Thoughts on Confidence

Firstly, my apologies for the late delivery of this morning’s blog.  I’ve been struggling a bit, both with inspiration and the ‘C’ word you’ll find in this blog’s title… not Cake, not even Christmas, unfortunately.  I’m writing about Confidence.  My not-so favourite word.

How can a person who wrote her one hundred thousandth word on her current Work-in-Progress yesterday be struggling with confidence?  Surely confidence is abundant, oozing out of her very pores?  You’d think so, of course.  Not the case, though.  It’s easy to think you’ve got confidence when you’re sitting behind a computer screen for 8 hours a day, arguing with nobody more intelligent than yourself, but then you remember that you’re about to enter a writing competition, or you have to make a telephone call to a stranger, or you have to deal with a nasty person in ‘real’ life, and the facade crumbles.   The confidence cracks off, and the real you – shy, a little awkward among new people, not quite sure that she’s got the right end of the stick most of the time – staggers, blinking, into the harsh light of day.  I don’t know about you, but there’s very little that makes me feel more vulnerable, and less confident, than suddenly feeling like you’re out on a limb.

I’m not a naturally confident person.  I’ve always been shy around people I don’t know, even though I’d like to think I’m friendly, too.  I tend to knock myself and my own ability a lot.  I’m not sure where this behaviour comes from, but I know it’s there.  Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to the quiet, solitary side of writing – the bit where it’s just you and the keyboard against the world.  The rest of it is scary.  I guess this is becoming real to me because I am – I actually am – going to deliver my entry to the writing competition tomorrow.  It may go nowhere, or it may lead to places I can only dream of.  Either way, I’m nervous, and I don’t feel capable of dealing with what’s facing me, right at this moment in time.

I’ve felt like this before, though.  The first day of every new job I’ve ever had; the first day of college; the first day of school.  I’ve been here before, and I’ve survived.  I do struggle with confidence – often, I’ve had to twist my own arm behind my back in order to force myself to get up there and give that paper, or teach that class, or deal with that customer, or whatever the case may be.  I know this time will be no different, and so I guess I’ll deal with it the way I always have – by faking it.  I know I can push myself to deal with the rejection without letting it crush me, and I can make myself keep on writing – it’s not easy, but with a bit of stern self-talking, I’ll get through it.  It’s not exactly confidence – it’s more an approximation of confidence, or perhaps a coating of bravado in the same shade as confidence – but if it works, it works.

So, brave bloggers.  What are your tricks for bluffing your way out of scary situations, or pretending you’re not terrified when, in fact, you are?  In short, how do you create your confidence?

Happy Wednesday, all.

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Confidence

  1. Jenn

    One thing i learnt, everyone is really only interested in their own take on life. Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a wonderful book, The Four Agreements… Do your best, Be impeccable with your word, Dont take anything personally (everyone has their own story and judges etc based on their life views and whatever they say has nothing to do with you personally – only them) and Don’t make assumptions, this helped me immensely. I’ve watched people when I’ve had to present. Few really listen, some just do to find fault and the rare person is actually interested in what you have to say. I’ve seen people who appear to be confident actually shaking -they just hide it well. Best advice ? Be you .. You are no worse and probably a lot better than others. And you know your subject .. Oh and dont forget to breathe 🙂

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Some of the wisest words I’ve ever read… thank you for sharing! I wish I’d known all this when I used to lecture and tutor for a living – they would have been most helpful. 🙂

  2. Rand Howard

    My inspiration for confidence comes from my 6 year old grand-daughter, that little girl has the heart of a lion. In public, on the playground, or in defense of herself; she seems always in complete control. We all are not sure where she gets it but it has always been there and I guess you would call it confidence or courage. I hope she never looses it .

    The rest of us mortals have to , as you said, fake it when life presents us with moments we would just as soon avoid. Thinking back over a life of hard knocks and how I made it through, I not sure there was any one technique but rather I learned to adapt to any given situation. I guess it is part of the natural, fight or flight, mechanisms for survival that most of us have. When it comes to achievements, I have always looked at the goal and if I want to get there this is what I have to do and believe I can do it. So, I guess, believe in yourself is the foundation of confidence.

  3. Pingback: Confidence. « camgal

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