How I changed from being a Confidence Trickster to a Confidence Champion

by Lat Nayar

I was not born confident.

At least it did not seem that way. Firstborn child of two teachers after 3 years of marriage, I was looked forward to. Welcome.

I was born with partial facial paralysis of the left side of my face and my left year was unformed, foetal. Not a pretty sight. Not cute like other children. Not even pleasing.

My parents loved me.

They were migrants who left their home in Kerala, India in search of a better life in Malaysia.

They both left large families. With the hope of helping beloved parents and siblings left behind.

They were strict Asian parents. They believed discipline would assure my future as it shaped my present.

They adored education and achievements and allowed no excuses for lack of either.

As I said, they loved me.

I was precocious. Learning to read early, I amused myself when they were busy. I loved my baby brother who was born 3 years after me.

And I asked questions, countless questions about everything. About why the sky was blue and why the sun was hot. Why this was and that is.

But I did not ask the question that was foremost in my mind. The question that burned a hole in my heart every day.

Why was I born this way?

Why did my neighbours coo over my brother or remark on his cute little boy-ness? Why did the same neighbours look upon me with pitying glances and a slight shake of their heads? Why did they mutter “Poor thing, for a girl to look like that!”?

Why did some relatives ask what my brother could do while they only asked me if they could look closer at my closed up tiny ear?

I grew up excelling in school. Outwardly confident. Class monitor, top grades. This was what my parents expected of me.

And yet, a slight stutter would betray the constant shyness I felt.

After another 10 years, another addition to the family. A gorgeous baby sibling. I felt such love enveloping me. For such perfection.

Teenage angst soon set in. Rebelliousness. I was unruly except where my grades were concerned (old habits die hard). My friends were all starting to preen themselves into more attractive versions of themselves. I pretended not to mind. I did not even try. It was pointless.

Thus, I started to be the “mind” person. They called me Einstein. I was the logical unemotional one. The advisor, counsellor, best friend. Ready to dole out any sort of tips, strategies, to-do’s. From relationship issues to studies. Always unflappable, always ready to make a joke or two. Humor helped.

Confidence was my steadfast shield in my daily battles.

I was a consummate Confidence Trickster. Tricking everyone about how confident I felt.

In university, it all fell apart. I lived away from home for the first time. Away from my parents’ supervision. I played the fool. Had too much fun. Too little studying. I failed badly in my freshman year.

It dawned on me then. The only things I could be relied upon up to that moment— my intelligence and ability to excel — in shatters. It hurt my parents very much.

I felt lost, defiant, unable to explain or express myself. Totally deflated.

Over time, I picked myself up and excelled again. I cleaned up my act. Got my degree. Got a job. Did well. Started meditating. Felt divine love. Fell in love. Got married. Got divorced.

They were all milestones in a life’s journey.

Yet, one thing remained.

I was still a Confidence Trickster. I could call myself highly functioning. I was highly successful at my career. Highly responsible in my commitments and responsibilities. Highly self-assured. Well adjusted.

I acted confidently. I managed teams. I headed projects. I advised others on how to be more confident.

I was also hiding all hurts and pain deep within. Hiding all regrets. Sometimes hiding how much I loved someone. Or cared about something. I seldom relaxed with others. Mostly, I preferred solitude and silence.

I was not alone in that. Most of us are like that. Hiding ourselves.

Till 2 years ago. I realized I wanted more.

I left the great job. I started an app business. I got excited again — to learn and explore. I made good money.

I was advising more people on becoming confident. On communicating better. I spoke from my strengths. I encouraged through motivational exercises and positive talk. I coached on hustling, being tough, moving on and up. To leave weaknesses behind. Insecurities. To deny pain.

Things improved. Yet, I still felt like a Confidence Trickster. Plus, I wasn’t helping others as much as I wanted to help them. I felt I could do better. Reach them better. Feel and heal better.

So, I took the next step.

I distanced myself from most other responsibilities and activities. Even groups of people. I allowed myself to fully express myself. Bit by bit. Not always but more often. Mostly to myself and sometimes someone else.

I stopped being a Confidence Trickster.

I re-established my meditation practice — going deeper into the basics. Connection, breathing, dissolving into Oneness. I enjoyed my spiritual ascent.

I slept more, ate better, started exercising. I hung out with people whom I felt aligned with. I honored my instincts.

I started writing. And to share my writing. It feels uncomfortable at times, this vulnerability.

Vulnerability is necessary for growth.
I realized then that my journey was my salvation. That each person’s journey has to be the foundation of their salvation.

If they would let it. If they would honor it and learn from it. If they could embrace their pain for just the time it takes to learn and let go. Release it to whichever place pain goes to. Only leaving echoes in our hearts. Echoes that reverberate within us and make us truly better, stronger and more compassionate. More loving.

I learned that from my journey.

That’s when I changed. How I changed. From being a Confidence Trickster to a Confidence Champion.

I am learning now to let love wash over me and water my soul. So that buds of true confidence continue to grow and flower and blossom. Heady fragrance!

We were all champions when we were born. We were all success stories starting out. We all won the “preconception” lottery just by being born.

Every newborn wears invisible laurels and medals on his or her chest. Till the growing years tears us down and makes us forget. Like I did.

A champion is not always a winner. But she is always trying to be better. Moment by moment.

I am truly ready now to help others make their own journey. To being more complete, happier and more fulfilled. To become their own Life Champion.

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