Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: An Experiment in Confidence

New Year resolutions have never been my thing. It's not that I don't think they're a good thing, it's that I'm lazy and also too much of a pessimist to make the effort. I know halfway through the first week of January I'm going to have cookies for breakfast despite the resolution to eat healthier. So why not call a spade a spade and eat cookies for breakfast without all the shame?

And if you've been following me on my blogging journey over the last however many years I've been at this, you'll know I also suck at summing years up. Every year, the clock chimes midnight and I'm left pondering, "what did this year mean to me? Why do I need to boil it down into year increments? And would anyone notice if I started drinking straight out of the wine bottle?"

Looking back on 2015--the year that was in too much of a hurry to end to stop and smell the roses--one theme doth emerge in my life. But I'm not sure it started this year. In fact, I'm pretty sure it started when I was a kid and that first spark of "what if i could..." ignited.

The key ingredient missing was always confidence. That fickle friend of mine that sputtered to life once in a blue moon and teased me with promises of dreams fulfilled. For so long, I believed confidence was a natural thing, an elusive character trait that was absent from yours truly. But in 2015, amidst the panic attacks, crippling self-doubt, and worrying about what others thought about me, a realization sucker punched me in the gut and things started to fall into place.

Confidence isn't about believing I'm better than everyone else. Confidence isn't getting things right the first, second, or even the millionth time. Confidence isn't about swagger or social status or popularity.

Confidence is committing to a plan of action, 
accepting when things go wrong, 
moving forward when everything feels too hard,
not worrying about what others think or comparing yourself to them, 
having the courage to stand your ground,
and most importantly believing in your abilities.

No success story starts with they waited around for someone to give them a hand out. In general it starts with they had the courage to believe they could and so they did. Which can be summed up in one word: confidence. Maybe the problem is I confused confidence with arrogance. Or maybe I was too afraid to believe in myself--too worried about others and their opinions to have faith in my ability.

Whatever the case may be, I know I'm not cured. This battle with self-confidence will rage on. However, it's a war I'm determined to win now that I understand confidence isn't about thinking I won't fail. On the contrary, it's about knowing it's highly likely I will fail and people will judge me but having the courage to move forward in the face of it. Because hope is stronger than fear and the "but what if I fly" is way more important than the "what if I fail."

Thus, it is my hope, we can all walk into 2016 with this in mind:
Ignorance--I've got down.
Confidence--I'm coming for you.
Happy New Year, y'all!


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