Life is a process of growth and change. Little children and teens can often be observed trying on different behaviours and personalities as they seek to establish an identity. They determine what to keep by how well it suits them and by watching the reaction of peers and adults.
Adults do the same thing. Admit that you have mimicked a gesture, or practiced a certain lingo, or adopted a popular hair style or way of dressing.
The choices we make, and the reasons why, are as unique as our fingerprint. True confidence comes not from assuming the identity of another but from discovering and appreciating how we are similar to and different from others.
At a writers conference a woman remarked to me that she felt like a pebble among all of these boulders. To me she appeared as competent as any other person there. I wondered why she lacked confidence.
I presume that by boulders she referred to the agents, editors, and of course writers present. If I were to think about it, I was also one of those pebbles. But I considered myself to be made of the same stuff as the boulders.
Rather than be intimidated, I saw this as a grand opportunity to rub shoulders with the boulders, so to speak. I planned to draw out as many people as possible and leave with a wealth of information about the business of writing.
When do we need confidence? We need confidence when we are required to speak or to act.
Confidence is generally associated with performing before other people. When I became a waitress I lacked confidence. I could easily serve dinner to my parents and brothers and sisters, but waiting on people in a restaurant was different.
Confidence is also associated with an expectation. This is an expectation we have of ourselves, or that we perceive others have of us. In other words, there is pressure to perform in a certain way.
Confidence cam improve with practice and increased skill. Repeated success builds confidence.
We all know the feelings–the discomfort in the pit of our stomach, the anxiety, the sweaty palms, or just the embarrassment that is part of a lack of confidence.
Confidence is elusive, at best. Although no one can guarantee a road to confidence, there are certain paths we can choose that will result in greater confidence. I’m not talking about putting on airs or knowing the right body language. I’m talking about a deep sense of being familiar with life so as not to be knocked off balance by it. I think this is something we all want and it’s called confidence.