Shilpan wrote a popular article about building self-confidence, using Forrest Gump as a model. In a discussion in comments, Jean Browman drew out a point I had not considered before. From whence arises confidence?
She observed that hard work and competence were more important than confidence in doing a good job. I raised the point that inner confidence is what causes competence. Work leads to skill, leads to confidence, leads to competence is how I would describe it. Confidence also means we won’t worry about how others might judge us. As I spoke of in Self Effort and Jean observes, work or effort is the the key. Jean also observes that people with low self-esteem often do better as they figure they have to work harder.
I noted that lack of confidence was not really a lack at all but rather due to something extra. It is the mind second guessing, adding doubt or uncertainty and thoughts of failure. Self-blame. The inner critic.
As the back and forth continued, it became clear that the term “self-confidence” is really incorrect. Confidence arising from the self is founded on something false, the ego. Large self-confidence riding on the ego leads to the obnoxious, the blowhards we find irritating. Low self-esteem is similar, riding on the ego stories of lack. Really this is a distortion of confidence.
True confidence is an honest and clean sense that does does not tread on others but simply has a clarity of vision and direction. An internal certainty. If you don’t have that, you either need to go deeper and get clear, or you need to dump the junk that is thwarting that clarity.
Inner certainty and clarity arises from a deeper connection to who we are. Self-attitude can be a barrier to that inner clarity but in other ways, it is irrelevant. When we connect with who we are, our relationship with the ego becomes meaningless. It drops into some old story. Then clarity arises and a confidence rooted in unassailable peace. That is true confidence, unbuffeted by the winds of change. It is certainty of Self.