at the top of a mountain and shout out: “Hey world! Look over here. It’s me! I’m fantastic!!”, while another person can hardly manage to whisper her good qualities out loud in the privacy of her own room.

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot this evening. I had my piano lesson today, and my teacher told me I am making wonderful progress. In particular, there was a piece I had worked hard at over the past couple of weeks, and he told me I played it beautifully. He said the main thing I needed to work on was having more confidence when playing. When I came home, my husband asked how the lesson went, and I told him what my teacher said — you know, that thing about confidence. My husband shook his head sadly and said I needed more confidence in most aspects of my life, not just in playing the piano.

piano keyboardI wish I could disagree, but I can’t. My husband knows me better than anyone, and he still loves me. This means I have to respect his opinion, and I have to be brave enough to admit when he is right. In this instance, he is absolutely right. I do not have confidence. I have a habit of going on the defensive, even when it’s not necessary. I tend to apologize for things I’ve done wrong before they even happen. I feel flustered and overly upset when I make a mistake. The same things I would excuse or overlook for another person become akin to capital offenses when I do them. I don’t believe in myself. I never have.

Where do you guys find confidence? What gives you the courage to send your words or art or thoughts or dreams out there, into the world? What makes you able to stand on top of that mountain and holler, “Hey world! Over here! Look at me, because I’m awesome!”

I don’t want to be obnoxious. I don’t want to be the center of attention — not even for the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame to which all of us are supposed to be entitled. I just want to like myself. I just want to believe in myself. I just want to see myself for the funny, goofy, slightly off-kilter (but in a good way), creative, nice, loving, beloved person I am. I know that person is in here, somewhere. It’s just that, when I look in the mirror, I can’t see her through the doubts and the criticisms and the self-hate.

two-colored roseSometimes, I imagine Pandora, standing there holding her empty box. And, as she looks down into it, she finds not only Hope left over, but Confidence, too. Maybe, if ask nicely, she’ll save a little bit of that for me.




17 thoughts on “Pandora’s Box

  1. You are good enough for anything. By telling yourself you’re not confident, you’re just starting at a low point. Tell yourself you’re a confident person and follow your words. Before you stand on the mountain you have to start on a hill. Build confidence with small victories. Experience gains confidence

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, and for the comment. πŸ™‚ I appreciate both very much. I agree with your comment, although, for many reasons, it is a hard thing for me to do. BUT — I am working on it. I think it takes time and more effort for some of us than for others. Definitely better to find some hills to conquer before trying to scramble up rocky mountainsides! πŸ˜€

      Thanks again!

  2. Artists especially seem to really struggle with confidence. I know I have my days when I feel like a total failure but on good days I just hold tight to the fact that I am here, flaws and all, for a reason. We all have a purpose and certain gifts to help us fulfill that purpose and that’s why we can’t give up. Even when we don’t feel special, the truth is the world needs our gifts!

    • Yeah, I think confidence can be a hard thing for artists and creative folks, in general. Maybe it’s because we feel like we are putting so much of ourselves out there in the world. It’s scary to think of people judging our work, because it can be hard to separate from it — although I know that’s a “necessary evil”. It’s hard to find the balance between being connected enough to create and separate enough to send those creations out there, even if it’s just on a blog or a personal website.

      I really loved what you said about all of us being here for a reason. That was beautiful, and I’m going to try to keep that in mind. Perhaps it’ll help in building my confidence up on those hard days. The past week has been kind of difficult, overall. But I’m sure things will be looking up soon. πŸ™‚

  3. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award because of your up and coming blog. πŸ™‚ I really enjoy what you have written. I have posted 10 questions on my blog that you must answer to receive your award. There are also these requirements as well:
    Here are the rules for accepting the nomination:

    You must link back to the person who nominated you

    You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you

    You must pick 10 bloggers who have less than 200 followers to be nominated for the award

    You must devise 10 questions for your nominees to answer

    You must go to their blogs to nominate them

    • Hi! Thanks so much for thinking of me in connection with the Liebster Award. It is sweet of you, and I appreciate it very much. I am happy you enjoyed my blog enough to nominate it. I was lucky enough to receive this award several months ago, too, and I think it’s one of nicest ones out there.

      Over the past few months, I had to come to the very difficult realization that I can’t continue to pass along awards. Between keeping up with my daughter’s schedule and trying to sneak in time for writing, I’ve had difficulty sticking to a steady blogging schedule, and awards posts — no matter how much I love them — take me forever to put together. This was a hard decision, because I love the whole awards thing, in general. I think it’s such a fun activity and a great way to meet and connect with other bloggers. But, there’s just not enough time in the day for everything I want to do. 😦

      I’m sorry I won’t be able to pass your award along, but I wanted to let you know, in case you might like to find another blogger who will be able to participate. Again, thank you for offering me the chance to participate. And thank you for visiting my blog. πŸ™‚

  4. Having suffered from depression, I sadly know the feeling. Start with the small wins like accepting all the wonderful compliments given to you. You are an awesome writer and were it not true we would not follow you. Accept these compliments and know that if we believe it, allow yourself to believe it. That takes time and practice. Hugs!

    • Yes! Depression is insidious and hard. “Hard” being the understatement of the century. I had problems with self-esteem and confidence way before I was ever diagnosed with depression. But I think it got worse over those years I lost to the darkness. I’m trying to learn a new way of being … But you are right: it takes time and practice. Thank you, my friend. πŸ™‚

  5. Sometimes I mistake “I don’t care what you think about me!” for confidence. They are really in no way related. I’d say confidence comes from recognising what you like, what you are good at doing and enjoy doing those things. You could dress a certain way and feel more confident but I don’t think that lasts very long. I think lasting confidence comes from loving yourself- all of you; accepting what you’d like to change and working on them diligently and patiently. Confidence flows from smiling and saying “This is me- meet me or leave, don’t try to change me” and meaning it.

    • Thank you very much for your wise and beautiful comment. I agree that true confidence comes from these things, and that it’s very different from the “I don’t care what you think” sort of attitude that we see so often these days.

      • No prob πŸ™‚ Hope you gain a bit more confidence daily. You’ll see the change soon. Just don’t beat yourself up about it- keep working on it. Take care

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