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.
I 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.
Sometimes, 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.