Goal: To Be Hilariously Confident.

I am currently in the middle of an astonishing realization.

I was contemplating the pieces and clues I’ve been picking up the last couple of weeks or so.  Everything seems to keep circling around my self confidence (or lack of).  Once upon a time I remember having LOADS of confidence, and now I have very little.  What happened?

Well. . . a lot.

But, what I have been trying to get at, is the mechanism that keeps this in place for me.  My blind spot.

The trick to seeing your own blind spot, is that you have to move out of your usual cyclical thinking.  You can’t keep going through the same line of reasoning, and expect that the 413th time you repeat it, that you’ll miraculously have a Eureka moment.  You have to throw yourself some curveballs in order to see things in a different light.

Not to mention, you have to listen to what you are really feeling about things inside.  This is WAY trickier than it seems.  There are the ways we have felt about things for years. . . or *thought* we felt or knew about things. . . and then buried underneath that is what we *really* feel or know about things, but for any number of reasons we weren’t able to deal with it at some point in time and covered it with something easier or safer to deal with.  That’s where we hide our blind spots.

One way to find these elusive little fuckers, is openness and brutal honesty with ourselves.  And here’s an example of what that might look like.

My lack of self confidence.  I don’t feel confident that I know anything of real value.  It shows up and sabotages any number of things in my day to day life.  Many times in conversations and meetings, I will want to share something I’m thinking or feeling. . . but then I look at the others in the room and how they seem to have no problem saying what they think . . . then I also think of alllll the other times I have spoken up and was dismissed, given funny looks, or just met with awkward silence.  And then I think, “Nah. . . I don’t know better than anyone else.”

I was recently given some excellent feedback in a review at work.  It was valuable because it was true, and it was awesome because it took guts to say.  I.totally.respect.that.  Basically summed up, it said that nobody believes what I say because I lack confidence.  I *do* know what I’m talking about, but if I’m not even confident in what I’m saying. . . how can I expect anyone else to be?

Yes, of course!  {Big sigh of relief.}  That felt very true to me, and so it actually felt really good to hear.

So, with that valuable piece of information, I have been sleuthing for the underpinning that holds that whole setup in me together.  I’ve been doing the whole cyclical thinking, which looks like this –>

I don’t feel confident, because I don’t feel like I know anything.  I don’t feel like I know anything of any value to others.  Whenever I do speak up, it’s quickly attacked or dismissed.  “Oh, no it’s not that because. . . blah de blah.”  or “We already thought of that and it’s not that.”  or “No, that’s not it.”  Sometimes it’s, “Where’s your proof?” or “That doesn’t make any sense.”  When I was younger, the feeling was often that I’m too young to know better or it came across condescending like, “Oh. . . isn’t that adorable. . . she thinks she knows something.”

The things I felt strongly about and would say or share with the people around me, never seemed to be taken seriously or given any real thought.  Whether it was friends, family, teachers, coworkers, managers, etc. it didn’t matter.  Anything and everything out of my mouth was immediately wrong, and then I was given a list of reasons why it was wrong.  I wasn’t asked why I thought what I did.  In fact, I didn’t feel like I was being seen at all.  I was just being talked at.  “Here’s why you’re wrong blah de blah . . . here’s why I’m right. . . blah de blah. . . I’m so much better and smarter than you blah de blah. . . you’re so young and naive. . . blah de blah.”

Well hell’s bells.  Of course I don’t feel confident in what I say.  Because all of those people spoke with such confidence, I believed them over myself.  Over time I learned to squelch what I felt and wanted to say. . . because I knew it would automatically be wrong.  I felt unseen and unsupported.  I felt alone.  I felt I held no value.  I felt I had nothing to offer others, that they didn’t already know themselves.

So I kept quiet for years and years.  I let my curiosity run amok.  I wanted to learn and understand everything. . . so that maybe one day I would have something of value to add.  I dug deep inside of me and started ripping up the upholstery and examining every square inch of it.  I wanted to know the whys, whats, whens, wheres, and whos of everything.  Why does this happen?  Why do people respond this way?  Why do I respond this way?  Why does that keep happening?  I was more interested and motivated in finding the actual truth, than I was in being right (because let’s face it, THAT’s never going to happen).  I was brutally honest with myself over and over.  I also found that I can lie to myself better than anyone I know in order to avoid something that hurts really, really bad.

But also, I learned that nothing feels better than uncovering that untruth and setting it free.

When I cleared most of the mud, crap, junk, tangles, encrypted spaces. . . what I found, is that underneath all of that. . . what had hurt me the most. . . was when I stopped believing myself.  I feel and know things within myself.  I feel it in my body.  But as soon as I speak it, and it is refuted. . . I believe what they say over what I feel.  I say to them. . “Oh okay.”, and in that seemingly insignificant moment, I have agreed with them. . . I sent myself the message (as well as the other person) that I don’t believe in what I feel to be true and is less important or valuable than what the other person says or feels.

