Do we have an inalienable right to confidence?

blog imageI have been pondering the question – why do people who appear to have so much going for them say, when asked, that they do not feel confident in themselves?  Why, deep down, do we feel so insecure about ourselves, our relationships, our contributions?  We may feel confident in one aspect of our lives (“Well, I can make a killer chocolate cake.  That is one thing I’m good at.”), but overall – we feel unworthy.  Unworthy of our jobs, our mates, the blessings of our lives.  It’s the imposter syndrome.  We’re all walking around afraid that if anybody figures out we’re really incompetent, they’ll give us the boot.

Why?  Is it the way we’re born?  Is it human nature to feel incompetent, incapable, insecure?  Is it some failing on our parent’s part?  Should they have hugged us more, smiled at us more, told us we could do anything we put our minds to?  Is the feeling of incompetence not genuine – is it some false humility?  We don’t want to appear over-confident, so we feign insecurity.  Perhaps it is an overall fear of life and the repeated failure that is a necessary part of our time here on earth? 

Do we have an inalienable right to confidence?  If we are born with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are we not also born with the right to confidence?  Isn’t every human being worthy of feeling good about his or her contribution, calm in the making of that contribution, excited to keep learning how to improve that contribution? 

It may be a right, but one that many of us (85% by some research) choose not to exercise.  Why?  Why do we spend so much precious time and energy feeling insecure about what we offer in this life when we could, simply by choosing to make it so, feel confident in the same offering?

I am haunted by this question.  Any wisdom to share?

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7 comments on “Do we have an inalienable right to confidence?
  1. Chris Jones says:

    You asked about a hundred questions here, and they’re all important ones. Yes, it is human nature to feel incompetent (because we are), incapable (because we are) and insecure (because we want to be secure in things that are impermanent, and that is impossible). It’s not our parents’ fault – they feel exactly the same way. They could surely have hugged us more, or kissed us more, or told us fewer lies – like, for instance, that we can do anything we put our minds to. That’s false. And we know it to be false the second we hear it.

    Of course we’re afraid. People who have their trust in things that crumble to dust are always afraid. It’s not false humility – fear has nothing in common with humility – nor is our insecurity feigned. We ARE insecure, and all the money on earth, all the strength of mind and body, will not remove from us the fact of our insecurity. Money vanishes, strength wanes, mental powers flicker and fade, in all of us. We know this. How can one be confident and secure when one’s confidence and security come from tissue and fog?

    Yes, we have a right to confidence. But it cannot be bestowed on us by someone else, and it cannot be based in anything that isn’t permanent.

    Kisses and hugs and words of encouragement are important, and helpful, but the people you know that are supremely confident are not that way because their mother whispered sweet nothings into their ears. They are confident because they have trust in something greater than themselves, someone more durable and more powerful than anything in this world. They are unafraid to make mistakes, because they never expected to be perfect. They don’t have to be. They are able to offer their best and sleep peacefully, because they make that offering to one who knows and loves them, whatever the size or the quality of their offering.

    No other way will work, not for any significant length of time.

    Great, great post. Wonderful questions. Important things to think about.

  2. Trenna says:

    Wow – no wisdom,but now I will ponder the same for awhile. Great thoughts.

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