A DECEPTION CALLED – “SELF-CONFIDENCE”

“I am sorry… we won’t be able to do anything more… Only if God wants or does some miracles then he can be recovered…”

That’s what doctors generally say when things go out of their hands. There are very rare cases when they submit everything in God’s hands and then start their diagnosis. Things happen the similar way when we have to accomplish something. We keep planning and doing everything till something goes out of the way… Then we turn to God and ask for some miracle to happen. Everybody depends on their acquired knowledge and pre-instilled wisdom in the beginning without letting God be the controller, though anyway He controls everything. We turn to God when we are deceived by our ‘Self-Confidence’. Self- confidence or self – belief is not wrong at all… without that we can’t do anything in our life. But tightening the rope of trust around ‘self confidence’ is such a deception of Satan or the devil that can take us away from the reality and land us on the verge of destruction.

I liked two articles this week and I would like to quote few of the things to explain my point.

No matter how much we believe in others, trust in God, have a support system, all of these are external factors, the important factor lies within us. Others can guide and help us but cannot fight the battle for us…

That was so well said by Aastha. But there’s a small twist in it. God is not just one of the many options that we believe or rely on. Rather, He is solely responsible for our survival – being the Creator and Sustainer of all who was constantly denied and ignored by His own creation, called human. He not only can guide and help us but can also fight the battle for us which we sometimes don’t see even when we have our senses and eyes open for everything around us. It is only when we surrender ourselves into His hands for Him to take control of ourselves and our situations He fights the battle for us. He has given us free will and He is not going to force us to depend on Him.   It is we who need to initiate the process of giving God the first priority and credit in our life because – “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.”

Adversity has been a theme in my life, be it in terms of education, career, friendship or love. I’m always battling someone or something who threatens to destroy my peace of mind, all that I stand for, all that is ‘me’.

We got to know about our co-author Pradita a little more after reading her article from which I quoted the above statement.  Her persona as to what she is today was built on her adversities which she faced or facing right now in her life. We all were created in such a fashion that we have that quality to fight for our survival. If we don’t change ourselves while fighting or adapting to the situation then we will be like dinosaurs soon. God has already created us in that fashion to stay in the fight… not against our fellow humans though but against the devil and the humans that are guided by the devil. God definitely has fashioned the fittest to survive but when the fittest find themselves vulnerable and weak at times He is always there ready to lift them up from falling down.

And when Pradita concludes she advises, ‘look within yourself. You have all the help you need right there. Leave the rest to God. If I interpret this, then it will be – God has given us the ability to do many things on our own and stand against every odd life brings about but in all that we do we need to recognize God for who He is – the Creator, the Sustainer, the Owner of everything.

When I look back in my own life then I find my  “Self-Confidence” is just a phrase which means “nothing” for me. What good my self-confidence could have done when my previous surgery was useless and the shunt was blocked? How my self-confidence could have helped when I was coughing blood and my oxygenation went down to below 60% and I was just tottering around? The doctors just wonder and expect my end somewhere at some point of time very soon… my self-will or confidence can’t stop me from what has to happen in my life. So I denounce  my reliance on self-confidence because my confidence lies in Him who knows when the life comes in an human embryo and when the life goes out of a human body.  Because –

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

Trust in God who can make you do everything with all the strength and skills He has given you. Change your slogan from “believe in yourself and have self-confidence” to “believe you can do everything through God who’s the author of life”.

Stay Blessed!!!

THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT

I can’t tell you from where I derive my confidence. I am a person who is lost more often than not. So what I can tell you is about my lack of confidence. I am human and to err is human. But when you lack faith in yourself, every action you take, every decision you make, every road you chose will lead you to believe that you have erred.

That is what happens with me each and every time. I don’t have trust in my decisions, and there are a lot of things that cloud my mind and tell me “NO, don’t go there, you won’t be able to do that”. I have fear; I have a fear of being a disappointment to all I love, to all who look up to me or who expect things from me. When I begin to think that I will not live up to their standards, I lose confidence.

