Marching Confidently into the Unknown

Printer-friendly version

Many clients come in to therapy looking to get more self-confidence so that they will then be able to do things they would like to do – get out socially, be more assertive at work, go out on dates, etc. This position is quite reasonable in the sense that it will likely be much easier to do something if you feel that your chances of doing it well, correctly, perfectly, etc are very high, and your chances of messing things up completely and looking like a buffoon are low. The unfortunate implication of this position is that until you know how to do something well enough to feel “confident” about doing it, you may never do it. This then begs the question, how will we ever learn or do something new?

The word “confidence” is of Latin origin and is composed of the root words “con”, meaning with, and “fides”, meaning faith, loyalty or fidelity. So, if we break down the word confidence, we could put forward the radical proposition that to act with confidence may not necessarily entail having a feeling of belief in our ultimate success, but rather that confidence implies acting in congruence with – with fidelity to – our own experience and values, regardless of the eventual outcome. To act with confidence in this sense means moving forward with our experience as it is, staying loyal to our values and vision of our best life. Confidence, then, contains insecurity, doubt, fear, and anxiety, in that with each meaningful step towards what we care about, we will likely experience echoes of the painful prospect of loss, failure and frustration. Yet, confidence tells us, we continue towards these values because doing so matters deeply to our being and feeds our spirit.

So begin something new with confidence – confidence that with all the fears, uncertainty and doubt about moving into the unknown, you are doing so to feed the longing in your heart, head and soul to expand, grow, and develop into an evolving you.