Good friends and contemporary American Renaissance writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau both wrote about confidence, and it is hard to know which came first–the chicken or the egg. Emerson said, “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Both Emerson and Thoreau had a personal belief in God that was an intrinsic part of their personal confidence; and, it seems that, conditional upon their keeping their confidence, both Emerson and Thoreau believed the vastness of the universe was available to them, to help them be successful.
How can people find and keep the confidence about which both men wrote? I believe that Marianne Williamson in her book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” gave that answer when she said:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Oprah Winfrey said, “Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.” (O Magazine, November 2009)
When more people become more confident in who they are, by liberating themselves from their fear, and likewise give others permission to liberate themselves, it is unknown what resources God and the universe could make available for the greater good of all humanity.
William Jennings Bryan said, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”
More people having confidence in their abilities, talents, and dreams offers more hope that some of the greatest, unresolved problems of humanity could be solved.
However, these people will need to: overcome fear; move beyond self-limitations; advance confidently in the direction of their dreams; not be intimidated by others; not feel inferior to others; and vanquish jealousy, envy, prejudice, bias, judgment, and condemnation of others.
This often requires people stepping out in faith, not knowing where they are going. But, as the God of Israel told the Israelites, “…Confidence will be your strength.”
With the right intent and right confidence tempered with humility, people can believe that what they do–no matter how big or how small–will be for the benefit and greater good of all humanity.
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