How to Be Confident (When You Don’t Have Anything to Be Confident About)


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Feeling confident about something new or in a situation that’s ended badly before can be a struggle. Here’s how to get yourself feeling back on track.

 

By : Mark Munson

 

How are you supposed to be confident about something when you have nothing to feel confident about?

Like, how are you supposed to be confident at your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in social situation when no one has ever liked you before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in your relationship when you’ve never been in a successful relationship before?

On the surface, confidence appears to be an area where the rich get richer and the poor stay the losers they are. After all, if you’ve never experienced much social acceptance, and you lack confidence around new people, then that lack of confidence will make people think you’re clingy and weird and not accept you. Same deal goes for relationships. No confidence in intimacy will lead to bad breakups and awkward phone calls and emergency Ben and Jerry’s runs at three in the morning.

Thisis no way to do a relationship.

The Confidence Conundrum

If you’ve always lost in life, then how could you ever rationally expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus the cycle of suckage continues.

This is the confidence conundrum, where in order to be happy or loved or successful , first you need to be confident; but then to be confident, first you need to be happy or loved or successful.

It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. Or Dominos ordering its own pizza. You can spend a lot of time cuticle-gazing trying to mentally sort everything out, but just like with your lack of confidence, you’re likely to end up right back where you started.

We know a few things about confidence just from observing people. So before you run off and order that pizza, let’s break this down quickly:

  1. Just because somebody has something (tons of friends, a million dollars, a bitchin’ beach body) doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is confident in it. There are tycoons who totally lack confidence in their own wealtth , models who lack confidence in their looks, and celebrities who lack confidence in their own popularity. So I think the first thing we can establish is that confidence is not necessarily linked to any external marker. Rather, our confidence is rooted in our perception of ourselves regardless of any tangible external reality.
  2. Because our confidence is not necessarily linked to any external tangible measurement, we can conclude that improving the external, tangible aspects of our lives won’t necessarily build confidence.
    Chances are that if you’ve lived more than a couple decades, you’ve experienced this in some form or another. Getting a promotion at your job doesn’t necessarily make you more confident in your professional abilities. In fact, it can often make you feel less confident. Dating and/or sleeping with more people doesn’t necessarily make you feel more confident about how attractive you are. Moving in together or getting married doesn’t necessarily make you feel any more confident in your relationship.
  3. Confidence is a feeling. An emotional state and a state of mind. It’s the perception that you lack nothing. That you are equipped with everything you need,both now and for the future. A person confident in their social life will feel as though they lack nothing in their social life. A person with no confidence in their social life believes that they lack the prerequisite coolness to be invited to everyone’s pizza party. It’s this perception of lacking something that drives their needy, clingy and/or bitchy behavior.

How to Be More Confident

The obvious and most common answer to the confidence conundrum is to simply believe that you lack nothing. That you already have, or at least deserve, whatever you feel you would need to make you confident.

But this sort of thinking — believing you’re already beautiful even though you’re a frumpy slob, or believing you’re a raving success even though your only profitable business venture was selling weed in high school — leads to the kind of insufferable narcissism that causes people to argue that obesity (something that is more detrimental to your health than smoking cigarettes) should be celebrated as beauty and that it’s, like, totally OK to carve your name into the Roman Colosseum because, you know, selfies.

No, the solution to the confidence conundrum is not to feel as though you lack nothing and delude yourself into believing you already possess everything you could ever dream. The solution is to simply become comfortable with what you potentially lack.

The big charade with confidence is that it has nothing to do with the comfort of what we achieve and everything to do with the comfort of what we don’t achieve.

People who are confident in business are confident because they’re comfortable with failure.

People who are confident in their social lives are confident because they’re comfortable with rejection.

People who are confident in their relationships are confident because they’re comfortable with getting hurt.

Confidence Through Failure

The truth is that the route to the positive runs through the negative. Those among us who are the most comfortable with negative experience are those who reap the most benefits.

It’s counterintuitive, but it’s also true. Often we worry that if we become comfortable in our failures — that if we accept failure as an inevitable part of living — that we will become failures. But it doesn’t work that way. Comfort in our failures allows us to act without fear, to engage without judgment, to love without conditions. It’s the dog that lets the tail go, realizing that it’s already a part of himself. It’s the Dominos that cancels its own order, realizing it already has the pizza it wanted. Or something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to publish this article comfortable with the fact that some people will probably hate it. And eat my pizza.

 

Mark Manson is the author of Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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