The ordinary meaning of this word is to feel good about yourself, to think that you are up to the task, whatever that task is. This use of the word correctly exposes the orientation of our time, as words do; an orientation to oneself.
The original meaning is to be or to act con fidele (with faithfulness). Implied in this understanding is that confidence does not come from oneself, one’s abilities, but rather from a relationship which is faithful, one to the other. This orientation suggests that humans need a relationship to enable them to be confident. To be confident, I need to be faithful to someone or something which will hold me in place, keep me from wavering.
A relationship that inspires confidence cannot be constructed by the mind. Faith is not blind, or rather, it is blind to the ordinary human world because it relies on seeing into another world, a world of honour, truth and love that transcends the temporary alliances and values of the world around me.
Do you know the immense relief that comes from this relationship? I do not care what name you have for it. In our work, this relationship is said to be remembering. It is returning to the connectedness that has always been there when I cease forgetting.
I forget. I become identified with my roles, personalities, aims and desires which isolate me in myself. All confidence is lost. I am left to bluff my way, whistling in the dark, plucking up my courage, alone.
I remember. I am present. I feel connected. I am not alone. This is beyond reason. It is fact. It is what the heart knows as an organ of perception.
Can I remember? I notice that I cannot remember when I am in a state of contraction, when my heart feels constricted. I notice the things that bring this contraction. I learn to avoid these things where possible. I learn to release the sensation of contraction. I learn the gestures that can expand my heart.
Am I willing to do battle for the state of connectedness? In this battle, when I remember, I am helped, I am remembered. I learn that the wish to remember is met and seen and I am held. This is confidence.