I Am Depressed, But I am Human Too: Finding Real Confidence

Finding Real Confidence


 I used to depend on outside resources for approval to find self-validation. I lacked the confidence to tell myself that I could become capable of feeling validated and important and in this world. Much of this stems from years of bullying and social rejection.  Finding confidence without dependence on others is what helped me recover from having a self-doubting spirit.

Feeling confident and being confident are two different things. The act of being confident is to have self-assurance in yourself. Much of the time people confuse confidence with self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the act of feeling secure about your ability to perform in a specific domain (as in a sport, activity, etc.). Other’s also confuse the act of being confident with displaying stereotypically masculine traits, such as taking risks and displaying bravado to achieve the approval from others.

Confidence does not need to be about showing off or being the loudest one in the room. Confidence is about having the assurance in yourself that you are fine with who you are at the present moment. Faith and doubt are not related to confidence, but more about trust. Confidence is often misperceived and many consider it to be about having a positive perspective that you will be able to accomplish what you set forth for yourself. Having that belief is related to having self-assurance which is the opposite of doubt. Faith is related to having loyalty and trust in a person, place, or deity which does not relate to confidence.

Confidence has been a very difficult thing for me growing up as a bullied child. I didn’t have friends to depend on and lacked a support group who reached out to me when I needed it the most. For a long time I felt alone and unwanted. There have been times where I have had peers tell me to pretend to be confident until I actually start to feel confident. This is considered the act of “faking it until you make it.” This never worked, instead I felt like I was lying to myself.

My grandfather had a great influence on my self-confidence. Although he was a very caring man, he was very hard on me. He did his best to challenge me to the point that I never thought anything that I did was good enough. My family members cut me off when engaging in family conversations, I felt like my opinions did not matter and I was not allowed to have a voice. The only thing that did make me feel confident is picking up an instrument

When I started to play music in front of people I started to find courage.  I was the center of people’s attention. I got an emotional rush out of that attention and clinged on to it. It made me feel verified, it made me feel comfortable and like I had a reason to live. For the first time in my life I learned what it meant to feel comfortable and confident within my own self. I give credit to music for helping me do so.

However, the act of being approved by strangers to play music is not confident, it’s courageous. There is a level of risk that is involved with putting yourself out there, and that takes bravery. I used alcohol to eliminate my feelings of anxiety in hopes that I would be able to feel confident to play in front of others. I was a man of liquid courage.

Alcohol was not my only problem, I depended on the approval of others to feel confident. I depended on the attraction of the opposite sex and limited my own expectations of others to feel wanted. I became obsessed with work and becoming the best at everything in order to feel like I had a sense of accomplishment. My ego drove me into a delusion to feel that my self-pity did not exist and that my confidence was real. My confidence was dependent upon external factors instead of from within.

My confidence is not something that has recovered. I believe that there will always be something that I will feel unsure of. I have improved over time. I no longer dependent on alcohol or others to feel confident. I don’t create music for the approval from others like I used to in the past, but for the sake to help others and to get myself through pain. My faith is driven in God to get myself through each day. There are some factors in my life that still remain dependent, such as my need for social connections and positive relationships. However I have been able to get better at spending time with myself.

I have placed too much faith in people to feel that I am able to n the past year, I have abstained from being dependent on others. I am learning to become confident by using my faith in God and myself as tools to learn how to believe in myself. I believe that courage is never perfect given the changes that life gives us. Courage is something that is practiced and never perfected. I don’t determine myself worth on my accomplishments or failures. Instead I let myself feel doubt so that I allow myself to recover and feel more confident. 

Brian WalkerComment