After decades of masking my insecurities with artificial arrogance, what I know now is my best effort presents in the light of complete exposure. I might as well face the fact that I am not perfect. Not even close.

After surviving most of 2015 without a drink I”m hard pressed to substantiate any good reason why I ever drank. But regardless, the reasons stemmed from (1) the fear of being vulnerable and powerless to people and situations and (2) the tiny, mighty pronoun, my.

When we apply “my” to a subject, the very essence of that subject changes. This form of the possessive has the ability to change our absolute view of the world and how we see ourselves in relation to others.

Take my dog Max, who presented as the most adorable puppy ever, which meant that we were adorable together, and that worked fine. But, as he grew into himself he went through a phase where he was just butt ugly. It was awful. He and I went from cheers to jeers in just a few short weeks. And since he was “my” dog, my ego was involved. I was in knots about his appearance until he morphed out of it.

Ultimately, my love for him didn’t change. In fact it grew. Maximus didn’t know he was ugly! He was the same personality. He was the same dog presenting as himself. And as far as he knew, he was the same cuteness. It was the “my” in front of “dog” that had changed me. “My” had made me vulnerable to what other people thought and valued as good. What a realization and opportunity for growth. The concept of “my” begin to change in my head and take on new meaning.

We have a tendency to believe that confidence comes from looking a certain way, possessing talent and charisma, maintaining an ideal weight, working in our chosen field, driving our dream car, whatever, but ultimately none of these foster confidence.

Confidence shows up when you can accept the imperfections in life and feel good about life anyway. Being willing to face your fears and be vulnerable to the world around you is the truest display of confidence — dare I say arrogance.

When life pushed me to the precipice of my fears I had no choice but to face them. And in doing so, I was emotionally, mentally and physically exposed. Through exposure I discovered what was really beneath the surface. I learned more about myself and the true essence of my soul.

These days I find myself spending less time worrying about confidence and more time facing my fears. I’m opening up to vulnerability, little by little dropping the my, and it feels good.

Today’s Challenge: Recognize a fear or vulnerability that affects a my in your life. And remember, fear is simply false evidence appearing real.

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