The presence of confidence

I surreptitiously spy upon other people while they are living their lives. Unknown to them, I survey their actions, listen to their attitudes, and gaze upon their accomplishments. Watching them encounter challenges, I am often humbled by their bravery and confidence.

Some people take on life’s challenges because they have a certain kind of confidence that ensures their success. Success is not necessarily that they accomplish the specific task. Success is instantly measured because that person chose to meet the challenge, regardless of the outcome.

My outcome-based criteria often stops me before I have even begun. For all my life, my confidence has been fed by successful outcomes. I did not take on what I knew I could not complete. Living such a limited existence has kept me from exploring what Joseph Campbell called “your bliss.”

I was called to many things that brought me bliss while I was growing up, but never pursued them because I lacked confidence that I could. I let others encourage me down the path of least resistance.

I blame them not – this is one of the lessons I came here to learn. Other people are living instruments who help instill this lesson. There is a next iteration of my existence and this quality of confidence will be required.

Growing up late in life, I wonder at the luxury of exploring my bliss now. I know what calls to me and exploring what captures my interest is bliss in itself. Exploration often has no outcome except discovery. That discovery can be anything from an ancient artifact to new self-revealing truths, methods, talents, and ways of being in the world.

I am not so confident that I can attach an outcome to my explorations except that confidence itself is now allowed to be the outcome.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

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12 Responses to “The presence of confidence”

  1. jeffstroud Says:


    Not to quibble with you but I think you exude more confidence that you are aware of! With your thoughts created into words/language that express your journey of awareness to discovery. The discovery is not about the outcome, it is about the journey in itself!
    Well done!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      good morning, Jeff! Thanks for your confidence in reinforcing my confidence 🙂

      You are right — my journey IS one of ongoing awareness, opening more and more awareness, becoming aware of what I could not see, hear, feel, or sense in the moment before. I hope to discover the element of confidence that brings me more joy on this journey.

  2. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Oh…yes I agree with Jeff and so look to you Barbara for you in site to this thing we call life journey.

    I so resonate with your thoughts, even more than I convey to even my innermost thoughts. I have been pretty much very alone these last few weeks, traveling, thinking, being at home alone. This is the real first time in my life that I have been alone in my own place and it brings both confidence and fear.

    I still cry daily and try to tell myself that it is a cleansing process, e en though it is so real and painful, not to mention sorrowful. I seek confidence in what I consider wrong pla es and think it is the real thing, but it sometimes I an illusion only to myself.


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Kim – sometimes the path to our completeness is an uphill journey with lots of storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, drought, floods . . . I could go on but you get the picture. I think you are grieving for your former life and that is fine. We all grieve for what was and what could have been. This is the question I have been asking myself when I find my sadness taking over: can I own my sadness over what has passed and still find joy in me in this moment?
      You have much to look forward to in discovering the freedom that comes with not having to please anyone except yourself. You are going to meet one of the most resourceful, loving, caring, and confident people you have ever met: yourself.
      It is fine to cry. Tears often contain toxins that we no longer need in our bodies. As you let go, remember to fill. Give your self-acceptance a color and imagine yourself being filled with that color. Give your self-love a color and do the same.

  3. ntexas99 Says:

    Barbara — I appreciate what you’ve shared, especially about attaching any significance to the outcome. I have recognized for a while now that I don’t even attempt many things out of a latent fear that the outcome will not be successful, and now I think it’s possible I’ve regressed even further in that I often don’t even allow myself to contemplate the possibilities … as if my world has grown smaller by unintentionally not even leaving space for the thoughts to ever enter my mind. It’s worth spending some time reflecting on how this affects my confidence.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Nancy — I have been there and talked myself out of more possibilities than I can name . . . and those are just the ones I could think of. I can’t begin to imagine all of the possibilities that I was too closed to think of.
      And the heck with that noise. Important to us is that we acknowledge and act with awareness, even if that means being aware that we are closed for business for the time being. Once we decide to open up, I think the first order of business is to calculate and realize all the possibilities we can think of and then imagine the consequences. All of them. The ones we would like and the ones we would not like. What usually comes at the end of such an inner discussion is that the most likely scenario will be one we will be able to handle no matter what.

  4. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I’ve enjoyed letting this post simmer over the past couple of days. The especially colorful threads that caught my eye in this tapestry are:

    “Watching them encounter challenges, I am often humbled by their bravery and confidence.”

    “Success is not necessarily that they accomplish the specific task.”

    “My outcome-based criteria often stops me before I have even begun.”

    “…exploring what captures my interest is bliss in itself. Exploration often has no outcome except discovery.”

    “…confidence itself is now allowed to be the outcome.”

    My personal definition of success can be summed up in one word – fulfillment. It sounds like you and I are on the same page.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie — I think fulfillment is an excellent word. I find myself captured by certain moments and feel completely fulfilled in that moment. I can rely on my moments with January to prompt that feeling within me — that is how I know I can feel joy. It is a feeling of completeness and there is no specific outcome that I could produce or point to. It is just a timeless moment of joy in pure being.

  5. Mitchell Says:

    Hello, so where do you think humility fits into success?

    Some people do not try because they are afraid of failure. That is typically rooted in pride (care what other people thing) but can also be a self-esteem thing.

    I believe that when we have true humility, we can never be humiliated.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Mitchell — thanks for coming by. I believe the same way as you about humility and that our fear of failure (and subsequent humiliation, ridicule, etc.) is attached to a lack of confidence. In my life, failing anything brought ridicule from my parents and teachers so for me it is attached to that memory. As I grow, heal, forgive, and transcend that experience, my fear grows less and less. While others see me as very confident and successful, in my honesty to myself, I know where my fears lie and where I have not ventured. It is that place to which I speak and work here at eternal presence.

  6. Mitchell Says:

    Hi, yeah the problem with those words planted inside you at an early age is that you believed them. They were allowed to weave themselves into the fabric of your heart and therefore influence your mind.

    When we tear out the roots of the past and heal- we allow the heart to be ready for GOOD seed. Seeds of hope and love that bring us into a blessed future.

    Words are powerful. That is why we should choose our words wisely. The bible (book of James) says the tongue is like the vessel on a ship. We are what we speak.

    But YOU are not a failure. And all that matters is how the Lord sees you and He loves and accepts you.


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Mitchell, yes I feel tremendously loved and accepted. On this transcendent path, I am finding it easier and easier to leave what does not serve me well behind.

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