When I was younger, I found myself using my confidence in an attempt to hide my vulnerabilities when I tried to impress someone. For example, a couple years ago I was with a good friend of mine at a college event. I remember saying a very bigheaded comment about my work at event we both were working at and she told me, “You are so cocky. Soon your big head won’t fit in that hoodie you are wearing!” I responded, “Well I guess that means I have to get a bigger sweater”. I was trying to hide the fact that I had no idea what I was doing at the event while at the same time trying to impress my friend (who I had a crush on at the time). It’s embarrassing how much I relied on my confidence to “break the ice”.
In recent years I have used confidence more as a survival tactic than an ice breaker. It’s been my go-to attitude when dealing with challenging situations like job interviews, break-ups, relocating and event planning. Being confident is a great thing, but it usually meant I was giving myself a false sense of security. Rarely would my confidence actually help me through tough times. For example, it was hard to be confident when I tried to juggle a new job and a long distance relationship while realizing I was failing at both. It was even harder to be confident when my grandmother passed away and I was not able to help my dad during one of the most traumatic moments in his life. In all these situations, I found myself feeling hopeless, rundown, and vulnerable.
Sometimes it feels like this world wants to fuck me over real hard. Almost as if this world was listening to cocky young Danny and now testing his overly confident attitude. I would be lying if I told you I never cried myself to sleep, hated myself for a decision I made, or regretted not being somewhere else. This world has broken me more times than I can count and my confidence was nowhere to be found.
I have seen this world break many of the most confident people closest to me. Whether it is the friend who got their heart broken, unable to come to terms with the end of a relationship, or the friend who is on the brink of losing her father, this world is breaking them. There is no right answer on how to deal with it. Most of the time you just learn to live with it and wait until the next time the world comes to break you again. As morbid as this may sound, it’s the only way we become stronger.
The more this world breaks me, the more I depend on that valuable experience rather than a false sense of confidence to get me through difficult times.
I wrote this as a reminder to learn from the times this world broke us. It may not make the next hardship easier, but it will remind us how much we have grown to get to this point.