I wanted to be a writer but had no self-belief. A very special person made me believe I can do it. He made me realise that what I write is beautiful. And I wrote and wrote to make him happy. He used to read every chapter of mine and tell me it is so good. It is crafted beautifully. And my morale boosted with his words and kept writing despite all my schedules and troubles. But then he got busy with some new developments in his life, and I could not get his constant feedback. Slowly I stopped writing; I found excuses not to do it. I kept my dream of being a writer aside because I wasn’t certain that what I penned is worthy enough.

And then he came back and told me “Your work isn’t supposed to impress me. Your work is meant to impress you. When you think that what you have written is worthy of your reading, that you are enjoying to read your work, know that it is good enough.” These simple words of his made me realise that what makes us dwell into self-doubt, fear and hesitation is the fact that we are trying to make others happy. We need to know that our efforts and our work, first and foremost needs to make us happy, feel satisfied.

When we feel that we have done something that was worthy of our respect and appreciation, then we begin to have faith in our actions. That is where my confidence lies. I have stopped fearing failure now. As I now know, that if it has made me happy to do it, it will make others appreciate it as well. My own opinion is my biggest judge and critic, and that is what gives me my strength.

So next time when you look in the mirror and like what you see, know that people will love it.When you find your cooking tasty, other will find it delicious, when you are happy with the decision you made, others will accept it with open hearts. Don’t let the fear of judgement, suffocate your faith on yourself.

Stay Proud !

MY MULTIPLE SOURCES OF CONFIDENCE

As I was out for my morning walk I saw a little girl trying to learn how to ride a bicycle. I could see that she was struggling for balance, but she didn’t give up as her dad was behind her supporting her and urging her to keep moving ahead. He was being her source of confidence.

In this life all of us have struggled with self-belief one time or the other. We envy certain people for being so self-assured and appearing to be so sure of themselves.  It seems as if it comes naturally to them, doesn’t it? At various points of my life when I have been low on confidence I have found a source of confidence. And I have been blessed enough to have more than one source of confidence.

Going back to my school days when studies was of utmost importance my dad was always there to encourage me. He could be strict but he was encouraging, and always gently urged me to perform better in my studies. I never felt pressured and it helped me to be confident in my subjects as the element of fear and pressure was never dominating my mind.  Classes never seemed like a burden, thanks to him.

I have always been in awe of these public speakers, who so magically captivate the audience with their eloquent speech. Once it so happened that the top extempore speaker was absent in the class and we needed two participants for inter-class extempore speech competition. One of my friends who were a good speaker had filled one spot. My English Ma’am suggested me to fill the second spot. She said that I should give it a try. I reluctantly heeded to her suggestion. I was a nervous wreck in front of the mike and I think I just completed a sentence or two about my given topic, stared blankly at my principal and my classmates, and then stepped down in embarrassment.  But somehow to my surprise I felt my fear of facing a public audience had decreased to a great extent. And I realized that with more preparation and practice, I could, may be captivate an audience one day. That small push from Ma’am placed me in a position which I for long felt was beyond me.

She was also the first one who pointed out to me that I could write well. In one of my essays she had remarked that it was very interesting. It assured me that I was capable of writing well and in a way it was that one remark which spurred me to write articles, poems and snippets and maintain writing as one of my primary hobbies.

Confidence is such a fragile entity that a small positive word or action can uplift and do a world of good for a person who is need of it.

I don’t claim to be a very spiritual person, but whenever I need that internal peace and tranquility, a source of love and hope, I have taken recourse to prayer. My faith has helped me to get through some tough times. It’s a never ending source of inner strength and resolve. And I know that I can always count on it.

And when I have faced heartbreaks and emotional crisis I have turned to very close friends and certain cousins whose listening ears have helped me to lighten the load of my heavy heart. Though I have never been dependent on a particular anyone I am immensely fortunate to have multiple sources of confidence in my life.    

