As I mosey along this life journey of mine, I find myself in the position of asking questions and listening to other’s narrative vs the latter. Subconsciously, I think I’ve somewhat adapted to playing to role of empathetic listener and inquirer in and out of the therapy room. It’s a running joke in this field to hold off on disclosing what you do for a living to others, because it’s all too common to get responses like “Oh, I need to come see you!” or “Are you analyzing me right now?”.
So, it’s a unique experience whenever the table is turned, and someone inquiries about me that goes deeper than the stereotypical “what’s shakin’?”. I must admit, these times are mildly unsettling because I am so unused to having the coin flipped. Recently, this question was “What makes you feel confident?”
Perhaps this is just a therapist thing, but I had to take a raincheck on my answer because I wanted to sit with it. It’s one thing to say you’re confident, but it’s another thing to identify what exactly perpetuates this confidence.
As I continued to mull over this question in my mind, I invited it into the therapy room. Posing the question to others as we toss around other relative themes such as self-worth and self- image. I have to say, it’s led to very fruitful processing and exploration.
I’ve been discovering that confidence and worth are two phrases utilized interchangeably within our worlds. Two words referred to as synonyms, however they’re actually quite different. It would be like saying a doctor and a dentist are basically the same thing. Good luck having a doctor fill a cavity!
Let’s take worth for example. We have a tendency to put our worth into the hands of others or into the places we cherish. Tying our worthiness to the temporary sensations of validation from others, or the goals we set that are influenced by many aspects largely outside of our control. There is a roadblock with this framework for one’s worth because we are viewing it as something that is transient. Where in reality, our worth is constant. Grounded. Anchored to the uniqueness each soul holds within themselves. Our worth is tied to our voice, our values, and our resiliency just to name a few.
Switching gears to confidence, this is where the fluidity we experience comes in. Confidence is a wave that is notorious for waxing and waning throughout our lives. Some days, we are rocking our favorite heels paired with that perfect lipstick and we walk down the sidewalk to that meeting we know we will crush. Confidence oozes from you as you feel as if you could conquer the world. Then, we have days where all of our clothes feel frumpy, our hair is doing that weird flippy-thing, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with your cat and lock away the world. Confidence level those days could be close to zero.
Confidence is a product of our humanness, worth is inherent of our being.
Our worth demands to be respected, and runs deeper than the materialistic contributions that may boost our confidence. Our confidence deserves compassion for its fluidity as a part of the human condition. It’s OK to feel “extra human” sometimes, however our worth is unwavering during these experiences. If anything, our worth is highlighted during our “frumpy” days because when our vulnerability is showing, our worth glistens from our persistence and resiliency traveling along our journeys embracing the beautiful, messy, imperfect, feeling souls that we are.