Confidence is in the eye of the beholder. One of my professors in graduate school used to tell me that confidence is as much a rhetorical position as it is a real attitude that people carry with them. Just because someone is projecting confidence through what they say and the way they act has no relationship to whether they actually feel confident all of the time. That’s liberating because you can project outside confidence even if you don’t feel you have it.
Then you also come to understand that these are just people. People have feelings. Even when they seem like they have every answer — they don’t. No one does. One of the wisest things that anyone has said to me is that the more you get to know people, the more you realize how everyone’s got their own little universe.
Looking back I really wish that I have been more able to see other people in my twenties — To really see the people totally intimidated me as human beings who have their own needs and desires and made mistakes and worried about things. Who knows what troubles they are dealing with personally. People have lives that don’t involve you. You need to be compassionate for other people.
– 40-something, married, mom, education, PhD, Los Angeles, CA