I drew this picture last week as I was thinking about the fears we grow up with, and how, in the process of healing and growth, we must once again face the fears we grew up with. This is a picture of my two year old son, holding a stuffed lion in his arms, while reaching up about to touch a real lion. It is my prayer that he will be able to face the fears he has in his life — even some fears that will be caused by my imperfect parenting — and face them courageously.
In counseling, one of the things we help clients do is to face their fears. It’s hard to predict when the person is ready to face their deepest fears in the process of counseling, but when it happens, it is the most courageous thing we could ever witness in that person’s life. It is like stepping into the lion’s den and facing the lion they’ve been avoiding all their life.
We all have these lion-like fears, and often times, these fears began when we were little. When a person faces their fears, it is as if they are going back to place where that fear originated to breathe grace, life, and love back into that part of their story.
Photo from firstsliveone.wordpress.com
I’ve always been someone who looked at confident people from a distance and wondered how they got to be so confident. I envied them. They never seem afraid or are filled with self-doubt. I thought they were just perfectly confident all the time. I longed to be like them, and I tried to pull my self-esteem up by its’ bootstraps, trying so hard to eliminate my fears and doubts, but it didn’t work.
Either I wind up feeling depressed because I couldn’t eliminate my fears, or I felt fake trying to suppress my self-doubts, pretending to be somebody I’m not. Either way, I came to realize that my fears and doubt weren’t going anywhere.
I began to think about this. Maybe the path to true confidence and better self-esteem (at least for me) is the journey through my fears and self-doubt. Perhaps the feeling of confidence is not sterile of fears and doubts. In fact, come to think of it, is confidence really confidence if you don’t feel any fear or doubt?
So, recently, whenever I thought about confidence, the image of walking a tight rope would pop into my head. When we walk the line, the reality of falling is always there. The fear of falling is very real and present, but I think confidence is the courage to just take the next step.
Don’t underestimate the tiniest movement, the slightest shift in attitude, or the unnoticeable amounts of trust and faith.
Confidence isn’t a demeanor, but the small choices we are willing to apply our courage to. It is moving forward — even if it is only an inch.