Confidence Means Adding Everything and Subtracting Everything

Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful.

Brenda Ueland

I used to think that if I achieved X or Y, then I would feel good about myself.

If I achieved all my goals, I would have something to be confident about.

If I was rich, I would be happy.

Oh, that’s a classic one: If I only made more money, then I would have something to feel good about, and everything in life would be easier.

And before long, I earned more money. It didn’t make my conversations with the guy at the hardware store any easier.

Confidence isn’t something that you have to prove, whether to yourself or to someone else.

If you’re uncomfortable being seen in your own skin, what does it matter whether you are rich and successful?

You don’t earn your way to feeling good or loving yourself, certainly not through something outside of yourself. That’s all hooey.

The idea instead is to move towards freedom. To basically stand up and be seen just as you are right now.

To engage in your life not as if it needs to be difficult but as if being yourself were the easiest thing.

You’re a freewriter. You write to connect with a larger part of yourself.

You have what it takes.

When difficulties arise, you let go of preconceived notions and find the part of you that can be OK with whatever happens.

Throw all your tools in the same box

In the quest for getting things right, we often neglect all the idiosyncrasies that make us who we really are. And we forget to actually have fun.

I remember one time when I was a kid and I had a friend over at my house. We spent a long time trying to figure out some game that I had. We spent forever struggling to understand the right way of doing it.

Eventually, a greater wisdom dawned. We gave up correctness. Instead of trying to play the game right, we made up our own game. I got out all my toys — all of them. The ones I liked, the ones I didn’t. And we made up some insanely fun game that only made sense to us two at that moment and would never make any sense to anyone else.

We had the most fun anyone on earth had ever had.

It didn’t matter that most of the toys were old, broken, or missing parts. The rules of the game were there because we wanted to have fun. Everything flowed.

Acting vs being

A friend gave me good acting advice. He told me that good acting is not about putting something on. It’s about paring things away. In my life quest for acting confident, I was keeping everything the same about me but struggling to add this extra layer of confidence. When I didn’t do a perfect job playing that role, the real me showed through.

Eventually I learned to feel the parts of me that already were confident. It’s better to spend my time there rather than fighting to look a certain way for someone else.

It’s probably true that the best acting is not about acting but becoming. Discovering what’s already there and letting those qualities fill themselves out more and more.

A regular freewriting practice burns away the boring stuff

When you do a freewriting marathon, you write for so long, that sooner or later your falseness of voice and resistances will give out.

You’ll let go of the extra baggage that was supposed to make you sound different or smarter or more worldly.

The more you write, the more you represent you on the page.

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