When you say something with enough confidence you can convince anybody. Confidence is fickle, it emerges like a flame only to be blown out by the slightest breeze. It’s very hard to sustain confidence over a period of time. It’s like running long-distance, you build your stamina as you go along keeping a steady speed and sprint only when you near the finish line. Confidence too requires some effort to keep and let out. There’s a thin line between being confident and overconfident. There’s an even thinner line between being modest and being severely underconfident.
My confidence took quite a beating when January came around this year and only plummeted all through February. Much like when I run, I run out of stamina very quickly. I sweat, pant and somehow bring myself to the finish line, but by the time I make it over the line, I am terribly exhausted. I did try to build my confidence, but rather than building a beautiful tower with a strong foundation, I built a lofty house of cards. It’s not particularly enjoyable. There have been more times than I can count when I never got my due simply because I didn’t ask for it. Even today I hesitate to do so. I let things slide over and over until there’s nothing left for me to give. Funnily enough, the only person who feels bad about it is me. I never learn.
I have seen some people get by on pure confidence, even if capabilities don’t really match up, that’s when I realised having confidence is vital to progress. Yes you have to be hardworking, nothing changes there. But you can’t really wait around for people to find you if you’re silent, you have to stand out and stand up for yourself. How can you convince anyone else when you can’t even convince yourself? I know I am not the only person who isn’t confident, you’ll find somebody like me on every curb, anywhere you look you’ll find someone from our tribe.
Confidence is not just about being able to articulate yourself or carry yourself with an impressive air of unabashedness. It’s about giving yourself that slight benefit of the doubt when you really need it. I choke up when I have to make conversation with someone new because I automatically think they won’t like me. That works against me because people then assume I am impolite and my favourite word ‘weird’. I don’t blame them. I haven’t really made much progress with confidence.
The reason why I slog even when I have time off and am constantly thinking I am not enough is that I am trying to bridge a gap within myself that only confidence can fill. That’s far more difficult to do because that void is so vast, nothing I do will ever be enough to fill it. But confidence can fill most voids, the what ifs and why mes. All this while I have been barking up the wrong tree and working like there’s no tomorrow. I used to take so many quizzes when I was younger and lonely, every day I’d sit at the computer testing myself with problem-solving questions, riddles and memory games. Whatever I could find to validate my intelligence and my capability. I was obsessed.
It made life bearable for a while. During these two months, I have been tempted to fall into the same traps. I am on a mission to satisfy the inner parent in me who is never happy with what I do. There’s no definition for being good enough, no formula at all. It’s good enough when you say it’s good enough and can defend it from every question and doubt. I remember a time when I’d confidently write the wrong answers in my Maths exams because I really didn’t know what else to do in that subject. It didn’t make sense. I was confident that the subject was messed up, not me. It would have shattered me otherwise. That confidence was enough to get me through each test and examination without failing.
When I began doing things I liked doing, that’s when I felt my confidence suddenly hiding, frightened behind my capability. That’s when I began to feel like I had to prove myself. Until then I was fine. The big girl problems were scarier and darker and my confidence couldn’t take the hit. Building it from scratch was tough and I had to do it over and over. Now when I am on a break I can think about it. I still struggle with it, when I write these blogs, I find myself back-tracking a hundred times before I publish them. I only feel confident once they’ve gone up. I write articles as a part of my job and every time I write one I always feel like it’s gibberish until I just hit submit. I go over things over and over even though at the back of my head I know it’s alright.
Every run doesn’t need to be a race. Of course, I am still getting a hang of my gap year. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing, now I have a vague idea of what it can be. I have never been so honest with myself. I am taking my own time to build this year day by day, I used to work on other people’s time, but now I am setting my own terms. I am making my own rules and I find I am a little more confident than yesterday. Instead of sharpening my skills I am now putting them to use. If it weren’t for the tiny bit of confidence I had, I’d never have set foot into any of my dreams.