Posted by: GeekHiker | February 8, 2010

VoiceMail of Confidence

A friend of mine recently got married, a fact which makes me unbelievably happy.

I got a voicemail from her the other day, the first in several months, and it was quite unlike anything I’d ever heard before.  There was a change.  Something different.

I must admit, it was really quite striking.

There was a confidence in her voice that I’d never heard before.  An underlying happiness, calmness, and fulfillment that resonated in a way I’d never quite heard previously.  Yes, all that I heard in a few seconds of speaking.

It made me think about that confidence, and how often people who are in relationships tell me, a single guy, how confidence is such a key.  I don’t deny that it is.  I get that confidence is attractive, in both men and women.

At the same time, though, I find myself thinking, inside, “Oh, bullshit.  That’s easy for YOU to say.”  I’m aware that it’s not entirely true, but it’s my gut reaction all the same.

Why?  Because I think there’s a lot of confidence that comes from being in a relationship, and having been there a long time ago myself, I know how easy it is to forget that fact when one is in a relationship.  It’s a confidence that comes from knowing that there’s someone out there, not related to you by birth, that loves you, believes in you, and supports you for exactly who you are.  In the relationship, you become accustomed to it quickly, so much so you don’t even know it’s there, that you aren’t aware of the boost it’s giving you.

Truth is, I can be as confident in myself as I can be but, honestly, I don’t think it will ever measure up to the confidence level that I felt when I was in a relationship.  I would wager that it’s that way for a lot of people.

It’s different, somehow.  As though right now I am confident in who I am, but when someone else is with you because of who you are, it takes it to a whole new level.  Suddenly that confidence can’t be questioned or excused as simple bravado.  It’s validated.

Sure, there are people out there are naturally confident.  Without them, how would we know who was and wasn’t?  I suspect, though, that there’s a lot more of us who are somewhere in-between.  We’re confident in ourselves, sure, but not as much as when there’s someone behind us.

(As the saying goes: “behind every successful man stands a woman,” and there’s certainly a grain of truth to that.  Heck, maybe that’s why so many guys are suckered into affairs: with the knowledge and confidence of having a woman at home, he’s more confident as a whole and as a man, making him more attractive to other women.  Opportunities present themselves that didn’t before; some men find that new temptation irresistible.

That’s just an off-the-cuff theory, though. 😉  I digress.)

Thing is, as I listened to that voice-mail, I found myself yearning for the confidence I heard in her.  I feel okay about myself, comfortable in my own skin, and try to project the most confident person I can when I’m out and about.

Still, I can’t help but feel that, deep down, I’m just faking it.

And that I’m not even doing it that well.

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Responses

  1. Amen! Can’t agree more, esp. the “it’s easy for YOU to say!” That’d have been my exact reaction, with eye-rolling and an ironic smirk to boot!

    Heck, I feel like I have been faking it my whole life, but on the contrary, I actually get insecure when I am in a relationship (I am using the present tense because it’s a constant truth). Weird, I know.

  2. I’m not confident that I would agree … I’ll go ask the Wife 🙂

  3. The trick is right here:
    “It’s a confidence that comes from knowing that there’s someone out there, not related to you by birth, that loves you, believes in you, and supports you for exactly who you are.”

    You have to believe THAT even when you’re not in the relationship.

    I remember being where you are – thinking “shoot I know I’m a catch and I’m confident in myself – so how come no one else is?!”

    I think true confidence could give a crap whether someone else thinks you’re “worthy” or not. And that’s totally sexy. That’s the place to get to when you’re single. Because I think sometimes when you’re in a relationship, you can end up feeling a little less confident – a little needier and less independent – than you did before you got into it. So the best thing you can do is take chances, live the life you dream of living, do scary stuff – all the things that build confidence – BEFORE you ever get into a relationship.

    Before I met Mr. W, I was coming out of a trainwreck of a love affair. Maybe this gave me an edge because I KNEW I deserved more – the very best, in fact. I could have crumbled and drawn into myself, worrying that I wasn’t worthy of love and that every man might cheat on me the way Evil Ex did. But instead I BELIEVED with all my heart that there was someone good out there who would adore me. Then I started living my life from a loving place – climbed Half Dome – planned trips with friends – got myself to a confident place. And boom.

    One last tip – talk nicely to and about yourself. Don’t put yourself down (in your head or with your mouth). People will believe what you teach them to believe. So teach them that you’re awesome.

  4. TOTALLY know what you mean. I like the phrase “fake it ’till you make it,” but…don’t know if that always works on that “deep down” level.

  5. I sat and thought about this for a while. We can exist alone. And I think as we grow older there are things we prefer to do without someone around (like any type of hair removal, really. no one needs an audience for that!) But really, we’re awesome and we know it. We will always be awesome.

    I think we can see with your V-mail friend and the non-single people who have responded that there is something strengthening about relationships. Not just with a love interest but with friends and family. But in loving someone, in being a part of a couple has such possibilities for growing as a person through loving another. It’s like getting all the extra points in a video game so you can see the alternate ending where there is singing and fireworks.

