Confidence is a misunderstood beast.
I was watching a children’s show with my daughter the other day and I’ll admit to being disgusted at what I saw.
The moral of the story began to evolve when an unnecessarily humble little boy (in all honesty the sort who will later be walked on in life) began to dabble with a “bad guy.”
He started to say things like, “I know, I am pretty good at that” and, “I can do this well.”
Appalled, I told my daughter that there’s a difference between egotistical arrogance and confidence.
Yet we as adults often confuse these two.
Often, in seeking confidence or to at least appear confident, we instead collect habits of ego. However, in my personal experience, an abundance of ego ironically stems from a lack of confidence, whereas true confidence affords us the self-certainty to remain humble.
For instance, it’s true that our aforementioned little boy didn’t necessarily need to respond, “Yep, I am great,” when he could have simply stated, “Thank you.”
That said, let’s also not confuse the difference between kindness and insecurity.
Sometimes being kind means that we’re also kind to ourselves.
We treat others with respect but, likewise, we demand it for our own selves in return.
A friend of mine was horribly hurt by harmful words recently. It’s something that’s been plaguing me these last few days.
Another friend of hers gently told her that if she had more confidence, this cruel verbal slight would have had less effect.
Perhaps this is true, but, alternately, words have consequences and a well-honed dagger of the tongue can be far more vicious than any sharpened sword made of mere metal.
But how do we have the belief in ourselves to stand up to a cruel world? How do we honor who we are enough to honor those around us?
I know that I had an unexpected round of self-doubt early on in this pregnancy that I’m currently, and happily, experiencing.
My little baby bump rounded outwardly fairly early, when all of the websites say it’s gas, which is so attractive. But I knew that it was my growing uterus and not what I’d eaten for dinner and, anyways, just because it’s in print doesn’t make it an authentic authority.
Regardless, I had to check back in with myself—with who I know I am, inside and out, and with what I know are my strengths as well as my weaknesses.
So I spent time in nature, taking walks and communing with a world that’s much larger than “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
I unrolled my yoga mat and I moved and breathed and let sweat drip from my body and onto the firm, purple rubber.
I talked with those I love around my nicked, antique dining table over food that nourished my expanding figure and, more importantly at the time, my heart.
And I accepted that I was not perfect.
I acknowledged that my butt was, indeed, a little larger than before and that, just maybe, I hadn’t needed to eat ice cream before bed, but I accepted, too, that I don’t want to be perfect.
I once got straight A’s in challenging college classes. I ran 13 miles a day (yes, seven days a week). I turned down ice cream before bed. I’ve tried to be perfect—and I was miserable.
And so I shared with my aching friend that it’s okay to be hurt by another’s bayonet-like words.
It’s alright to spend an hour crying in a dark bedroom.
In short, it’s perfectly fine to not always react the way that we think we should.
But I also told her this.
We get up from the cold, dark bedroom and we open the door, with the sunlight squarely hitting our faces, and we recognize that because someone tells us something, this doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t have to be our truth.
And how do we have the belief in ourselves to stand up to a cruel world? How do we honor who we are enough to honor those around us?
We realize that sometimes life means getting smacked in the face and that it’s okay not to like it.
We understand that just as we have been hurt we have, sadly, hurt others.
We seek to accept who we are in full and what life is in actuality rather than idealistically, and then we go from there.
Maybe we take a deeper look at something that was said, either owning where a painful truth lies hidden or throwing it away as the trash that it is.
But, whether we move forward in attempt for desirable change or we trek down our solid road of enduring tenacity, we remember that there’s nothing wrong with knowing that we are good, worthwhile and capable—and, also, that, on occasion, our confidences can be bold enough to remain our own silent secrets.
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Editor: Travis May