The not-so-obvious secret to confidence
I was in the middle of drafting a piece on self-love and confidence because my most frequently asked question is, “how are you so confident?”
It’s posed as a compliment but implicit in it, is the idea that women like me aren’t supposed to be audacious enough to love ourselves unapologetically.
Society has told us that women like us must wait for someone else to affirm us; otherwise, we are “too full” of ourselves or conceited. So when we see reflections of ourselves existing as big and as bold as they are, we are awe-inspired and surprised to some degree.
I have never known how to respond to the question of how I came to be confident because I didn’t really have to learn how to be confident.
I grew up in an environment that nurtured my talents and taught me to believe in myself. I spent the first 7 years of my life in Zimbabwe, and I believe it did wonders for my confidence and self-belief. I was academically gifted. I used to make boys cry because I was always number 1 in my class. (How ironic that I’m writing about needing courage when the boy I made cry was also called courage. Life is funny like that.) I have always been outspoken and extroverted. At a parents evening in grade 2 or 3, the teacher called me a show-off.
I am confident because confidence is the natural part for me. I have an unequivocal belief in my abilities, my beauty and my potential. I am full of confidence. But, I have come to realise that for me, confidence is futile.
Confidence noun is defined as: “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something” or “a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
Courage noun is defined as: “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.” — Dictionary.com
By definition, confidence is passive- it doesn’t require me to do anything other than to possess it or to believe in something. Courage demands that I do something, specifically something that frightens me. Courage is active. Being courageous necessitates action.
For me, confidence is easy, and I found that it is useless without courage. It’s not confidence that allows me to stand for who I am at the expense of judgement. It’s courage. It’s daring to live life as I see fit despite what others may say.
It’s not a lack of confidence that keeps me from pursuing avenues that I really want to pursue, it’s a lack of courage.
It’s only now that I am seeing courage is what has helped me push through insecurities and self-doubt to where I am now. And where I am now required me to go beyond confidence. I stand a woman who is full of confidence but needs more courage. I think “how did you become confident” is the wrong question to ask. In order to be more confident, you need the courage to break old habits and to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
We need to move beyond confidence, and for that, we need courage.
Opening image: @ruvxmbo