    So at the end of all my thinking, I’m left wondering: Is it really a lack of confidence you’re experiencing or an awareness of the desire to be in a relationship? How does wanting to add something to your life make you less?

    That will be 21.85 please. And a pizza. I like onions. 🙂

  6. @missmccracken : So you settled on the pizza in the end? Strange I would have chosen the movie 😉

    Ok I’ll stop trolling your blog. This was an interesting post even though I don’t buy this theory. I know people who actually don’t need others to feel confident, my father is certainly one of those.

    The last paragraph in Mel Heth’s post is the best advice I’ve read so far. Am I too cynical, or is this confidence thing like smoke in the air? It comes an goes and sometimes disappears really fast whether you are in a relationship or not. Besides, if the former was so confidence inducing, there wouldn’t be so many issues related to divorces, break-ups and whatever.

    By the way, isn’t it weird that this comes up a few days before the 14th?

    • Gany: I haven’t forgotten movies. 🙂 But this sounds like it requires more talking, and I don’t like talking during a movie.

  7. You nailed it with this topic. After almost every sentence I was all “OH HECK YES.”

    For some reason I connected it to something my friend Diz holds against me; about three years ago in a trip, everyone decided to sleep in a motel and I, tired and alone, decided to head home. Next day they continued the party on the beach and I wasn’t there, she hates me for it, claims that there was no reason for me to leave them. But everyone else had SOMEONE to sleep with in this filthy little motel, I on the other hand was alone, lets begin with how safe was it for me to stay alone in this room that barely had a lock? And end with who wants to sleep alone in a strange (AND UNSAFE) place that is basically made TO HAVE SEX?!

    I’m connecting this with how one feels safer and able to do so many things when there’s someone, how one feels entirely different just because you can count on this person. How prolonged single life freaking sucks sometimes.

    See, you just depressed me. Thanks.

  8. Ah. See, this wouldn’t work for me: all of my neuroses come out when I’m in a relationship (as in, Why is this person with me?), such that I’m much calmer outside of one.

    Still, I get some of this with friends, insofar as these are people who I enjoy and who enjoy me. Not as intense or exclusive as the romantic relationship—which may be precisely why I welcome friendships and skirt around the edges of romance.

    Anyway, I think missmccracken nails it: Just because you want something more doesn’t mean that who you are right now is someone less.

  9. Confidence. It comes and goes. With or without a partner. Rarely is it a constant.

  10. Ooh. This is good. The thing that frustrates me the most is when this kind of thing comes up when people in relationships are trying to give me advice – “oh, just be confident in who you are and things will come together.” “When I finally learned to love myself, that’s when Mr. (Or Ms.) Right came along.” I don’t buy that. I do agree that it’s easier to be confident when in a relationship though. Like you said, all the great things you know about yourself are then validated by another person. A person you love and trust.

  11. “As though right now I am confident in who I am, but when someone else is with you because of who you are, it takes it to a whole new level.”

    I agree with this. I am one of those people who says that you need to be confident in yourself, know who you are, blah, blah, blah but there really is a whole ‘nother level of confidence that comes from someone who loves you and wants to be with in in spite of the morning breath, stinky socks (hey, it happens!), and other things that we like to hide from other people.

  12. K – LOL, I like the “ironic smirk” touch. I understand the idea of insecurity in a relationship, though I think that’s less a matter of personal confidence as it is the situation one is in…

    Homer-Dog – What did she say?

    Mel Heth – You believed that there was someone out there that would adore you. Okay, cool. But be honest, how did you feel about yourself, your attractiveness, who you are AFTER you met Mr. W? Did nothing really change?

    Zevensphin – Thanks for stopping by! I don’t think it works on a deep down level; then again, what other choice do we have?

    MissMcCracken – I don’t think that wanting to add something to my life makes me less. But I do think that I can be more. I don’t know if that makes sense…

    Gany – I’m confused. Stop “trolling”? Does that mean you’ll stop reading? Anyway, I know those people, too; like I said, how would we know the rest of us if it werent’ for them? As for the timing, I actually drafted this post weeks ago! LOL

    Narami – I totally understand why you went home. Given the situation, it makes perfect sense. Sorry I depressed ya though.

    AbsurdBeats – Hm. I’ll admit there’s a different calmness being single, not having to be concerned with what anyone else thinks. There’s a certain freedom in that.

    CMACC – I think that’s definitely true. (Note that I resisted the urge to say “easy for you to say” LOL)

    WaitingForButterflies – Yeah, don’t ya just love the advice?

    Dingo – I think you’re the only person here in a relationship to make that comment. You and Mel Heth could probably have a heck of a discussion about this topic!

  13. GH, you made perfect sense 🙂 I’m glad to hear it!!

  14. No, by trolling I referred to my little exchange with Missmccracken. I wasn’t sure whether it was beyond blog etiquette or not:).

  15. Any confidence from your adoring following on blogger? We ❤ you. 🙂

  16. […] think this is what geekhiker was talking about.  I’ve decided to make a nice breakfast from now on, but I know I’m going to miss the […]


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