Learning confidence (the hard way)

I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to people and relations appearances can be deceiving, words can be used to trick and to hide as much to expose, feelings can’t always be trusted, and that the “truth” in any given situation usually depends on who you ask. In short, there is seldom an absolute truth to any interaction between human beings, and even the truth that can be reliably nailed down in some way is likely to be interpreted differently by each participant and each viewer.

For many years, this made me hesitant to trust my own perceptions of situations I found myself in. I distrusted my feelings, questioned my motives, doubted my observations. Most of all, I ignored my intuition. At the slightest hint of contradiction to my own opinions, I accepted the “truth” of those around me above my own knowing.

But that has shifted.

It did not shift because I suddenly developed an assurance that I am always right. Far from it! It shifted because I realized that no one else had any better track record at being right than I did.

My assumption that others were right and I was wrong any time there was disagreement, I was not only giving away my power, I was undermining my own confidence, which made it even more likely that I would see and interpret the world in flawed ways. It led consistently to poor choices on my part. While this led to lots of “learning opportunities,” it also led to lots of damage and wounding.

So somewhere along the way, I’ve started believing again in my own perceptions and, most importantly, my own intuition. I still have no delusions whatsoever that I am absolutely right or that I know the Truth about situations, relationships, other people, or even myself. I am still very careful to hold my truth gently and to refrain from imposing my truth on anyone else.

But while I’m open to learning from others’ opinions, I am also content to agree to disagree at the end of the discussion. I am content to honor my truth and their truth at the same time without feeling the need to resolve the tension. Most of all, I have learned to honor my intuition when it insists on something, even if that knowing disagrees with others.

The result is that I am feeling more confident than I have been in many years, and it shows in the way I deal with life and the way I interact with people. I make decisions easier than I used to, and those decisions are turning out to be better choices with more positive outcomes than I’ve had in the past. I’m more relaxed and open in relationships, but I’m also quicker to set clear boundaries. I’m more at home with myself than I’ve been in years.

All that goodness just from beginning to trust that I am no more wrong than the people around me in what I see, hear, perceive, and intuitively know. I’d say that’s a pretty good bang for the buck!

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

7 thoughts on “Learning confidence (the hard way)

  1. Brava, KJ, and beautifully written. Trust in self is so key to our relationships, and it has taken me most of my life to grasp that very basic concept. Truly, it has completely changed my perspective; in particular it has broadened it. Really enjoyed this post.


    • Thank you, Karen. It’s proving to be really transformative for me, as well. I actually think that I am able to better honor other people’s points of view as I trust myself more because it is less threatening to me when they disagree with me. That’s not something I would have expected to happen!

  2. KJ, thanks so much for writing this piece. I think when we start to question assumptions, we let growth in which gives space for confidence. Trusting our intuition is so important. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to kick myself for not doing so. But mistakes, or wrong choices like you say are just growth opportunities. I believe that confidence is not only a blessing but our birth right. So happy to hear you are claiming yours! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for this encouragement, Christian Marie! I love your comment about the questioning of assumptions letting in growth, which gives space for confidence. That is indeed how it has worked for me, and I appreciate you helping me see that connection more clearly! I had not put it in quite those terms, and that is very powerful. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for writing this. I’m experiencing a similar shift where I’m attempting to value my own knowing as much as, if not more, than someone else’s. My intuition has always been correct when I listened to it. Thankfully, I have listened to it more than I’ve ignored it in my life.

    • Good for you in already having listened so well to your intuition! I hope the shift you are going through brings you even closer to your intuitive knowing. It’s great to know that someone else is experiencing a similar shift!

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