On Confidence, Self-Esteem and Being Self-Assured

The above photograph is a still from a video dating back to around 2004; I’m not sure. It was just another visit with my orthopedic surgeon, and he wanted to film me walking down the hallway, most likely to evaluate my walking.

It’s obvious at this point that I was more confident in my physical abilities when I was younger. I remember running around and playing with the non-disabled children in the playground at recess. I definitely remember not only falling down, but also getting right back up again without a second thought. I remember there being a total absence of fear, which later washed over me when I got older and became much more self-aware of everything around me.

It’s easy to say that being disabled has lowered my confidence. Too easy. It’s not necessarily always true, if it’s true at all. I think that analysis is too simplistic. Just because I feel as though I had more confidence when I was younger doesn’t mean I lack confidence now. Same goes for saying that I have low self-esteem just because I am disabled. I struggled at some points in time simply because I am human, but those times of struggle seemed to come and go.

Having self-esteem and being self-assured appear to mean the same thing: “confidence in one’s own abilities”, or “confident in one’s own abilities or character.” Is it possible that you can not have one without the other? Is it all or nothing? Can you be confident and not have self-esteem? If so, does it become a kind of pseudo-confidence? Or not? Is it possible to show confidence and have low self-esteem? Or have high self-esteem but not have the tools to readily display that in your confidence and even body language? I’m not so sure I have answers to these questions yet. I think they are worth exploring.

I’ll have to thank my support system for instilling confidence in me when I was young. My mother is a big part of that support system. Perhaps she’s the biggest part. So, Mom, if you happen to be reading this….a million thanks to you, now and always.