It has taken me months to write these few paragraphs. I have typed and deleted more times than I can count. While the kids are in the bath, while I am stuffing my face with way too many Christmas cookies, while I am listening to podcasts & walking the dog...I have mulled over this topic and what, if anything, I can contribute. It has taken a hold of my thoughts, yet I struggle to find the right words to say, the ones that encompass everything the word ‘confidence’ evokes in me.
Why is it so hard for me to string a cohesive set of sentences together on this subject? I mean, it really can’t be that difficult...but it so IS.
I know why. Deep down, this voice inside me says,
“Your words don’t matter, someone else has already said it, done it, made it, painted it, done all of it... BETTER.”
Confidence does not come easy to me, obviously. But that’s exactly why I think my story, my words & my experiences are important to share. I can contribute something special & unique because it’s from my heart.
If you struggle with this like I do, I encourage you to bravely do whatever you love to do ANYWAY.
“You are confined only by the walls you build around yourself.”
If I waited until I felt confident or ‘ready’, I would never accomplish anything. Ever.
I’m standing in my own way most of the time. Excuses, justifications, self-doubt, & comparisons are the walls I have built around myself. Those big, sturdy walls kept me from even starting to paint for so long. I actually painted a canvas solid green and then stared at it off and on for years before I could bring myself to do any more. I just couldn’t get past the start. At the time, I didn’t have the courage to believe in myself. Starting something new can be really hard. I experience a brief moment of panic everytime I start a new painting, but then I remember that that feeling is not final and it does not need to hold me back.
So I choose to do it anyway.
This voice in my head tends to be very negative, loud and rude...it seems, at every opportunity, to tell me I’m not good enough, that there’s no point, that I will fail. Sometimes, it sidelines me, for weeks, months or years even, like with the green canvas. As I learn, grow & practice, more often now my heart overrides my head, and I am soaring above it all.
Several authors I admire greatly - Danielle Krysa, Elizabeth Gilbert & Brene Brown - speak to this fear, this voice, this lack of confidence. The takeaway for me has been - name your inner critic, invite it to ride alongside you, & vulnerability is a good thing.
In other words, Do It Anyway.
“Tear off the mask. Your face is glorious.” - Rumi
Do It For Yourself.
If you woke up everyday and asked yourself, ‘Who are you? & What are you doing here?’, whose opinion would your answer reflect?
Over the past few years I have experienced a shift from caring so much about what others think about me to what truly makes me happy.
Anytime I have tried to create what I think others want, my heart is a mess.
It’s not authentic & it’s not my best work. It actually makes me feel less sure of myself because I am trying to fit into something I am not. I believe confidence has to come from within, which is funny because as we’ve established, the voice ‘within’ can be a downer. What I mean is, when you are passionate about something, there is a well of positivity to draw from. You don’t need to be good, great, amazing or the best at something to exude passion & excitement about it. When you genuinely share more of what you love, feeling confident about whether it’s ‘good’ (whatever that really even means) tends to matter less.
“Words have the power to create worlds” - Abraham Joshua Heschel
Words have the power to ground us or help us soar. Though my inner critic can be extremely persistent with negative words, framing whatever I am doing with defeat and despair before I even begin, I am mindful to carry the good words with me, the ones that breathe life into my soul...
You are not the voice inside.
You are strong. You have courage. You are worth it.
I encourage you to choose to articulate positive words that mean something to you, to remind you of who you truly are. Practice placing these words on your heart every day.
If we frame things differently with our words, we can create a whole new space of acceptance for ourselves. We can choose words to create a world where we can freely be who we were created to be.
“Stay afraid. But - do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
To me, confidence is having the courage to try. So begin with what is sacred within you and be brave enough to come just as you are. Draw from the passion and excitement you feel when you’re doing what you love. Your unique contribution matters. YOU MATTER. Dwell on the positive words & hold them close to your heart. Keep making mistakes, growing, learning, making bad art, making good art. If you don’t like it, paint over it, take it apart and do it again, delete it & rewrite it until it feels like YOU. Just try. Just Do It Anyway.