Confidence is a fascinating thing. One cannot buy it, nor can it be given. Confidence comes from the wisdom of living life. The building of my self-reliance has been both exciting and excruciating. The more self-assurance I gain, the more aware I am of the actions, thoughts, and situations that create self-doubt, which is the anti confidence. Awareness, although heavy, has helped keep me in check and influenced my overall decision-making process. Building confidence is like building callouses; it takes doing the hard and heavy over and over again.
For me, faith and confidence go hand and hand. My basic summary of faith is the practice of surrendering and knowing that everything that is happening is for my greatest and highest good, without exception. Faith is not without hardship; alternatively, it does not require suffering. At the same time, this level of devotion does require action and intention; without the two, faith becomes wishful thinking. Most of all, faith exists outside of all attachments, requiring each person to believe in something greater than ourselves. This form of inner fortitude takes internal resilience and a pledge to listen to one’s inner voice even when it is difficult. My practice in faith is a critical factor in developing my confidence.
Most of my life, I embodied some level of self-doubt often in the form of inadequacies. It wasn’t until very recently that I was able to believe and understand that I, Danell, am enough. I am smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough, loving enough- I am enough, point-blank. When I operate from a place of adequacy, I don’t have to prove to others that my voice matters, I should be seen, or that I have value. Knowing that I am enough means that I can no longer participate in actions that support a need to be valued by others. Understanding that I am whole comes with the added value of checking my ego at the door. I have emotions just like the next person, but I understand the price of my actions when I chose to react from an emotional place. When I feel like I am lacking, I have to do the hard work of understanding what is going on with me so, others in my life do not become collateral damage in my process.
I have always understood that a lack of boundaries disrupts self- esteem and trust. But, I never imaged that I would participate in such actions. Instead, I would have considered myself to have firm boundaries and a good sense of my limitations. Yet, I was blinded by my weaknesses and fear. The more walls I erected, the more my belief in myself eroded. My enmeshed relationship with fear created a breeding ground for self-doubt; fear caused me to make choices that were not genuine to me.
Living in fear is the ultimate killer of self-confidence and self-esteem because when I do not feel safe, I cannot trust, nor can I participate in tasks that built self-assurance. Stubbornness (which is overused perseverance) will give way to a web of lies that can take a lifetime to untangle. Depending only on myself did not make me feel better about who I was, but instead, it fed my fear, which battered my already fragile efficacy and robbed me of my joy.
For many years, my relationship with fear was my most potent and most intimate relationship. Fear has no place in a relationship because there is not enough room for fear and love to coexist; they are both all-consuming and in direct opposition to one another. Fear tells us to do whatever needs to be done to keep a relationship; often operating from a place scarcity. Love urges us to practice truthfulness, to let go when it is time, to create space, and to ask before taking. Fear in relationships creates disparities and desperation, while love creates abundance and openness. With fear at the wheel, confidence has no choice but to take a back seat.
Confidence was the first gift I received from year 35. For me, the hallmark of this gift is a deep conviction in self, knowing that I am well, whole, and complete. Before, I reckless devoured lies about my worth, value, and aptitude. I held a distorted view of who I was and what I was capable of achieving. Self-assurance has given me an accurate perception of me, and as with all transformations, altered the way I see the world.
I embrace my flawless sense of self, knowing I have flaws, but I am not flawed. I have come to understand that just because I can does not mean I should. I believe, “to whom much is given, much is required,” and sometimes what is “required” is an act of restraint. Self-confidence has liberated me from needing external validation and acceptance. There is something magical and sobering about releasing fear and embracing faith. Faith gives life to confidence.