Monday, January 05, 2009

Confidence



Ah the new year is upon us. Time to make some more resolutions, time to wipe the slate clean, time to thank our lucky stars that 2008 is behind us (well at least I will, 2008 was a . . . difficult year for me).

Time for Adrienne to wax philosophical . . . ehem . . .:

I take singing lessons. I really enjoy my singing lessons, and my teacher is one of the best singing teachers I've ever had (and yes I have had plenty). My voice is, well, pretty darn awesome now thanks to him. But the reason I enjoy the singing lessons the most is that every time I am there I feel good about myself. What's more, if I am feeling less than stellar, my singing teacher likes to tell me to feel more confident, to trust my abilities, to be a diva (but a good diva, a fabulous diva, not a "I want only red M & Ms in my dressing room" diva).

And this is something I don't quite do as much as I should.

It isn't just my singing teacher who has pointed this out to me. I have also been told that I can come across as a little tentative at times in other parts of my life. Heck I have one friend who enjoys telling me, "Get confident, stupid!" (the joke being that telling someone they are stupid at the same time as they need to get confident is a bit not helpful . . . yeah, anyway, it's a silly joke . . .)

You might not be able to tell from my online persona that I have a slight lack of confidence now and then. I work very hard at being professional, and keeping my personal life out of my blog as much as possible (a personal choice), but the fact is, we're all human, we all have our own issues.

And it's time for me to start being confident.

Now I'm not talking about overconfidence. That isn't the same thing, it isn't even the same word. Nor am I talking about false confidence, or hubris, or any of that. I am talking about a confidence in the things I do well. A confidence in my abilities. Heck even a confidence in others.

I think often we are trained at an early age that to have pride in oneself is showing hubris. That we must, especially as women, be modest in our endeavors, not shine a light on ourselves. Now I should add onto this that that was in no way my upbringing, I had (and have) the most supportive parents in the world who loved to see me flourish. But I also lost all my friends in grade 8, with the leader of the pack claiming the reason for the ostricisation was because I bragged too much.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and has stuck with me since. How do you demonstrate confidence in your abilities without offending others? And you know what I've realised? As long as you aren't overestimating your talents, you can't worry too much what other people think in that regard. I have spent so much time concerned that others will think I am "bragging" that I have hurt myself on the other end of the spectrum by having people get frustrated at my lack of self confidence. I can't please everyone, and at the same time I am doing a great disservice to myself in not believing in all the work I do. I work hard. I do. I have grown so much as an actor and a writer, as a singer, as a person, and I should be proud of all that I have accomplished, and all that I can do.

And so should you.

Of course in our pride of ourselves we must also be proud of others. We must still support our friends, and give them their moment to shine. It isn't about us all the time after all. Having pride in yourself does not mean you negate the achievements of others. Have confidence and compassion. I think that is a marvelous combination.

So this year, I am going to be confident. I have no doubt I will have to fake it at first, but after a while it will become habit (I hope). I think too this is a good year for any of you guys who might be doubting yourselves, who might have had a lot of rejection lately from agents/publishers/casting directors, anyone, to just sit back and see how far you have come from whence you started. I have no doubt that you all have grown in some amazing way this past year, have done some amazing things. No matter how small they may appear at first.

Let 2009 be the year of being proud of ourselves!

Yup it's time for us all to get confident, stupid!

6 comments:

Catherine J Gardner said...

I think I invented lack of confidence. :(

I wouldn't have guessed you weren't confident from your blog, but then, I've never thought you a bragger either.

Here's to a more confident 2009.

J M McDermott said...

Pirates are confident, aren't they?

I think you should rephrase your resolution.

"This year, I shall be more like a pirate! Because they are confident! And fabulous dressers! And travel lots!"

Are ninjas confident? I don't know if they are or they are not. They do seem to have a high suicide rate due to seppuku. Since suicide is probably not an indicator of self-esteem. I would propose that ninjas are a moody, insecure bunch. Whatever you do, do not resolve to be like a ninja.

Mary said...

I agree with Cate, you seem neither unconfident nor a bragger.

Most people’s confidence wanes now and then.

If you are an actor, a writer, a marathon runner, or a composer it is not bragging to tell people that that’s what you do, or, if asked, to tell them what you’re working on or have recently achieved.

If a dentist meets someone at a cocktail party and tells them she has opened a chain of dental surgeries and business is good, she is not bragging but making social conversation. If that person is upset or criticises the dentist simply for being the successful person she is, that is not the dentist’s fault. If, however, this cocktail party is part of a dental convention, and the dental industry as a whole is in a slump, it would be insensitive of our dentist to say too much of her success.

But you can’t fake confidence. You have to BE confident and happy with who you are. Which is easier said than done.

Apologies for this long comment, Adrienne. Wishing you a confident and happy new year!! :)

Doug A Scott said...

The "Get confident, stupid!" bit reminds me of one of my favourite book titles at the library:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Self-Esteem.

Um. Yeah. Moving on.

I have always had a deep and abiding lack of confidence. Forty years in and I still can't take a compliment, no matter how accurate. I usually brush them aside with an "ehn, no biggie" sort of moment, even if said compliment comes from my wife. Drives her crazy sometimes.

Adrienne said...

catherine - and I would never have guessed the same in reading your blog either. Which suggests to me that deep down both of us do have faith in ourselves. We just have to let it shine even if we are feeling less than secure in the moment! I know we can do it!

JMM - yes but pirates also steal and murder and live outside the law. They live short brutal lives and have terrible hygiene. One could also suggest that their need for exerting force on others is a desperate attempt to hide deep seated insecurities. I think I'd much rather be like a ninja, who train for years, focus their minds, and even though they may commit ritual suicide from time to time, it comes from a great sense of self. That no one is worthy of killing a ninja, but himself.

Still . . . I'd rather just be me, but a more confident me!

Mary - no apologies necessary! And I know what you mean about just having to be happy with yourself, that you can't fake it. That is the ultimate goal. But I also find that sometimes if you fake something at first, you can actually grown to believe it. For example I always hated feta cheese, but loved the smell. So one day I decided I was going to pretend to like it. I kept pretending until, suddenly one day, I liked it! That's my plan with the confidence thing, to treat it like feta.

doug - the key in taking a compliment is realising that it offends the person who made it when you just brush it aside. Look at the situation as less about you (even though technically in the moment it is) and more about them. It might make you feel uncomfortable to just say "Thank you", but you are doing it to make the person who gave you the compliment happy in return. Make it about them and I guarantee you'll be able to do it so much easier!

And you actually know the person who told me I should get confident, stupid, btw . . .

Erin said...

I love this post. Go Adrienne!