ADVICE: How Can I Regain My Confidence?

Every week, New York City’s own party messiah takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution in his new weekly advice column in The Village Voice. Read the latest edition of Ask Andrew W.K. below or by clicking HERE.

A full archive of Ask Andrew W.K. can be found HERE.

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June 7th, 2015

Dear Andrew W.K.,

To put it simply, I’ve lost my confidence. I used to be able to wake up in the morning knowing who I was, feeling sure of myself and ready to take on the world. But over the past few years, I’ve felt myself slipping away and it’s come to the point where I no longer recognize myself.

Before this, I had accomplished a lot in life. I bought my own home at age 23, I’m well-educated, I love my career, and I have an amazing support group of friends and family. Yet when I look at my life, I feel boring — like there’s nothing outwardly special or impressive about me these days.

I know I should be able to be proud of what I’ve done in the past — and I am — but that drive to do more just isn’t there anymore. I just want to be confident again and know who I am. I’ve lost my way and don’t know how to get back my old self.

Your friend,
Lost Along the Way

Dear Lost Along The Way,

There is no “old self” to get back to. There is only yourself now. There is no real way to “be who you were;” you can only to be who you are. Whatever good qualities you had then are still there, but they are not the same. You are who you were but you’re also not. This is the puzzle of the ever developing person: Realizing that the ever unfolding qualities are hard to track or pin down, even though they’re currently taking even more complete shape right now as you read this.

Stop letting your mind criticize and judge you based on a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore. Even though you loved those past times, if you’re really honest, I’m guessing you’ll agree that you don’t want to move back to then. If today was your final day on earth, I doubt you would spend very much time thinking about how you used to be and would instead do everything you could to be as present as possible and soak up as much of your life while it’s right in front of you. I imagine this is probably how you thought back in the day as well. You were just alive and living it for all it was worth. You can only go forward, and it will always be changing and never be what it was. The longer you live, the more you’ll realize the impossibility of holding onto anything other than where you currently are. And even that moment is in motion. It’s all one, big, huge, solid moment — a moment called “your life.” Don’t go back and live in a moment that doesn’t exist any more when you have this precious moment right in front of you now. You’ve earned it. Be worthy of your own life.

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Photo by Mario Dane