Confidence

I’ve been writing a lot of “Quest” blog posts recently, so I thought I’d change it up a little bit this week and chat about something that’s been much on my mind.

Confidence.

One of the things that’s surprised me a little about this past year has been the recognition of just how fragile confidence can be, and how easily it can slip through our fingers.

Confidence is vital on so many levels – physical, mental, emotional. In my case, a good deal of my life changed in a very short amount of time. I knew it would be difficult to find my way again, but I didn’t realize how much the sudden changes would impact my confidence regarding my dreams and hopes for the future.

I’m not talking about my writing per se. I’m pretty confident about the writing itself. But writing—putting words down on paper or a computer screen—is only one part of my goal. The real goal is to live a life that is authentic, and for me, that happens to mean telling stories and getting them out into the world.

I think that for all creative pursuits (not just in the arts, but in business, teaching, everything), the first step, the most important step, is believing you can do it. More, believing that you SHOULD do it and that you have the right to do it. That this creative pursuit is just as valid as working at a regular job.

Not to say that there’s anything wrong with working at a regular job—far from it! We need to survive and support ourselves. But the creative pursuit has to have as much weight in our minds as the regular job does. The regular job is not better because it is the standard, the creative job is not lesser simply because it comes from inside ourselves.

And that’s where I’ve been having trouble with confidence, I think.

To live creatively and uniquely, you have to be able to see the goal, you have to be able to feel it, and you have to know that you can and should move towards it. I’ll be telling stories until I die – I started before kindergarten and I’m not going to stop now. But if I lose my confidence, I won’t take them any further than putting words down on the computer screen. I won’t reach my full potential.

We who are pursuing a goal that is slightly out of the ordinary, have to create the vision of that goal and believe in it.  I not only have to chisel a rock to unleash a finished story, I have to create the rock in the first place.  And I have to move towards the potential I see regardless of what anybody else says.  At that stage, nobody else can see it anyway—it comes from inside me. I birth it. Then I mold it.

That all requires confidence. Confidence that you CAN birth it. Confidence that you CAN mold it. Confidence that you CAN dream it. Confidence that, regardless of whether or not the end products will be considered “good,” they are worth pursuing.

This year has been difficult, and that’s shaken me. My body works differently now (the steel plates in my leg are great weather forecasters and sometimes standing is interesting). My finances are different. My responsibilities are different. My life is different.

But the goal is still there. And the question is—can I find the confidence I need to reach for it in the middle of a shifting world? Or will I let doubt push me down?

And isn’t that the true test for all of us? Aren’t we all asked to have the confidence to become more than what we already are?

Falling back into the routine, shutting off the creative parts of ourselves, is easy. So we have to find the confidence to do the thing we feel like we were born to do, even when life smacks us around a bit.

So now I’m like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music singing my way to where I need to be and trying not to run back to the safety of the convent.  I’ve been a little stuck, but now that I realize it’s a confidence issue, I know what I need to do. I need to pick up my guitar and my garment bag and skip down the sidewalk.

“I have confidence in sunshine…I have confidence in rain…I have confidence that spring will come again, besides which you see I have confidence in me…”

Come on! Let’s go!

*skips away*

 

 

Comments

  1. I have often wondered about the relationship between confidence and depression. I know from being low thyroid, it’s very hard to have confidence sometimes and it seems to tie in with your physiology which effects your mental out look which effects your confidence. It’s hard to have one without the other.

    • Betsy Horvath says:

      @Athena: I’ll say that it’s definitely connected for me. If I’m in a more precarious state of mind for whatever reason, I can’t have the confidence I need to move forward. You’re right – it’s all connected.

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