Struggling against yourself
At some point in our lives, we come to realize that the world we live in is made up of a balance of opposing forces.
Kindness and cruelty
Pain and joy
Love and fear
Yet, often times, people are surprised that this dynamic is true within their own selves.
The most common paradox I hear from my clients is what I call the confidence paradox.
When someone has the confidence paradox, they exhibit extremes in confidence and lack of confidence in different areas of their lives.
For example, my client Marilyn (not her real name), is an incredibly powerful lady who is an executive at a multinational company. She is smart, blunt and in control. She thrives on solving difficult problems and is confident that she can tackle anything at work with fervor and ease. She has a personal assistant, personal trainer, life coach and people who are constantly vying for her attention.
She’s also tall, quick-witted and gorgeous and has a strong, forceful presence.
On the surface, she is the epitome of confidence.
However, when it comes to Marilyn’s personal life, she is not only not-confident; she’s scared.
I remember one day she was nearly in tears when she admitted that all her friends envied her life and her confidence; yet secretly, Marilyn felt she was a fraud. She said that despite feeling like she was queen bee at work, there was another part of her that was scrambling to stay afloat.
Because of the painful void in her personal life, Marilyn felt that the more she moved forward in her career, the more unstable and unfulfilled she became. She couldn’t ignore her growing insecurities about being in her 40’s, single and almost without hope because she didn’t have the confidence to even look at her situation.
She is strong woman with equally strong confidence demons.
Until Marilyn is able to face all of her confidence demons, she will never be whole in feeling powerful. This results in fractionated parts of herself where she feels great one day (when she is doing well at work) and then feels isolated the next day (when she comes home to an empty house.)
She has no balance.
It. Will. Get. Worse.
The only solution to the confidence paradox in Marilyn’s case is to face her confidence demons–all of the insecurities she’s brushed to the side and ignored for most of her life.
Only then, can those fractionated parts begin to integrate.