Emotionally Camouflaged Language: Confidence

When I started writing this entry a long while ago, what I was most inspired by was this clip that was on The Daily Show during the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It is probably not something you can play out loud at work. Watch it and come back.

I have a cup of coffee, I can wait. For a while.

I ended the last post with suggesting you be fierce about your emotions as well as your life. Well, the blonde Russian enthusiast approaches it with her own bold perspective. But—I know I find this rather funny—I can’t quite bring myself to type out her simple slogan. I know my mom isn’t reading this, but still. The point she is making, if that is indeed a saying in Russia, is that living a happy, fulfilling life takes confidence. A whole hell of a lot of confidence.

I completely agree.

I posted a quote from Neil DeGrasee Tyson a few weeks ago and it speaks to the truth that successful people tend to create their own motivation. I also suggested that if motivation is a difficulty for you then building your own sense of confidence might be the thing to focus your attention on.

It’s hard to get up and go do something, something as relatively simple as look for a job or as relatively difficult as standing up to your emotionally manipulative spouse if you don’t believe you deserve to. That’s what confidence is. The radical belief that you matter. That your needs, even if unspoken, really fucking matter.

Only you get to decide if you are going to be confident or not. Other people don’t get to decide that for you. Oh, sure, you can give your power away to them, your agency and then struggle forever to get it back, but your raison d’etre is absolutely yours to harness, protect and grow—or inadvertently destroy with bloated excess and short term cravings.

What does confidence have to do with Emotionally Camouflaged language? Everything. Because people who are confident don’t use ECL as their default means of communicating.

Chances are good that if confidence is an issue for you, then you were not validated growing up. No one saw you struggle, trying to win or lose, or whatever. Maybe you were seen, but it never got talked about. You missed out on having validation be modeled effectively for you. So now, even when you are working so hard, you don’t give yourself any credit. You can’t because you don’t know how.

Confidence is learned. Not given like a birthright.

A guy I know, a writer, once described in his not quite finished novel that confidence is lying. At the time it was all he could do to understand what he didn’t have. Because when you don’t have confidence in yourself, it can feel like lying when you try to prove to someone else that you are confident. He had it all wrong though. The person he had to convince, the hardest person to convince he had any confidence at all, was actually himself.

He sends his regards. He realizes how brutally difficult it can be to believe in yourself when you’ve never been validated or properly “seen” by your family of origin or, you know, the whole world. He gets it. Because it was him that wrote this.


About Therapyisdandy

A dandy therapist
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4 Responses to Emotionally Camouflaged Language: Confidence

  1. Sarah M. says:

    Um, yeah, this one hits really close to home for me. Two questions. (1) How does one go about learning confidence and self-belief when their family of origin has failed them? (2) How does one go about assuring that the next generation does feel validated and properly seen by their family of origin so that the cycle can stop with me and not be carried forward yet again?

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for responding.

      So, for the first question I know it happened for me after I found a helpful therapist. There are a number of books I would recommend if therapy is not something you can do right now. Send me an email and I can share them.
      For the second question, it depends on what the situation is now. Are children being validated? Again, if you like, send me an email and i can give more specific information. Thanks!

  2. Megan says:

    Happy to see you’re back writing more regularly again! I missed you. 🙂

    I am intrigued by this current focus on the ECL. I’ve been trying to be more aware of when I’m using it – AND trying to dig down to the authentic-ness beneath to see what I’m “hiding” from. Of course, it is exhausting work, but I’m starting to feel like I’m worth it! I have had glimpses of self-confidence from time to time. The hardest part for me is to not tromp on it, because self-confidence wasn’t “allowed” when I was growing up. I have to fight with the feelings of guilt, and shame over being “conceited” when I have a moment of not being disgusted with myself. Thankfully I am aware enough of what’s going on to be able to somewhat logic my way through – AND I’m learning to ask for what I need from my current family. (amazing concept)

    Looking forward to hearing more thoughts on this subject.

    Thanks so much, Henry!!!


    • Very welcome, Megan.

      If guilt and shame comes up, I hope you know of Brene Brown. She researches and writes about both. and her TED talks are great.

      Next ECL topic is about anger, I think. We’ll see. The weather in Portland has been really nice this month….

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