WHERE DOES MY STRENGTH COME FROM?

Recently, I was on chat with my friend.

Me: ‘Hi…how are you?’

She: I’m good. Thank you.

         Exams will start on 29th

        I have not studied anything

(Because since a month she was on bed due to an infection and she had recovered just 5/6 days back )

Me: Don’t worry. Trust God. He will surely help you.

       Can I ask you a question?

She: Yes.

Me: If I am not wrong, you’re in tension! Right?

She: Yes, a lot. I need to finish my courses before exam and I have no time left.

         I don’t know what is going to happen.

Me: Don’t treat it as problem, take it as a challenge. The situation will be little lighter for you to navigate.

        But ultimately you need the strength of the Almighty.

She: I’ll try…

Me: Sounds too bad… 

She: Why?

Me: You’re a brave girl. You know very well how to take a problem as a challenge.

        “I’ll try” – doesn’t sound good from you.

She: Hmm… But what to do? Situation is like that!

Me: Do you know there are two best lines that always strengthens me when I go through situations like your’s?

She: What are those lines?

Me: “Call unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”

        “Be still and know, I am the Lord, your God” (The Bible)

Let me pen a bit from my past. It was January 2004 when I met an accident, in which I lost my memory for 3 hours. But it was only the power of God which brought me back to life. After that the Neuro-Specialist advised my parents that, “they should drop my education and keep me in a dark room where even sunlight can’t go because of my injury which was severe. And I was to be under strict medication till I turned 25 years of age”. It was then, when my parents were completely worn out, that they struggled to keep fake smiles on their faces to see smile on my face. As a pre-teen I felt like my life has become a scum! In such a fearsome condition my friends brought my annual examination news. Despite of my physical inabilities I urged my parents to give me prayer support so that I can write my papers. My parents sincerely prayed for me and I started preparing for annual exam but my brain was not coping with me. After every couple of hours I needed to take power naps. I was throwing up frequently. Even while writing my Maths paper I was unable to bear the pressure and slept for more than 20 minutes in the examination hall. But still I continued my studies and did everything like every other normal person does. Soon after graduating from the university, at 21 years of age I started my professional career where travelling and training was the nature of my profession from the very beginning.  

But the big question that always hits me – HOW  WAS I ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS?

  • Was the Medical science/my diagnosis/doctor’s advises all wrong?
  • Was this just a coincidence?
  • Was this because of my self-confidence?
  • Was this because of my hard-work?

Bible says, “If you have faith like mustard seed, your prayer will be answered by God.” And Bible also says, “Your faith must accompany your work. Work without Faith is dead and Faith without Work is also dead”.

I and my parents could have easily quit as per medical advice or could have continued my studies without seeking the grace of God. But then my life would have been such that I wouldn’t be sharing my life with you over here .

We have to work and along with that we have to put our confidence on God. God is the only PERFECT INFINITE SOVEREIGN entity. He created us with a definite purpose and has counted our days on earth. We humans are finite; we can’t guarantee our tomorrow but HE CAN! We humans are never 100% perfect; but HE IS! We humans depend on wisdom and knowledge but HE IS THE SOURCE OF ALL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE!

What do you say, Is it self-confidence or Work with Confidence on God”?

WHY ‘I, ME, MYSELF’ IS MY ONLY SOURCE OF CONFIDENCE

We all need something to hold on to when darkness shrouds us. We all depend on that one thing, or one person, that can tell us, ‘Go on. This isn’t your stop’. That ‘one’, which when removed from our lives leaves us feeling like a tree without roots… orphaned.

For some it’s their parents, spouse, a BFF. A lot of people put their faiths in God. Some in their money, as mundane as that may sound. But it’s practical, and it happens.

Likewise, I too have something that is the source of both my confidence and solace when I’m feeling down in the dumps – myself. Unrealistic and vain as it may sound, it’s the one thing that keeps me going, has helped me through all my darkest hours and is the one thing I can rely on for the future too. Faith in myself is the source of my confidence.

