Thoughts on the word ‘confidence’

Have you ever thought about the word confidence?

I was just thinking that it must stem from the same root as the word confide, i.e. a confide-ence or a confiding (to another, or others, which might explain the connotation of outward or external projection that the word carries with it in current everyday use).

This, however, would also tie it intimately to the notions of trust, safety, and vulnerability (as in someone with confidence is unafraid to allow themselves to be vulnerable). Which is to say that a ‘confidence’ is really a held belief that what we put outside of ourselves, or ‘confide’ will not cause us harm; that we will be safe in doing so.

It seems to me that this gives a pretty different shade of meaning from the conventional use or understanding of the word in our culture right now, which carries with it something more along the lines of arrogance, or macho-ness (along with those qualities attendant pretensions), which might have very little to do with it after all.

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