The Confidence Balloon.

The other day I was thinking about confidence and why some people have more and some people have less and can we ever recover the confidence that we’ve lost. Can we simply tell someone “you’re awesome” and “you can do it” and have them be a brand new confident person. Can we go back and change the past any more than we can get into a time machine and change the future. Simply put, can we make it all better?

Imagine that when we’re born we all have this beautiful balloon and it’s full to the brim of confidence. Imagine that when we’re born we think everyone loves us, everyone wants to hang out with us and that our value and worth are very high. And then as time goes by someone either through comment or deed, sticks a safety pin in our balloon. And little by little our balloon has 1000 holes. Through these holes our self-confidence slowly seeps out. We don’t even see it. We barely notice and then one day we wake up and realize that we don’t know our worth. That we don’t believe in ourselves. That we’re not sure how loveable and amazing we are. If we even are. Now some people will have a roll of tape that they’ll learn to carry with them and every once in awhile they’ll get the tape out and cover a hole. Not perfect. Not full proof but better than nothing. These pieces of tape can be in the form of self-deprecating humor, sarcasm, perfectionism, boastful behavior, being a people pleaser and many more. Maybe this is a form of resilience. Rather than let the balloon completely run out of air we try to save it. Any way we can. But underneath it all is a baseline concern that we’re not enough. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not good looking enough. Not tough enough. Just not enough. And some people don’t even have a roll of tape. They just walk around deflated.

So say we don’t have a time machine and we can’t go back and undo that thing your mom said (by the way she probably has no idea she said it) or that thing your baseball coach did or even that time when that girl said no when you asked her to prom. And we certainly can’t go back and make your parents stay together, make your dad stop drinking and sadly we can’t undo abuse and neglect. So what do we do? Just keep buying big rolls of tape? And why do some people need bigger rolls of tape than others even though they have the same amount of pin pricks in their balloon? I don’t know. Those are big questions. I think we can mostly only go forward and try to shift the way we relate to the past, the things done and the things said. Anyone who tells you they’ll make it all go away might need another look in the mirror.

So, buy some tape and use it wisely. Try to figure out when you started thinking x.y.z. Do more than make a note of it. Go deep into that pain and then move forward. Sometimes things are good and sometimes you get triggered. Try to get triggered less. Try to recognize it. Don’t feel like you always have to find the sunny side of the street all the time. Because always finding the sunny side of the street or the silver lining can be a form of tape too. Recognize it. Feel it. And try not to believe everything you think. It’s not all true. Not even close. As time goes by maybe you’ll need less tape. Maybe some of your pin pricks will close. Maybe our balloon doesn’t need to be as full as it once did. Just know that it’s likely you are better, smarter, tougher and greater than you think.