How To Build the Confidence To Stand Alone and Feel Content
For optimum longevity, source your self-belief intrinsically
It’s ok to stand alone and to be conspicuous.
To do this, we must recognise our value and learn to be proud of who we are.
Recognising our accolades requires us to listen to the whisperings of our hearts. Too many of us betray ourselves by pandering to people around us. People who shout and throw their weight about rarely have our own best interests at heart.
Sometimes, we need to love people from afar.
Loving people from afar means stepping out of their shadows and holding them at arm’s length. Only when we are genuinely tuned into ourselves can we hear the messages of our souls.
Life can feel like walking through quicksand when we feel like an outlier. I also know that the outlier is the spark that lights a fire. Like the Dancing Guy in Wednesday’s piece on How the Lone Werido Becomes the Sought After Leader, people who stand apart from the crowd are at an intersection of possibility and opportunity.
I want to share a story about Pythagoras and the fifth hammer.
Pythagoras and the Fifth Hammer
There’s an old myth doing the rounds about Pythagoras, who is one of mathematics’ founding fathers. I learned this story through Seth Godin’s book The Practice; you can also find this story through a simple Google search.
Pythagoras heard five blacksmiths working in unison. Each hammer strike rang out with the accompaniment of the other hammers and produced a sound as beautiful and harmonious as Pythagoras had ever heard.
Pythagoras seized the five hammers and examined them to find a mathematical explanation for the exquisite sound.
After several weeks of scrutinizing the hammers, Pythagoras discovered that four of them were connected in terms of each of their weights being a ratio of another. This connectedness accounted for the harmony they elicited.
The fifth hammer, however, was peculiar. It didn’t fit a pattern and held no mathematical connection to the other four hammers. Pythagoras discarded the fifth hammer. Big mistake!
Only some things can be explained through maths or science. Sometimes we must listen with our hearts and feel through our spidey senses.
It turns out that the misfit fifth hammer was the secret ingredient to the heavenly sound. It was perfectly imperfect and helped give the sweet sound a high-caliber vibrancy.
“The fifth hammer is the one that’s not proven, not obvious, or not always encouraged. The fifth hammer is you.” - Seth Godin.
Embrace being the fifth hammer
You may not see your value if you try too hard to fit in with the masses. But most importantly, you don’t need external validation to be someone of value. When we succumb to all the noise around us, we bend to be like everyone else. This bending inevitably causes us to sacrifice our individuality and betray ourselves.
When you are the fifth hammer, your magic is standalone; it may even be temporarily lost if you allow others to contaminate it.
It’s time to claim your space in the world. You are not a sheep; following the crowd will not make you happy or enhance your confidence or self-esteem.
Listening to your heart and cultivating your path is one sure way to grow.
3 tips for building confidence and finding contentment in the space of solitude
It’s all good and well being the fifth hammer, but you wither and fade from the world if you lack the confidence to add your music to society. But let me tell you something; the world wants to hear your song. Yes, there are millions of tunes already in existence, but none like yours!
Here are my top three tips for building your confidence to find contentment in your skin, allowing you to stand alone with serenity and peace.
1. Master yourself
How well do you know yourself? How can you expect to flourish if you don’t attune to the internal vibrations?
It’s time to become the master of yourself. You can do this in various ways, this includes:
Work with a therapist.
Read up on traits that you may identify with.
Invest time in what you love doing.
I am not one for labels, but identifying a label you connect with is like learning our dress size. We don’t need to dwell on it, but bearing it in mind can help us journey toward self-discovery.
For instance, since recognising I am a highly sensitive person, I have found a heightened acceptance and understanding of myself.
2. Embrace your authenticity
Many people talk about authenticity, but how many people do you know who oozes authenticity? Authenticity is one sure way to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence and have you glide through life with the river’s natural flow.
Authentic people are true to themselves and, more significantly, stay true to themselves regardless of the situation. They honor their values and beliefs by living by them.
The ego does not drive authentic people. Materialism and capitalism are not what fuels their passions. Their self-worth is built on the goodness within them, not on what job they have, the car they drive, or the house they live in. Stuff is transient, but goodness within is longstanding.
3. Redefine success
The people I know who exude the confidence of magnetic forces are those who have built their empires within.
By this, I mean they have taken the broadly accepted societal definition of success and torn it up.
On the whole, we are primed to judge success by the following criteria:
Size of house.
Type of car.
Do any of those “success” indicators tell us whether someone is a good person? If they are a kind person or even a happy person?
Surely an unambiguous indication of whether someone is successful in life is whether they are happy?
When you think of your success, ignore what we traditionally gauge success on and judge yourself on the following criteria:
Quality of your relationships (not necessarily romantic).
Mastery of hobbies and interests.
Knoweldge and expertise.
Willingness to grow, learn, adapt, and change.
It may not come as a surprise, but once you start to view your success based on this selection of factors, you will direct your life in a more authentic direction, naturally bringing you greater happiness and boosting your confidence.
Stand tall and build your empire from within
Being the fifth hammer does not make you a defect. Rather, it means you are special. Instead of viewing yourself through your default lens, reprogram how you view yourself and choose a lens that highlights your uniqueness. Learn to build your empire from with and feel how it puffs you up from the inside out.
When you master yourself, embrace your authenticity, and redefine success, you will naturally feel your self-confidence soar.
What do you do to master yourself, pursue your authenticity and redefine success? Please share your experiences with building self-confidence in the comments.
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Abnormally Normal is for everyone who feels like they don’t fit in.
You can also find my writings and musings on Medium, where I write about kindness, psychology, social injustice, the nuances of living childfree, friendship, social justice, feminism, personal growth, and much more.
Here are free links to some of my most popular articles on Medium.
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