I haven’t lived long yet, but in these 3 decades of my life I have known a few things – near poverty, alienation, rejection and loneliness, and through it all I’ve learnt that while my parents, the man of my life or my best friends may support me by lending me an ear or a shoulder, nothing and no one will actually make me get up and make things right, but my own will to fight back and the confidence in myself, that I can turn things around.

Adversity has been a theme in my life, be it in terms of education, career, friendship or love. I’m always battling someone or something who threatens to destroy my peace of mind, all that I stand for, all that is ‘me’. I’ve had to work hard for everything I wanted. And while I don’t resent the hardwork, I do resent when people call it ‘nothing’, in effect negating my labor and sweat. There are some troublemongers in my life who will always stir up trouble for me. But I’ve learnt, by tripping, falling face first and then gathering myself, that in the end, you can only rely on your own strength to get up.

I’m religious but not ritualistic. I’m somewhere between an agnostic and a theist. I’ve never relied on God to help me through things. I do believe in him, just not that he can help me with things, if I don’t help myself. I think God believes strongly in the survival of the fittest, or the luckiest. I’ve never been the latter, but I strive to be the former.

Maybe the reason why I’m so pessimistic in my reliance on people is because I have so few of them to bank upon. I don’t have many friends because by bad luck, distance has weakened our bonds, so that even if they ever wanted to help, the miles between us would make it hard for them. Ditto for my parents and my Husband, the latter being in a profession where he can’t help but leave me for months on end. I’ve faced a lot of crisis in his absence too, and that’s why my intrinsic strength matters so much to me.

Truth be told, I don’t see anything wrong in that – in relying on yourself. It makes you stronger, confident and readies you for the next challenge, any challenge really. The way I see it, when you start putting your faith in others, while it’s definitely not a sign of weakness, there may be a time when they are not around to help you, and your confidence will start to flounder. You may call on them for help, for guidance, but for actually doing something, you cannot always rely on people. In fact, that’s wrong – relying on others to do your jobs, or fight your battles. I know such people in my life who will not fight themselves but use others as shields or worse still, as their minions in the name of friendship/relationship, and I loathe them for their of lack of gumption.

Building confidence in yourself is not easy. It takes time and mistakes, but it helps you immensely because we are, ultimately, alone. We came alone, we die alone, and while we may make friends on the way, we have to tread the path of life alone.

It doesn’t however mean you become hermits and relinquish all your friends. It just means that when adversity strikes you should be strong enough to first seek help from your own reserves. It just means that we should not over-depend on the advice and help of others.

It also means that in your relationships, you do not expect things from others. It allows you to give more in a relationship because you’re anyway not expecting things. Often relationships break up because the other does not meet our expectations. Because we feel a lack of equal reciprocity from the other. This way of life I have has taught me that love in relationships is not a matter of barter or exchange. There cannot be an equal amount of give and take in any relationship, not even between husband and wife. All you can do is teach yourself that you need to just give, and not expect anything, or much in return.

It’s hard, make that very hard, and I still struggle with it all the time, but there have been times when not expecting things has helped me keep it together. So, for example, when it seemed like a possibility that my Husband might not be able to make it in time for my child’s birth, I didn’t let it make me resentful towards my Husband. That was one situation where I was entirely at the mercy of others because I was to have a C-section. There was little I could have done by myself. So, I told myself I had others around me, a good doctor who was caring for me, and that my Husband would be here a few days later. No biggie. But I do know some women who, to this day, give their husbands an earful for never being around during childbirth. Ladies, the man is with you now. Isn’t that all that matters?

There have been other instances too where during crisis my Husband has never been around because of work constraints. If I had allowed myself to break down on account of his absence I wouldn’t have been writing to you today. It’s only because I willed myself to go on and battle it out that I came out of those problems, and came out a winner too. How’s that for a turnaround?!

