… or the lack of it. I have spent my entire life lacking in confidence, which may well come as news to anyone who knows me as I always try to present as confident, strong and knowledgeable. I’m not faking it to make it, most of the time, I am confident, I do have strong opinions and am not afraid to air them (no kidding!) and I like to think I know a little about most things going on in the world.
Where I lack confidence though is in my relationships with everyone else on the planet. I never quite believe that I am good enough, this feeling has deep deep roots that I have worked hard to let go of. Mostly, I feel I have succeeded. However, my lack of self confidence stems from a lack of positive feedback from my earliest days. Positive feedback and re enforcement of who and what I am was simply something entirely lacking from my Mother at least. My Dad, God love him, is a very very quiet gentle soul, loves me to pieces, but totally undemonstrative. Wider family weren’t available as we lived gazillions of miles away from everyone else.
The point I’m trying to make is that positive feedback, positive affirmation of who and what we are is such an important building block in our lives. My own self confidence issues are pretty minor in the main and I’m learning to deal with it. However, the wider implications of lack of self confidence seem to manifest themselves in some flipping awful ways.
It seems to me that low self confidence is often masked by bravado, aggressive bravado (yep definitely been there). Hmm, what else, an unwillingness to make decisions, lest the wrong decision results in a loss of face or positive affirmation. A lack of self responsibility – its always someone else’s fault – because you’ve spent so long reinforcing your own sense of self because no one else did it for you, that you can’t possibly be wrong – narcissism anyone?.
How is it that we can be so hateful towards our fellow human beings? From those in power, who have their own personal power trip first and foremost in their minds, to the mindless racism, xenophobia and anti ‘other’ that exists everywhere. It may seem strange to ascribe the latter to lack of self confidence, but think about it, if you aren’t confident in yourself (though someone expressing these ideas would vociferously argue otherwise), then in order to make yourself feel better, you put others down.
Bullying (which could be described above) is another enormous example of lacking in self confidence and the trouble with this one is that it really is double edged. The Bully is so aggressively asserting themselves because they are so out of their depth and lacking in positive feedback but in so doing kills any confidence in their victim. A nasty vicious circle ensues and the lack of self confidence spiral and all its manifestations grows.
Can we fix this? At times I wonder if we can. It seems like such a big issue to address. However at its root is that same old thing I keep on about – lack of mutual respect. We all need to dig deep to be respectful of each other, right down to respecting our own children and giving them the love and positive feedback that their innocent souls need.
Nurturing each other, asking questions, being honest, being OPEN to others – that is the way forward. Accepting that the world is actually a MUCH better place to be if only we are prepared to accept each other’s differences and HELP each other. Reach out, ask that person out for coffee – after about three refusals, move on. Someone else will benefit from your effort. Meanwhile, be kind.