Self-confidence is a complicated concept. has two definitions: 1) realistic confidence in one’s one judgment, ability, power, etc. 2) excessive or inflated confidence in one’s own judgement, ability, power, etc. Self-confidence simultaneously defines a “realistic” and an “excessive or inflate” confidence. There is such a fine line between confidence and arrogance and ego. It feels like we are constantly climbing this hill to acquire skills, titles, peer support, and experience so that we’re confident in what we’re doing, but if you aren’t paying attention, you very quickly walk right over the top of the hill and start letting your ego and arrogance lead you in the wrong direction. Ideally we’re able to climb to the top and stop, look around, and maybe find a bigger mountain to start climbing. So what tools can we use to gain confidence but avoid arrogance?

Another interesting component of self-confidence is social support. Under self-confidence Wikipedia write, “Being confident in yourself is infectious if you present yourself well, others will want to follow in your foot steps towards success.” Self-confidence can be directly linked to other people’s opinions of you. If they like or agree with you, this can boost your self-confidence and vice versa. There is a continuous game to wear clothes that allow us to be unique but also to fit in. We try to exercise so we look good and so people like us.

With Vipassana, everything is supposed to be observed within. Therefore, I think it’s possible to do everything this tradition asks for and reduce your self-confidence. It’s interesting that truth and accepted truth are two different things. I’ve always thought that self-confidence is a key to life, but maybe this is why it’s articulated that you don’t need social support to walk on the path, and that you’re actually better off following dhamma alone if you can’t find any good role models.

Eventually, I think self-confidence will grow as my beliefs and actions align with truth, but I didn’t realize that my self-confidence may dip at times even if I’m following the path correctly. Time to align with truth by doing my evening meditation.

This entry was posted in Observations by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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