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  • Dora Nudelman

Recapturing Our Confidence From Our Youth

When we are younger, we are fearless, adventurous, and brave, not to mention full of hope for our future. We feel invincible, like nothing can touch us, and we use that confidence to propel us forward into no man’s land where we take risks and try new things without ever batting an eyelash.

But then life comes along and kicks us in the butt and suddenly we feel apprehensive, insecure, and scared to live life as we want. However, the truth is, we do not need to allow our setbacks to cause us to lose that confidence we had from yesteryear. Instead, we can recapture it simply by choosing to do so.

While I am a generally confident person, there were moments in my past when certain experiences knocked the wind out of my sails. Regardless, my adventurous spirit never waned, even if at times I was afraid to act on it. So even when my fears got the better of me, regardless, I knew that if I wanted to be happy I could no longer allow my fears to run my life. So little by little I started taking baby steps towards what I wanted to do, even though sometimes it still scared the living crap out of me. But I knew that I had only two options, i.e., hide from life or embrace it full on no matter what. Now, while I still may not be as carefree as when I was twenty-two, I do know that challenging myself past my comfort zone as it stands today is the only way that I am going to achieve that type of confidence again.

The point is, we can never give up. We can learn and expand and then pick ourselves up and try again. Because if we allow ourselves to succumb to our fears, we will place limits on how happy our lives can truly be. Yet, if we choose to be brave and live life as we want, even though setbacks and failures have knocked us down, we will find that youthful confidence that we had in days gone by. The goal, to be clear, is not to try to obtain “perfection,” or to turn back the hands of time. The point, plain and simple, is to keep going in spite of our obstacles knowing that it will be well worth the effort in the long run.

Living in fear is basically just existing. So we need to decide that we are going to live our lives to the fullest no matter what. Now, if we need to find exit strategies or coping mechanisms while we work on our mindset, then so be it. But eventually we will realize that the more “risks” we are willing to take in life, the more joy we will ultimately experience.

So whether a bad break up has left us feeling insecure and fearful of being vulnerable again, a health issue has frozen us in our tracks, or a failure has made us doubt ourselves, always remember that every day is a gift and a new opportunity. Consequently, we must make the most of what we have and where we are because that appreciation will pull us forward into the life we want to live. Furthermore, we must know that our past does not define us and that our setbacks do not control who we can be moving forward.

Know that things can always get better if you believe that they can and that they will. But if you keep spinning your wheels in fear, nothing will likely change. Now, change may not happen overnight, and it may not always be easy, but your only other option is defeat, and that is never a good one to go with. Life happens, but we can always make choices along the way to influence how it will ultimately turn out or, at the very least, the kind of experience we will choose to have. After all, what do we have to lose? Because a life lived in fear is a life full of regret.

It is true, we may not be as naive as when we were younger, and it was likely that naivete that often propelled our confidence in the first place. But we can still choose adventure, joy, excitement, and to live our lives to the fullest, starting with where we are right now. That’s because confidence is a mindset that we can recapture whenever we choose to do so. So if we have allowed our past to rule our present, let’s decide now to allow our present to create the future that we want to live.

Confidence is multifaceted. Meaning, even if we are confident in many areas of our lives, it can take only one area in which we feel uncertain to trip us up and leave us dazed and confused as to what happened. So we have to look at the bigger picture and not ignore the things that we need to change in order to find our confidence again. We cannot mask one area by overcompensating in another. Hence, we need to be honest with ourselves and not hide behind feeling “just fine.” There needs to be balance because we cannot fool ourselves for long. And so we need to face our fears and realize that we can be confident in all areas of life equally if we acknowledge our insecurities and move past them. Remember, fear is learned but it needn’t be permanent. Everything will ultimately be okay, but we need to ask ourselves if we really want to wait on the sidelines until we find out.

Our energy is not split and we are not compartmentalized. Think of it like a tire that is big and strong and resilient. But then that tire gets a little pinhole and suddenly it becomes weakened and vulnerable until it becomes completely flat. Confidence works in the same way. If we allow a pinhole of insecurity to deflate us, it might not happen overnight, but it will eventually. Yet, we have a choice in mending it before that happens. And so, we cannot rely solely on feeling confident in most areas because eventually the holes in our confidence will start to shine everywhere.

The truth is, we cannot be down on ourselves for not being twenty-two anymore because that time came with its own challenges. So we must honor the wisdom that we have acquired over the years and see the value in that too. Moreover, we need to know that we can always regain our personal sense of confidence at any age as long as we apply what we have learned in positive ways. And that includes not allowing life’s knocks to set us back and, instead, choosing to move forward in spite of them.

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