Yesterday, at a cozy coffee shop in Hamilton, I pondered this very thought.
Truly, think about it with me...
Do we need confidence, like we need water, sleep, food, and safety?
Is it critical that we have confidence in day-to-day life?
Merriam-Webster defines "need" as both, "a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism," and "a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful."
By these definitions alone, I am entirely convinced that confidence is a "need." We absolutely require it for our own well-being. It is also both desirable and useful.
We all have some form of confidence, if we get up in the mornings, dress ourselves, and enter into the world. We could skip all of this, sit at home, and never leave our beds. However, to show up as our true selves, it takes a lot of work, and for most of us, a lot of unlearning.
To keep this simple, let's pretend you are a 30-year-old woman.
As a 3-year-old, you would dress yourself in flower undies, a tutu, a sparkly, rainbow shirt, and a cowboy hat. When you leave the house with your parent/guardian, you would walk right up to a stranger and say, "HIIIIII, want to be friends?"
However, as you grow up, you are told by your mother to not "talk to strangers," that you have to "dress like a lady," and to "quiet down." Society repeats these messages to you hundreds of thousands of times in different ways. "Sit like a lady." "Don't trust anyone." "You're won't fit in unless you wear X."
Eventually, you start to take on these messages. Now, you believe that you MUST wear a modest dress/blazer, respectful heels, and smile, but stay quiet.
Wearing this outfit, and waiting to be spoken to before you speak, is boooorrrrrrring. It's kind of like when you hear messaging about 3 fad diets over and over again. Within no time, you are now gluten free, paleo AND vegan. You can now eat only carrots and lettuce, but you think that's just "the right thing to do."
With this diet example, you can see how hard it is to thrive day-to-day, while taking on everyone else's opinions and ideologies, and accepting them as true.
However, the conditioning of societal norms can be more pervasive, and less obvious to pinpoint.
You want that tattoo and piercing, but you are told it "isn't professional." You want to wear that outfit, but it is "too young for you." You want to show your personality through your jewelry, but you "don't want to be too loud, or make a statement."
This translates into your everyday relationships too.
You want to speak up to your boss, but you don't want to "overstep."
You yearn to tell your partner what you want sexually, but you are too afraid to be "outspoken," "slutty," or shamed for your desires.
You want to speak up to your parents or uncles, but "it isn't your place to say anything."
Fuck all of that shit.
Not only have we been muted and silenced by societal norms, but also our past experiences. This takes unlearning. We can press unmute and slowly tuRn ThaT VOlumE UPPPP!
At this point, we need to channel our inner giggling, twirling, tutu-wearing toddler.
What would she do?
You can get back there. It won't happen overnight, but like I said, you already have some confidence within you.
Decades of messaging can take years of unlearning. AND, in order to feel ok asking for what you truly want out of your relationships, the most important relationship to focus on first, is with yourself.
So is confidence a NEED?
FUcK YeS it is!
Work on yourself. Get out of your own way. Take action. Destroy the cultural messages that do not serve you anymore.
It's never too late to unlearn, relearn and grow!