it's not confidence

March 3rd, 2005

You know these people that say "I'm not afraid of anything?" We've all met at least one, right? I won't go into how shortsighted and inconsequential that belief is but it is, as the British would say, absolute bollocks. The statement itself is imprecise, what they mean to convey is that there are a lot of things they are not afraid of, as if to say "I can make a list of things I'm not afraid of". Perhaps even to the point of not being able to think of anything that could (or would) scare them. But as human beings we are scared all the time. Scared of being late for a meeting, scared of oversleeping, missing the bus, of getting our car stolen, sometimes of strangers or people we barely know and dislike, of losing face among peers, of other people's opinions of ourself, of crime, of getting sick, of not finding a job, of losing a job etc. In short, I think everyone is afraid lots of times everyday.

And as a counter measure to fear comes confidence, because the mind needs a response of some kind. Confidence is that internal voice that tells you "I can do this". But a defence mechanism is all it is and I will give you what should be a convincing example. Do you remember being a kid and wanting something that your parents didn't want you to have? Did they ever tell you something couldn't be done or that you just wouldn't get something you wanted? Did you ever think "I'll show them?" and try to make it happen all the same? That is your mind countering the argument to your disfavor and constructing one that benefits you. Would you ever be confident *without* being attacked, without being afraid? No, you wouldn't.

So what is the point? The point is that what we're looking for is not confidence. Confidence is not our promised land. Did you ever think you wanted something only to get it and realized that wasn't it? How many different situations can you name where someone tried to inspire confidence into you to help you do something? A defensive mechanism, that's all it is. No, what the pursuit is about is comfort. When you're confident, you're trying to assert yourself, you're in that "I'll show them" state of mind. When you're comfortable, you're at peace with the world and you have nothing to prove. I used to think I wanted to be confident, I was wrong. I was propelled into a state of comfort without warning and I could not believe how it had come about. But it feels right and only in a state of comfort can one be happy. Comfort sets in when fears are disspelled, so nothing gives rise to confidence and instead there exists a peace of mind.

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