Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lovely Shade of Grey

I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately.  What does it mean to be truly confident?  And what does it feel like?  Why is it important?  Why do we value confidence?  Basically, I have come up with more questions than I have answers.  I sometimes wonder if, when I see someone who appears to have it all together, someone who walks tall and speaks in definitives, I wonder if deep down inside they have the exact opposite, conflicting persona when no one is around to judge.

My girls have confidence of the purest kind.   The kind that can only exist in a child.  The kind of confidence that comes from the absence of grey areas.  Where everything in life can fit into the black paint can or the white.  You can be right or wrong.  Happy or sad.  Good or bad.

And never is this confidence as apparent as when I hear the words... "I can do it."  

I can put the toothpaste on myself.
I can make the snacks for our friends.
I can climb on the cupboard and get my own cup.
I can draw a dinosaur.  
I can do my own seatbelt.

As adults, we yearn for this child-like confidence.  To stand up and say, 

I can chair this committee. 
I can lead the meeting.
I can make this presentation.
I can commit to daily exercise.
I can be the best mom. 

But this kind of confidence can only be found in the very young.  Because somewhere between Lexi and Callie, the colours start to mix.  The black starts seeping into the white.  Slowly at first but eventually the time comes when there are no longer two separate colors but just one large puddle of grey.

And once those colors are mixed, there is no going back.  All those forceful "I cans" that were said with insistence and with the true belief that one is fully capable, turn into "I can but..."

I can put the toothpaste on myself but I'll get it all over the sink.
I can makes snacks for our friends but are crackers and peanut butter good enough?
I can climb on the cupboard and get my own cup but I might fall down.
I can draw a dinosaur but it doesn't really look like one.
I can do my own seatbelt but it feels good when mom takes care of me.

This is the beginning of growing up.  When we begin to realize that sometimes we do the right things for the wrong reasons.  When we can feel happy to go but sad to leave both at the same time.  When we begin to see the good and the bad in every decision.  When we say, "I can but..."

So is true confidence pure as in a child?  Is it saying, "I can..." without hesitation.  Or is true confidence saying, "I can but..." and then doing the I can anyway?  What do you think about this lovely shade of grey?

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