Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Confident and Humble

Family and Friends,

Recently I've been having a lot of personal revelations and realizations. Based on many recent experiences in the mission and personal reflection of other life experiences, I've drawn some conclusions about what one must do to lead a happy, peaceful, productive, and successful life. It is my strong belief that the ability to have a balance between being both confident and humble is the key to being happy and living a good life :) I'd like to share my thoughts with you all. 

The word confidence in Spanish is confianza. But in Spanish the word confianza means both confidence (as in self-esteem or self-worth) and trust ( as in belief and hope) depending on the context. In nearly all languages the words confidence and trust have a close relationship. In English as well sometimes to express that someone shared a secret with someone that he trusted we say that what he told him was said "in confidence." Pondering this analysis of words lead me to have an interesting revelation while reading Alma 36:3. It says that "whosoever shall put their trust (or confidence) in God shall be supported in their trials, and troubles, and shall be lifted up at the last day." On the surface level we see that the God wants us to trust in Him and then if we trust in God we will be blessed, protected, and saved :) okay basic but important. Now lets go a little deeper to a more profound level of analysis of this scripture (PS if anyone reading this thinks that I'm teaching false doctrine please correct me and let me know in what part I am in the wrong :) I am completely open to suggestions or corrections or comments) 

On a more profound level, God wants us to put our trust in Him and we also need to put our confidence in Him in the sense that our self-esteem, self-worth, and self assurance should be completely based in the Lord. Meaning that our opinion of ourselves is based upon God's love for us and not based upon anything else. True reliable self-esteem only comes from building your foundation on Christ (Heleman 5:12). Everyone has a foundation of self-worth. It's what motivates us, its what drives us, and its what we wake up for in the morning. I'm convinced that the only way to be truly happy is by putting God as your foundation of your self-worth, by putting your confidence in Him and thus being truly confident. The knowledge that you are a child of God with the sense that our self-esteem, self-worth, and divine talents, divine worth, and divine potential is essential to being confident. When you have that sure conviction and confidence in God then you always are validated by His love for you and you know without a doubt that you are important and valuable to God and therefore you don't feel the need to be validated by other people and you don't have to depend upon and rely upon other people making you feel important because you already know that you are important and nothing that any imperfect mortal thinks, says, or does can alter your sure knowledge and confidence in God. That is true confidence and that brings true happiness.

Unfortunately, we see far too many people that greatly lack that confidence and assurance of self and truly deeply crave, long for, and need to be validated by others in order to feel important and feel valuable. They need to feel wanted and they need others to tell them their important because they don’t have that solid foundation of confidence in God. Many people put the fact that they’re talented at sports, get good grades, have good looks, or have a good looking boyfriend/girlfriend the foundation of their confidence or center of their lives where they base their self-worth. That’s why some people are absolutely devastated if they get a bad grade or their boyfriend/ girlfriend breaks up with them. It’s because they put their boyfriend or girlfriend as the source of their self worth, thus its no surprise that when the boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with them… they feel worthless. These types of things are what lead to depression and suicide if we aren’t careful about what we put as the source of our self-worth. In a world with so many changes and uncertainty the only reliable source of self-worth is our Savior Jesus Christ. His love and power are unending and unchangeable. Simply, Christ will never fail and thus if He is the center of our lives we will never fail. True confidence comes from Him.

Therefore, anytime someone gets offended it is due to a lack of confidence because if we are truly confident we won’t let what others do, say, or think effect us in the slightest. For me a great example of this type of confidence is my dad. I can honestly say that I can’t remember ever seeing my dad get offended. Never. My dad knows he’s a smart, good, successful, and righteous man thus he doesn’t let anything bother him and he never gets offended. He keeps the commandments and trusts in the Lord J thanks for the example dad.

Now overconfidence or namely pride is just as severe if not worse than a lack of confidence so lets look at what it takes to keep that balance in being confident and humble. Humility is a willingness to submit to the Lord and to give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. A great example for missionaries is the classic found in Alma 26:12 and that really epitomizes the essences of humility that we acknowledge our need and dependence upon the Lord. It is the recognition of our weaknesses and the desire and willingness to learn and improve. Only through being humble can we repent, purify, and perfect ourselves through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

A practical example in the mission is that every day after teaching a lesson my companion and I will give each other feedback on how we did in teaching; what we did well and how we can improve. When receiving suggestions on how to improve if I lack confidence I will get offended and argue and cause contention. But likewise if I lack humility then I will disagree with whatever he tells me and I will argue and cause contention. Either way there is contention and discord instead of learning and improvement. Therefore it is essential that I be both confident enough to know that I’m a good missionary so that I don’t get offended and at the same time I must be humble enough to accept the suggestion and apply it rather than rejecting it because I’m prideful.

There are hundreds of examples I could use to illustrate the point that a lack of confidence (insecurity) or lack of humility (pride) will always cause cause contention, problems, and misery while confidence and humility will always bring peace, solutions, and happiness. WWI was a huge bloodbath in which millions of lives were lost for very trivial reasons and the result of WWI was a foolish treaty that set up horrid conditions in Germany which eventually lead to WWII. What were some of the causes of WWI? Lack of confidence and lack of humility. Tsar Nicolas II had recently lost a war to Japan and this caused extreme embarrassment for Russia because in this time period Asian nations were looked down upon. Thus Tsar Nicolas was seriously lacking self-esteem and although it didn’t benefit his country and wasn’t worth the losses he entered Russia into the war to try and save face and prove that Russia wasn’t weak. On the other hand, the leader of Germany Kaiser Wilhelm was extremely arrogant and did all sorts of foolish things in an effort to prove German’s strength as a nation. Also every single argument that I’ve had in my life with family members or companions has been due to a lack of confidence or lack of humility. Take a good look at any argument or disagreement that you see and you will find that the source of the problem is low self-esteem or pride. Or anytime in your life that you have failed or been sad you will find that the source is the same. Likewise you will find that whenever you have succeeded greatly or been truly happy it is likely due to a proper balance of confidence and humility. Whether it be sports, school, family relationships, companionships, work, or any other aspect of life; confidence and humility bring success.

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of being both confident and humble. He was very confident and sure of who He was and what his purpose was as the son of God. He didn’t hesitate in testifying that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). When others mocked and ridiculed him, he never doubted or feared because he was confident in what he was doing and he did his duty perfectly. Yet at the same time he never forgot where his strength came from and he always gave the glory to the Father. In his greatest moment of trial in Gethsemane while suffering for our sins, he humbly submitted to the will of God the Father (Luke 22:42). He was and is the perfect example of confidence and humility.

Wow okay I wrote a lot more than I had planned but this has been on my mind for a while now and I wanted to share it with you all. I invite all of you to put God as the center of your lives and submit to His will giving all the glory to Him. I promise that if we all are confident and humble that we will be happy and successful in life.

I hope this knowledge helps all of you as much as it has helped me :)
Elder Remington