What it feels like on the surface, is that others don’t support me and that others don’t believe me.  But in actuality it’s me that’s not supporting myself and believing in me.

The reason I don’t believe in myself is because I was never able to immediately explain WHY I felt or thought what I did. . . I didn’t know how to explain how I knew what I knew. . . and since others usually had convention or tradition on their side (we do things like this because A, B, and C) they already had a well thought out argument in place to support their side.

I didn’t understand that I was trying to express a new thought or idea, because to me. . . it isn’t new, it feels like something everyone knows.  And the thing with new thoughts or ways of thinking, is that they don’t have scripted arguments to immediately counter the usual mode of thought.  It’s easy to shut a person down if they think differently than the norm, because we’ve collectively had years and years to refine the logic and arguments of the current way of thinking and we rarely give people the chance to collect their thoughts or the time to actually hear them out.  It’s like living in a perpetual debate club.  “If you can’t tell me in 3 seconds why your new thought or way isn’t superior to the standard bullshit way that we’ve been thinking for years, then you’re wrong.  And I win.  Ha.Ha.”

Anyways. . . that’s not even the realization I’m wanting to share – that was just a satisfying rant. : )

It was also to give a peek into my own cyclical thinking that keeps me going in circles instead of getting to that blind spot in me that would allow me to change perspective and move forward.

So now, here’s an example of what finding a blind spot in yourself may look like.

I’ve gone the majority of my life, with an unspoken/unacknowledged feeling that I have no value.  That I don’t know anything.  That I’m always wrong.  That I have nothing to offer or bring to the table.  Because of this, I wasn’t able to understand my purpose in life.  I don’t know why I’m here or what I’m supposed to do or what I even want.  Nothing makes sense.  Everything is confusing.  On the rare moments that I had my confidence back, the world was bright and golden to me.  I was ALIVE!  I loved and I was open and I was so god.damn.happy.  And everything, absolutely everything makes sense to me and is so crystal clear.

So, why do I ruin all of that with a lack of confidence?  Because all I see when I look at all of the times I did speak up, are the times and individuals who spoke up with a false confidence.  I made those individuals, representatives of the whole.  They were the ones squawking the loudest, and nobody else ever spoke against them. . . and by default (in my mind). . . that meant they agreed with that one.  I’ve let all of that… define who I am.  I have let that have power over me.  I agreed and accepted what they decided about me.  Even if it was projection, bad assumptions, ignorance, arrogance… or just them having a rotten day.  I’ve let those moments and those individuals, paint my whole perception of who I am to the world.

It was so loud to my senses, and so hurtful inside. . . that I couldn’t see, hear or be aware of anything outside of it.

And it never, ever, occurred to me. . . that not everyone felt that way about me.  It didn’t occur to me, that in those same moments that one person was tearing me down. . . two or three others were silently cheering me on.  Because in those moments that I was being torn down, I was in such an emotional state and I would become so defensive (closed) that I wasn’t even capable of being aware of others.

I have felt so alone in my fight in my life.  It’s regularly felt like it’s me vs. everyone else, because typically the only people with balls to speak up with confidence about things, are the very ones who should probably keep their mouths shut.  And the ones who actually have something of value to say, are the ones who typically keep quiet.

So, step one for me, with this realization in hand. . . is to see my own value.  Not with false modesty, not with an inflated sense of self importance. . . but by opening up to myself and being as honest about my value as I have been about my faults.  I have valuable information.  I am capable of adding value to this world we’re in.  But nothing I have to say is going to add any value, if I am unable to properly value it myself.

Self confidence comes from self.  Not others.  And a few others, do not speak for the whole.  The biggest realization I had this morning, is that there are. . . and has been my whole life. . . a whole sea of people silently supporting me.  I just couldn’t hear them over my own fear and loudness of a few individuals.  And it’s THOSE silent supporters that I need to be aware and grateful for in my life.  I need to make THAT a bigger priority in my life, rather than giving more importance and attention to the haters of the world.

And I am so sorry for not having seen the silent supporters sooner.  I know what it’s like to be silently doing all kinds of awesome and never getting acknowledged because everyone’s more focused on the loudmouths of the group. . . and yet I’ve been doing it myself all along.  (<— bonus blind spot found –> level up )

I’m sorry for it, but at the same time. . . I’m cool with it.  It feels so GOOD to finally see it at all, that it’s super hard to be all *boo hoo* about it.  It’s actually kind of funny.

“Ohhhhh woe is me. . . I am so misunderstoo…. oh wait, what?  Oh… it’s me?  Oh.  HA!  I’m so hilarious.”

What hilariously confident looks like. As a cat.