So, when people tell me they are facing problems and have no one to help them, my way of encouraging them is to tell them, ‘look within yourself. You have all the help you need right there. Leave the rest to God.’

Pradita Kapahi

Blog: The Pradita Chronicles

 

BE YOUR OWN STRENGTH TO WIN BATTLES !!!

While I was in schooling, one day I noticed cement slabs that were stacked in the school ground. I ran towards them to have a closer look , my shoe slipped,  I landed on one of those cement slabs anchoring my knee on the corner of it.

The cement slab cut through the skin and muscle dissecting all the layers exposing the bone. I cleaned the wound, using a hand kerchief and managed to hide the wound under my skirt. When my dad arrived, I boarded his scooter with a smile though the pain was almost killing me. After reaching home, I slowly approached my dad, requested him to accompany me to the bathroom, where I unveiled the wound. His heart skipped by a beat, he immediately rushed me to hospital, doctor said I would require stitches for the wound to heal.

The very thought of needle piercing through my skin brought so much of fear that I insisted my dad shall stand by the procedure table,  if at all I had to take the stitches. The doctor tried to calm me down saying she can manage it without having him, I was not at all ready for that. (No, my dad isn’t a doctor) …My dad was with me during the procedure, I still remember how strongly I squeezed his hand when I used to feel the pain. By the end of procedure, my father fainted by my side. I was scared to hell, the doctor assured me revealing that my dad cannot see blood and would feel dizzy at the sight of it. He has blood-injury phobia, I was guilty as it was because of me he had to face blood.

I don’t have fear for hospitals, doctors, medicines or even injections. Several times I took injections alone (without my parents by my side), the nurses used to be pleasantly surprised by the courage I displayed as an 8 year old. After about 4 years, I met with another accident, when my lower lip was cut and required stitches. I was 12, but this time I faced the stitches alone, with courage which I haven’t had earlier.

As a kid, I never really understood the reason of the fear or how I developed the courage over time. If I have to think over it, it’s, the belief in one self to handle anything that we are challenged with. My dad is my biggest strength and I always feel very secured when he is around. This is what happens with everyone of us. Since we are being protected by someone, we feel that our confidence lies in their presence. My confidence resided in my dad, but later on he made me realise that I am solely responsible for the risks I take, let me spread wings, try new things (mostly alone) because of which I learnt that my courage lies in me. His confidence in me built my confidence. 

“My wife cannot live without me… “

“My husband cannot manage a single day without me …”

“My kids eat only if I feed them…”

The wife/husband/parent takes pride in making these statements. You may have also heard something similar, what kind of thoughts do they trigger in you ?

All the statements above are screaming lot of love and care but they make me really very worried. A husband should be worried if his wife cannot live without him, isn’t it ? Life doesn’t guarantee the time of departure or the sequence of departure from this world. It can be either the wife or the husband. Why talk about death, there will be several situations that may force them to live away from each other, both of them should be equally equipped to lead life without the other.

It concerns me when we depend on others so much that we feel totally lost and find no value of life without them. It concerns me even when someone gets dependent on me the same way, that really means I have failed in making the other realise that they are self sufficient to face life and hard situations that may arise. The question I would ask myself here is, “Am I being overly protective ?

Being overly protective and caring too much for someone may make them dependent on us. It indeed kills confidence. It is not only parents of kids, but with any relationship we indulge in, we should give enough freedom and let the other take chances to face situations alone. 

For me, my confidence lies in me. No matter how much we believe in others, trust in God, have a support system, all of these are external factors, the important factor lies within us.

Others can guide and help us but cannot fight the battle for us …

MY CONFIDENCE IN THE STRONG TOWER, UNSHAKABLE ROCK, INFALLIBLE DELIVERER

As a child, I used to be afraid of the dark and I’m sure many of you were too! If any time the power supply got disrupted and I was alone in the room, I would let out an involuntary shriek of fear. As soon as I saw someone light a candle (accompanied by reassuring words), I would heave a sigh a relief!

