Musings & Threads. On Confidence.
by Angela Rieck
One of the things that I miss most after losing my husband is my self-confidence. I have spent some time reflecting on that. Confidence was never my strong point and my father’s voice is a good reason for that. He criticized me from the moment I woke up to the moment my head hit the pillow. Visitors commented on how relentless he was in his verbal debasement of his children. In truth, he was just angry at himself. Unfortunately 50s families authorized men to be king of the household and enabled them to act like my father, while our mothers clandestinely manipulated the situation to minimize the damage.
But while there is sufficient blame to be assessed, I think that a lack of self-confidence is also inherent in our human existence, it is just a difference of magnitude. My husband had self-confidence because he was the beloved son of a family that adored him, but finding a way to continue to be that son held him back.
I think that a lack of self-confidence allows us to explore, learn and better ourselves. I believe that a lack of self-confidence often co-exists with intelligence and observation, which opens a window onto our limitations. In hindsight, I realize that I have gained confidence from others. While I eschewed it, I secretly fed upon it. In school, it was my grades, papers and professors; in work it was my promotions and raises; and in life it was my friends, my family, and my husband. Jeff was my source of self-confidence during our marriage. Just knowing that I had someone who thought that I was everything allowed me take chances, to fail and get up again. With his passing and the enormity of my other losses, I find myself distanced from that feeling of confidence. So now it is up to me to find confidence in myself and to build a new life. It continues to be a daunting task.