Confidence in Character

Confidence in Character

If you were a character in a novel, what adjectives would proceed your introduction?

My blogging group's monthly "Write for writing's sake and do it an hour" prompt asked us to describe the role confidence, or lack thereof, has played in our lives.

The challenge here is two-fold. First, I needed to decide if I think I'm confident. The fact I have to think about it, then actually Google "How does a person become confident?" pretty much answers that question. Sort of.

The second is deciphering if confidence has made a difference, one way or another.

Interestingly, in my mini-Google adventure, the search prompt after typing in "How does a person become ..." tried to auto-fill with words like:

  • unique
  • gay
  • snorer
  • a hero
  • happy
  • attractive
  • successful
  • smart
  • a person

With the exception of "gay" and "snorer," I would surmise being confident plays a part in becoming all of those things. (Although my husband is indeed a spectacularly confident snorer. He OWNS it.) Still, what is confidence? Looking further, I began to think, "Well, maybe I am. A little. In some things. Not everything."

Poking around, one discovers that confidence has less to do with actual success and more with feeling successful. Content with personal growth. Respectful of themselves and others. Purposeful. This article sums it up nicely. Being confident isn't "all about me." Rather, it is rooted in mindfulness of yourself and others.

And while there are many, many things I lack confidence in (parenting, public speaking, wearing skinny jeans and making pie), I am grateful for the confidence that:

Helped me strike up friendships — Having moved more than once or twice or three times as a kid, going to college, moving to a new town, beginning new jobs ... all of these life changes mean putting yourself out there if you want to find comfort and enjoy your new surroundings.

Pushed me out of bad experiences into better ones — Sometimes, ruts are just plain comfortable. You're allowed to put yourself on auto-pilot, moving from one day to the next doing something you don't like or working for a person that makes you want to stick knitting needles into your eyes, because the unknown seems even scarier. It takes confidence to try something different, but more often than not, the reward is greater than the risk.

Allowed me to share my passion for reading — Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone shares them. I love to write about the books I read. And I'm thrilled when others enjoy reading what I write. But it only works for me because I'm not in it for the accolades. I write because it's part of who I am.

I'm not sure where this confidence comes from, but I know that now, when I find the well empty, I often look to books to find inspiration. In recent years, it's been memoirs from David Axelrod and Sheryl Sandberg, or fictional characters in novels from Jojo Moyes or Caitlin Moran or Matthew Quick. A person doesn't need to be real to inspire confidence. He or she just has to push you in that direction.

I blather about books. I am also on Facebook, trolling for friends. If you're new to my blog, you might want to check out my annual post covering everything I read in 2016. Want to read a few stories with or by confident characters? Try:

Believer

Lean In

The Good Luck of Right Now

How to Build a Girl

Filed under: mumbo jumbo

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