Circumstantial Self-Confidence

I don’t know how to assess my self confidence sometimes. And that goes for more than one endeavor: writing, acting, making friends.

I mention this because lately I’ve found myself a bit overwhelmed by just how different my perceptions of the world are from the mainstream. Now before you choke, rest assured I am not advocating mindless conformity, as I don’t think I could conform in many ways even if I wanted to. I’m forever bound to swim somewhat against the current.

And doing so has been the mark of many a leader, many an artist, and many a simply interesting dude. So there is no intrinsic problem with it. Except lately, having a brain that works differently, (I didn’t say “better”) than most people around me, even most of the artists I know, has not flipped a switch of success in many areas.

When you’re eccentric, and you succeed because of that eccentricity in some way, it’s easy to take pride in your traits and quirks. Being different equates with being a different kind of success in that case. Yet with me, my differences have, I’m afraid to say, held me back more than they have helped me, and I have in recent times come to doubt my overall value.

I fully realize that one’s value should not be determined by the rest of the world. One should believe in one’s abilities and vision, and go boldly forth into the world of convention, ready to carve out a new path. March to the beat of that different drummer, knowing that the music one hears is the music that was written for them. But how practical is that? Is that lofty ideal truly attainable in all circumstances? I’m not sure it is, because I’m finding that despite my best efforts to do and be some of what society expects, I’m not moving, influencing or helping a whole lot of people. In short, my quirks (many of which are too much a part of me to be altered safely) have not allowed me to make a difference.

When one is an artist, some degree of their self-worth is connected to the impact their work has on other people, does it not? The reputation of a truly creative person should proceed them, and encourage others to take part in their endeavors, either as participants or consumers. I can’t say I’ve managed that very much in the last few years.

The quirks of an eccentric should at least appeal to someone, (or a small group of someones), or they are not eccentric, but rather just undesirable. Unlovable. I look at the overall lack of charisma and charm I posses, based on my lack of popularity even among groups of similar mindsets and interests. I ask myself, “Am I really that far off the beaten path?”

I don’t eschew personal improvement when it’s applicable, but to a larger extent, in many aspects of my life, I am what I have always and shall ever be. Lately it doesn’t seem like enough, and I’m a bit depressed about it.

Particularly when I consider that one is never supposed to admit these things. Conventional wisdom forbids it. “Nobody wants to know you are depressed. Everybody avoids those people who aren’t happy all the time. If you are worried about your place in the world and the frequency of your success, you must not like yourself. And if you don’t like yourself, nobody else is going to.”

What can I say? Fuck that, I’m sharing my worries here anyway.

Furthermore, I actually do have a generally positive view of myself. I feel I am fairly intelligent, creative, polite, moral. I try to help people when it is within my power to do so. I see most of my ideas as worthy ones. But when everyone else around me all the time sees little of value in what I propose, or create, or try to do, (based on the metric of how much it is consumed and inquired after, and assisted with), it takes a toll on one’s circumstantial self-confidence.

That’s a term I made up as far as I know, but as you can guess, circumstantial self-confidence refers to how much faith one has in his ability to succeed given his circumstances and history. Mine over the last few years of failed projects, ended friendships and abandoned endeavors has been rather low. I may think I am intelligent and worthy,  but if nobody around me ever sees me as worthy of their time, their investment, their interest, I cannot accomplish much of anything within the constructs of being a writer/artist, can I?

So, I’m in a bit of a circumstantial self-confidence crisis, and I am not sure what to do about it.

I guess all I can do is keep creating stuff, keep trying to get people to see the value in what I do, and hope one day I manage to do it. Though I admit that after several failed attempts and limited resources, I become less and less likely to strike out in my unique way into the world, and blaze a path.

Ever feel like this?


  1. i think everyone feels like that during the course of their lives. so if it is any comfort, u dont have to feel alone in it. though i think writers and actors are particularly affected. it is the nature of the profession.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. I guess you are correct. It’s part of the territory to feel this way for long stretches sometimes when one is a struggling artist. As some pointed out it may not always be true, or at least as true as it seems, but sometimes the mere perception is enough to make it hard to see in the dark, as it were. And while I do think I’ve had a pretty difficult time getting large collections of people interested in my endeavors over the last few years, there’s always the hope that the next project will fair better. I’m operating under that theory.

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