Darkness caused a loss of confidence in me. What if some eerie insect crept towards me? What if a phantom appeared from behind? So many what ifs used to hit the mind for that brief span between the electricity supply going off and the candle or lamp being lit…

With the glow of light a feeling of confidence used to gush in – the relief that all is well and under control!

When we check into an airport, we confidently walk towards the security check counters and then head towards the waiting area to board the aircraft, having the confidence that we would reach our destination within a matter of hours. Seldom do we doubt and fear the unfortunate eventuality of the plane not reaching our destination, despite being aware of many things that might go wrong. We place our faith on the pilot, the crew, the technical settings and the law of aerodynamics. That gives us the confidence to sit back and work on our laptops, read books, fiddle with the photos and videos in our mobiles or simply browse through the airlines magazine and enjoy the meals served up in the air.

Why go to bigger things when we can think of things near us? I believe you are sitting on a chair/sofa or reclining on your bed/couch while reading this article. How many times did you check whether the furniture was strong enough to bear your weight? Of course, you would have surely checked thoroughly before buying the piece! But, not each time you decide to sit or lie down on it. You simply know that it will support you and not crumble down suddenly, even though sometimes, it actually may.

Confidence! That’s something we cannot survive without. All of us need to have a minimum amount of confidence to live and function as normal healthy human beings – in the things around, the people around and in ourselves. That’s what keeps us going.

Three strongholds against confidence

The three tall towers that threaten to stifle the confidence in a person are Fear, Failure and Ridicule.

  1. Fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of consequences, fear of rejection, fear of harm (on self or others), fear of haunting old memories, fear of places, fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of war, fear of abuse, fear of failure, fear of ridicule are some of the common fears that rob us of our confidence.

Replace the fears of the world with the Fear of God.

While these fears are not completely unnatural, they often take away our peace of mind and the resulting confidence that emanates from it. But, the fear of the Almighty God gives us the confidence to walk in the right way, to look at all our fears squarely in the face and overcome them. No fear can stalk you if you seek refuge in the Strong Tower, i.e., in God Himself. The living words of wisdom say –

In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,

And his children will have refuge.                                                                                     

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,

That one may avoid the snares of death. (THE BIBLE)

 

  1. Failure to meet expectations, failure in relationships, failure to climb up the career ladder, failure to pay off debts, failure in examinations, failure to conceive a baby, failure to stand up against what is right, failure to manage resources are some of the common failures that swindle our confidence.

Replace failures of the world with Victory in God.

While these failures cannot be escaped from, they can be dealt with. Our failures need not make us lose our confidence. In fact, adversity leads us to recognize that if we place our confidence in the Unshakable Rock, i.e., in God, He will never fail us. People may fail you, circumstances may not support you but God will never forsake you. He will ensure that you are victorious. The eternal words of wisdom say –

Some boast in chariots and some in horses,

But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

They have bowed down and fallen,

But we have risen and stood upright. (THE BIBLE)

 

  1. Ridicule owing to looks (height, weight, colour, structure), accent of speech, family background, poor performance, low status, inability to deliver when required or being differently-abled (physically or mentally).

Replace ridicule of the world with the sure hope of being Exalted by God.

Ridicule breaks the heart and causes us to question ourselves. It distorts our self-image and damages our self-esteem. We find ourselves climbing down the confidence ladder. But, when you look up to the Infallible Deliverer, i.e., God, He will raise you up and strengthen you despite the weaknesses in you which make you a victim of ridicule. The priceless words of wisdom say –

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (THE BIBLE)

I learnt very early in life to place my confidence in God alone – not even in myself. And that has helped me to stand tall amidst the fears, failures and ridicules that threaten to unsettle me from time to time. Not that I never slip, but when I do, I know that I will fall into the hands of God – very much like the child thrown up in the air who laughs heartily with the assurance that his/her father’s hands are waiting to catch him/her. That’s confidence!

What is your confidence in today?