Confidence in Something

We all want to be confident people, do we not? But few of us may realize that we already are. The word confident has as its root, the Latin, fidere, which means "to trust or have faith in." Given this precise etymological meaning, it isn't hard to see that we all have confidence in something.

Over the years, We've had many students complain that they wish they were more confident. They see others (whom they believe are confident) striding into life as though with some special license or talent that they themselves lack. The standard complaint is usually something such as, "I'm not a very trusting person, because I'm just too afraid that things won't go well. I wish I was more trusting." In this belief complex, a chasm stretches between what they believe about who they are and what they would like to believe. How, after all, do you get from being a fearful, untrusting person to being a confident, trusting one? Field theory, in its typically paradoxical fashion, allows us to point out to these students that they are far more trusting than they may be recognizing.

Fear is a kind of faith, after all (the faith that things will go badly), and the trust they have placed in fear imbues them with a confidence every bit as formidable as the happier confidence they see in others and wish they, too, could embody. Like the atheist, whose faith that there is no God rivals the faith of the most devote theist, these students have overlooked how confident and trusting they are. With this recognition, the problem shifts dramatically, and the chasm becomes a puddle-jump. Changing yourself from a fearful, untrusting person to a confident, trusting one is a Herculean task, but changing from trusting something you don't want to trust any longer to trusting something you do is a midcourse correction. "I'm not a very trusting person" evaporates in the sunlight of the more profound realization that trusting things to go badly is indeed confidence-even if it has its hat on sideways. In light of that light, the choice to trust in desirable outcomes seems almost absurdly easy, and one is left wondering why one didn't make that better choice earlier.

Within the Field theory view, confidence, like choice itself, is not an option. Our nature is such that we have to have confidence in something, just as we have no choice but to make choices (about who we are and what's real). We're responsible for these choices whether we make them wittingly or unwittingly. Everyone in the world is confident. Everyone in the world has faith. Everyone in the world trusts something. The moment we bring what we trust into friendly agreement with what we want to trust, we become available to a new ease and efficiency that can never reveal itself in the landscape of contradiction.


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