Some Unexpected Confidence
I’m the last person who should be giving confidence advice and the first to admit the fact. And yet, this evening when I found my cousin asking over Facebook for someone to talk to him because he was worried about how he was as a person, I felt compelled to reach out.
My cousin and I haven’t really spoken much, ever. He is two years older than me, leads a completely different life, is autistic and has the optimism of the greatest of men. Aside from his inability to use punctuation correctly, I can really find no fault in him. As a matter of fact, he’s a much better person than I.
For one, talking to him improves my ability to use the English language. When I type with my friends, I use an awful lot of abbreviations, ‘lol’ and ‘haha’s, and I find myself writing in shorthand. Yet when I speak to my cousin, I use ‘yes’, not ‘yeah’. I abbreviate less by saying ‘I am’ and other such phrases. My grammar generally improves in our conversations. Perhaps because I feel subconsciously that, as he is autistic, it would help him to understand if I type it out long. But the thing is, he is a lot smarter than I think people give him credit for. He understands me without the emphasis on grammar. It’s just a natural impulse for me to do so, and I think maybe it’s a good thing.
Tonight, I felt I had to talk to him. It isn’t often I see him asking to talk to someone about how his life is progressing, and it seemed only right to try and give him a boost. Normally, he is so positive it astounds me. He is on most days a fountain of optimism. He will always talk about how proud of himself he is, about how proud of his family he is, about how grateful he is for the opportunities he’s been given and how he has been, and will continue to be bettered by it. And for someone like me with so many confidence issues myself, it’s nice to see that at least he’s doing well for himself. So to see him out of sorts was .. a little distressing. I worry for him when he isn’t his usual chirpy self. So I intervened.
As it happens, my advice was nothing in comparison to what he gave back to me. I handed him a couple of links to confidence boosting tips from t’internet and told him about meditation, and for his part he showered me with thanks and gratitude, and proceeded to tell me he was proud of me. I almost teared up knowing that, in trying to help him, I had gained something so much more valuable in return: the faith of a relative. He has given me confidence in myself, perhaps because I know every word he speaks comes direct from his heart. And to hear him tell me he believed I could do so well for myself was an honour. My two measly URL’s did not do him justice.
My cousin is a wonderful man. I only wish I had half the optimism in his soul, and half the belief in his heart. I think the world can learn a valuable lesson from him. He is without a doubt one of the bravest men I know.