The Confidence Paradox

The Confidence Paradox
November 21, 2016 No Comments » Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

the-confidenceThe strangest thing about confidence for a writer is that we work so hard for it then we stumble, get a bad review, or just plain shoot ourselves in the foot (metaphorically).  Often, we give up our dreams because we can’t take the pressure of trying to maintain our confidence against perceived unending attacks.

In the Psychology Today article, The Paradox of Confidence by Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W., the author states many stumble in their quest for internal security and confidence because they continue to measure their success against others.  How many of us who have published look at our sales stats and standings as a measurement of how well we are doing…not the book, mind you, but we mentally are doing.  The suspense and elation of going up five slots on the top 100 (Oh my gosh, will it be a bestseller?) Or the fear and depression of seeing it drop (It must be a sign it is awful and I should just quit writing).

It becomes a rollercoaster of emotions draining your energy and confidence. It begins to show in your work. Now, what I get from the article is to deny your vulnerabilities means you are acting in a way others may see as false.  Everyone has weaknesses and strengths. It’s why many of us band together to provide support and information.

945386ee28ab5fd0330c147dcaf3aea8The author suggests embracing your weaknesses and concentrating on your strengths.  A quote I’ve seen states: Everyone falls apart at times, you just don’t want to set up camp and stay there.  When a bad review hits you, take it in, think about the merits or points you disagree with, and then let it go.  It is one person’s opinion and when you can let other people’s opinions roll off your back, then that is confidence.

From The Paradox of Confidence:

There’s a paradox here. Embracing your vulnerability and no longer hiding from it means that you’re no longer concerned about others’ judgment of you. When you act in such a manner your relationship with yourself surges. This is strength and confidence!

The more you do this the more you will actually grow in confidence. So the paradox to being more confident is that you need to accept and embrace your frailty, and, then, your confidence will likely grow. If you try to disguise your insecurity, you betray yourself and stay mired in insecurity

We are all on the same journey but with paths of our own. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that will allow us to don our capes and boots and fly high above all negativity.  So we have to learn to deal with it if we want to succeed.

I’ve read that the great singer, Barbra Streisand, still gets stage fright to the point of wanting to run right before each performance.  This is a woman who has sold millions of records but still confronts her fears each and every time.  Then she steps into the spotlight.  Nobody shoves her.  She knows what she has to do.  She accepts her anxiety and funnels that energy into her performance.

We need to keep channeling our energies into believing in ourselves and our work. Keep reading and writing. It only gets better as you practice and learn.

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Nancy E Miller Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.

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