Doubt

I have an acquaintance who bugs me because she is so confident.  She is confident in her parenting abilities. She is confident in her appearance.  She is confident in her work abilities.  I’ve been thinking about why I am so bothered by her.  Part of me thinks it is outright envy.  After all, who among us hasn’t longed to be balls out about some topic in which we feel expert.  Or even not expert just confident that we are awesome?  Am I bothered by her because I feel held back from expressing the abilities I have and the subjects in which I feel strong?  Maybe I long to declare, “Boom.  I am expert.  Hear me roar.”

Maybe.  The old-fashioned Southerner in me finds something distasteful in her proclamations of awesomeness.  Modesty for modesty’s sake is irritating, but it is more irritating to find such self-confidence pushed in your face.  It seems unseemly.

I don’t know this woman well.  Maybe her confidence is just a well-cultivated exoskeleton designed to protect her from the cruel world.  Or maybe she really does have that much confidence.  She is younger.  I’m not saying that means she has experienced less but that she is of a different mindset.

When it comes to parenting, I feel like I am constantly learning.  I feel like my child changes on a daily or even hourly basis and I still marvel that we haven’t messed him up.   I’ve felt like an imposter lately when it comes to parenting and maybe that’s what I am responding to when I roll my eyes at this acquaintance.

I know a lot about various & sundry, mostly useless, things but my child remains as much of a mystery at 2.5 years as he did at 2.5 hours old.  I think that maybe my temperament is different from my acquaintance’s.  After initially seeing situations in black and white, I eventually started to see shades of gray and nuance.  I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I realize that there are many answers to a single question.

I’ve learned that often there is no one right answer or one book that contains all the right answers.  Sometimes math doesn’t add up when it comes to people. Deserving people constantly experience negative situations daily while undeserving ones profit.

So one the one hand, I envy my acquaintance’s confidence in her abilities and plans.  I’d like to feel that way but I am destined to question, always question.  While I’m questioning, I’ll enjoy cultivating Daniel’s love for the outdoors.

 

Fun outside!

 

How do you see yourself?  Are you confident or full of doubt?

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5 comments

  1. Hmm. I suppose I am confident that my choices are right for me and my family, but would never suggest that my way is right for everyone. I’m confident that questioning is necessary and helpful. But am I sure I always know what I’m doing? Um, no. Not so much. 😉

  2. When I was in my twenties, I had a lot of raw confidence and sheer nerve. Some of it was youth and some of it was the fact that I had never gotten “the call”: nothing very terrible had happened to me and everything went my way, and I arrogantly assumed that my luck was not luck at all, but my own sheer will, intellect and drive.

    Then, of course, I got many “calls” in my thirties and now I am filled with doubt, about almost everything. So I think life has a way of subduing the most confident of people. Usually 😉

  3. I agree with Jjiraffe. Time has a way of making youthful confidence seem naive. Don’t worry. Middle age is better, when you know you don’t know and are OK with that.

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