Sorry to burst your bubble, but I think it’s about time we humans finally understood and let go of the belief that a great-looking body, designer clothes, a successful career, lots of money in the bank, and a knockout partner are what make us feel confident. If that stuff really worked there would no insecure people in the world.
But the world is full of insecure people – and it’s the reason why there are over sixty thousand books on Amazon.com about how to be more confident. It’s why so many of us continue to work really hard at making sure we look good; it’s why we put pressure on ourselves to make more money. It’s why we keep searching for the perfect relationship.
We believe that the promise of confidence will be on the other side. But it never is.
There have been times in my life when I’ve had a great-looking body, got the advanced degree, and the great guy, only to find myself worrying about what happens if I get fat, screw-up in my job, or the guy dumps me for someone else?
And therein lies the problem of believing confidence comes from these external things - it’s like building a house on quicksand. A change of circumstance can wipe out our confidence in a moment if it is based on these things.
So what is real confidence and how can we make sure it’s based on something sturdier and more deep-rooted?
My own ability to feel confident comes from seeing that I’ve always had confidence despite my years of living with insecurity. There were moments in my life where I felt fully expressed and uninhibited – where I did feel comfortable in my own skin. And for those brief moments, I would catch a glimpse of my uniqueness – the essence of this person called Linda who felt free to be herself no matter what was going on or how other people perceived me. It was like coming up for air and taking a breath. But then I would, once again, get lost in a sea of insecure thoughts.
What is this essence?
Have you ever seen a couple where one of them is clearly not as attractive as the other? Maybe one of them is overweight? And you wonder why they’re together? I used to think that about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. As much as Ms. Woodward was attractive when they first married, in my mind she wasn’t as much as a knockout as Paul Newman. I used to think: why did he choose her when he could have had anyone? The metrics just didn’t add up.
The reason the metrics didn’t add up was that Paul’s attraction for Joanne wasn’t really all about her physical attractiveness – it was because he loved her essence. There was something about the way she carried herself, the way she showed up, her outlook on life, her energy – it was her essence that was so attractive.
What if you (all of us) just decided to abandon our dependency on all the external stuff as a gateway to confidence? What if we gave up the struggle? Nothing wrong with enjoying the world of clothes, beautiful bodies, and money. But imagine if we pursued those things without the graspy thought: this will make me feel more confident?
Trust that your essence – who you really are – the thing that makes you uniquely you - is the most powerful, sturdier, and deep-rooted way to connect to a confidence that's been there all along waiting for you to claim.