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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Confidence Confidentiality

It's WHO AM I WEDNESDAY, and this one will feature a diary entry written by myself.

(Seriously, who else could it be written by?)

And, well...this is going to be a personal one.  It's based on the subject of confidence, and how...well...frankly, I've had trouble with it.

August 6, 2014

I want you to picture a line being drawn across a piece of paper.  If you like, you can draw the line yourself as you read, but you don't have to if you don't want to.  I want you to look at the middle of the line.  The middle of that line happens to be the part of the line that has equal and balanced confidence.  It's probably the part of the line that most of us want to be on.

With me so far?

Then you have the two book ends of the line.  Two extremes.  On the right hand side, you have the edge of meekness.  This is the place in which you have zero confidence in anything you ever do, and where you don't feel comfortable showing any sort of leadership whatsoever.  You'd rather fade into the background than show any sort of confidence or passion whatsoever.

This is not a good place to be.

On the left hand side of the line is the edge of arrogance.  People who fall on this side of the confidence spectrum have too much confidence to the point where they become cocky, argumentative, and boorish.  They feel that their way is the only way and anyone else who thinks differently is not welcome to share any of their ideas because they will be ignored.

So, I guess it sort of goes like kind of want to stay towards the middle of the confidence spectrum.  You don't really want to go on either extreme because you'll either be too afraid to speak up and lose opportunities, or you'll be so opinionated that you scare everyone else away.

So, I suppose you're wondering where I am going with this train of thought, right?

Well, I'll be honest.  When it comes to confidence, I've been firmly on the right side of the spectrum.  As in, I've had a hard time finding it.

Sad thing is...I never used to be that way.  For some reason, I remember when I was a youngster, I had plenty of confidence in things.  I used to try new things all the time.  I learned how to use a computer at the age of four (though keep in mind that computers weren't as fancy and complex as they are now), and I also learned how to read at an early age.  I was quite the confident and smart toddler...or so I was told.

But then I entered the harsh world of public school, and it's amazing just how much my self-confidence plummeted.  It was bad enough having people my age try to knock me down, but when you had teachers who should have known better doing the same, that really grinded my gears.  What was it that made them do that?  I honestly don't know.  I don't know if I'll ever know the answer.

But I will say this.  I found it incredibly disheartening and rude that so many of my peers and teachers used to look at my size as if it were some sort of liability.  I got it.  I was the token fat kid in the whole class.  But to be actually lectured by some children in the class over what I was eating?  Totally below the belt.  Did it ever occur to them that the more they told me that I shouldn't be eating All Dressed Ruffles Potato Chips, the more chips I actually ate?  As if their negativity and judgmental comments would actually cause me to realize that I had to lose weight. 

News flash.  I could have gotten as skinny as I wanted to back in the day.  Those miserable kids still wouldn't have hung around with me.  Truth be told, looking at it through my perspective today, I wouldn't have wanted them in my life anyway.  Why in the world would I want to be around someone who constantly critiques me and offers me up some unsolicited advice about how I should look?

I mean, seriously?  With comments like "You'd look so much better if I was thinner and had a six-pack?"  Are you really that superficial that you'd make those more acceptable qualities than trust, honesty, loyalty, and kindness?  Why in the world would I want to be around that?

But still...those comments stung.  The unsolicited advice about how I should change my looks really made me hit an all-time low in confidence.  Those words left me damaged, and I'll be completely honest with you.  I still find it difficult to take compliments at face value because I can't determine whether they are genuine or whether they are dripping with the bitter taste of sarcasm.

I want to believe that people are one hundred per cent honest when they offer kudos or compliments to people.  But, my brain is admittedly a little bit jumbled when it comes to processing compliments. 

The depressing part is that it never used to be wired that way.  I remember thinking when I was a child that everyone's word was golden, and I used to feel comfortable telling people anything about everything.  I'm more cautious now.

In fact, I think that really answers the question as to why I have a hard time keeping friendships, or even starting up relationships.  My heart is still quite damaged, and I still have locks and chains wrapped around it as a way of protecting myself.

I lack the confidence in myself to summon up the courage to find the keys that will unhook the chains and open up my heart to others. 

I wish it weren't the case, but that's the way life works out sometimes.

One day, my confidence will move closer towards the middle.  It just might take a lot more time than I thought.

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