Why reaching rock-bottom confidence was one of the best things for me

These words in my 2015 journal have been the perfect accompaniment to confidence-seeking.

I never used to describe myself as confident. When I’m asked to describe myself I’m inclined to descriptors such as ‘introspective’ ‘sensitive’ and ‘considered’. My Myers-Briggs type is INFP, summed up simply as ‘idealist’. For too many years, I have vigorously fought this type. Even as a female, where it is — arguably — more appropriate to be an introverted sort, I still felt the pressure from a very young age to calm down, to get out of my head, to be chatty, bubbly, energetic, to be direct when communicating. And to become confident, for it seemed I lacked this magical trait which everyone else seemed to have. I believed I had none, and that unless I ‘became confident’ would never do all sorts of brilliant things I wanted to do. The trouble was the way I defined confidence.

The beautiful thing I’m stumbling upon as I approach my 30th birthday is something about confidence. A funny thing that if someone else had told me, I probably would have dismissed as an explanation that took the easy way out. Confidence has different types. My quiet manner is not at odds with confidence. I’m not somebody who, because I am energised by being alone, work best independently, and am at my most creative when I’m up late at night surrounded by books and the soft sounds of Enya, cannot be confident. I do not, I repeat I do not, have to learn to be more extroverted to nail the confidence mission. I can be confident, and an introvert, in my own way.

For me this is changing everything. I won’t say it has changed it all, already. I’m a believer in the journey not the destination. But something is taking shape within me that is having a beautiful affect on my life.

Observing my relationships and my successes and pain points in my life today, I notice two things. The first, I am spending more quality time with the friends and family I love so much. I have opened myself up a little more as I have come to know and understand myself better. I do what I need to do to reenergise and that makes me a more engaged and present partner, friend and daughter. The second, I act with courage. I guarantee that this is different to my feeling courageous. But I am pursuing opportunities, and I am reaching out to people, that I would never have dreamed of not so long ago. I am running with life now — grabbing it with both hands. I am gaining confidence right now, my kind of confidence, a confidence that is uniquely that of an INFP, and a confidence that is uniquely, beautifully, me.