Dunno what’s up with me of late, but the past couple of days has seen my confidence take a bit of a knock.

I know I’ve been a right pain to be around.

Nothing specific behind this. The usual inner voices mocking me and pulling down anything and everything I’ve constructed to make myself feel more settled in my own skin. I look in the mirror and see a face looking back at me. Is it mine? I’m pleased to have a beard to hide behind as, to be honest, I’m a bit scared of what’s looking back at me. Scared of it’s searching eyes and disapproving glower.

I’m 40 in just over a week. I guess that’s what it is. I look in the mirror and see a thing in front of me and in a split second ask myself a thousand questions I can’t answer.

I should be happy, or at least happier but I can’t honestly say I am. Happiness will come, I’m sure, but things are unsettled and really, life should’ve settled down a bit by now. But they haven’t and I’m not confident I can do anything about it, and therefore I’m not confident about anything I do. This post has been sitting here for days, purely because I didn’t have the confidence to write it.

I’m a bloke. A man. Men shouldn’t have these moments where they feel shit about themselves, have low-self esteem and question every fucking thing. Men are supposed to be supportive and strong, have belief in what they say and do. Big broad shoulders. Head held high. Put on a pair of jeans and think “fuck it, I am man, hear my roar”. Men aren’t supposed to question themselves at every turn, or ask themselves “does my bum look big in this?”

Lynx have a range of shower gels for men. For men like me. Lynx EXCITE, Lynx ATTRACT, Lynx DARK TEMPTATION. Right now I don’t think I could excite, attract or tempt anyone. One describes itself thus MASCULINE SPICES WITH SPARKLING GREEN AND CITRUS NOTES. ADD A LIVELY JOLT OF CAFFEINE AND GOLDEN AMBER, AND YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE.

I’m gonna buy some tomorrow and use it. If it isn’t the best day of my life? Well they’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

Sadly they don’t do Lynx Worried A Bit About the Years To Come and Feeling A Bit Lumpy Around The Middle. If they did then I’d probably buy it right now.

At this moment I’m wondering if this is the best I’ll ever be. Is this the best I’ll ever look? Have I reached my heights, my zenith? Only to slide predictably downhill to a middle age of weariness, complaining and looking back. Because from here it goes downhill my friend. 15 years ago I was 25 and could take on the world. 15 years from now I’ll be 55 and, if my family history is anything to go by, I would’ve either had a heart attack, or be dead.

It’s my birthday soon and I’ll be 40. Just ignore me. I’m having one of those ‘taking stock’ moments in my life.

Perhaps, before this truly batters me like some thug in a car park on a dark night, something I feel could come, perhaps I need to breathe a bit and enjoy the scenery. Look at the sky and see the blue. See the green in a park. Listen to laughter. Perhaps I need to stop thinking so much. Perhaps I just need to feel more.

But sometimes I’m afraid of feeling so much. I know my emotions can get the better of me and sometimes that’s not a good thing. So I think. And then I think a bit more, and the think that I’m thinking is that I’m thinking and not feeling and… if I’m not feeling is this the return of the depression? Fuck.

Well. I know I’m good at one thing. I know I’m a good dad to my children. That should be enough shouldn’t it? That should keep me going.

Something inside me, sometimes, conspires to make good times bad. I don’t know why. Perhaps I just don’t like feeling happy. Perhaps I don’t deserve a happy ending.

Or perhaps I’m afraid of happiness ending.

Is this sudden lack of confidence a common thing with men? I don’t know, so I’d love to know if you know men who go through moments like this, or if, as I suspect, the rest of the world just gets on with it and stops moaning. Despite low-self esteem all my life I guess, after everything is taken into account, I am quite lucky. Please let me know what you think.

Oh, and thanks for reading.

46 responses to “Confidence

  1. I think everyone reassesses at the end of a decade. And if Inge aren’t how we planned we are cross. I am 40 in under 12 months. And am desperately trying to look on it as a start of a new era as opposed to the end of anything! Lynx is shit. My mates kid was using it to kill moths (?) and they didn’t get a queue of women at the door. Not even half a dozen hot girls. Not even one actually.
    You love and are loved, not just by your children , but by many. That can’t be a bad place to start a decade huh!

    • Thanks for reading. I’ve always had issues with shyness and self-esteem and I thought as I got older, get older, I’d be able to deal with them. But no. I’m still the 11 year old on the bus who hears laughter behind him and thinks people are laughing at him.
      Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

  2. TBH I feel you just want the negative feelings to go away and so you are rushing your grieving process (as divorce effects us the same way as death). It should take around 12 months and I know it’s not what you want to hear right now but don’t put pressure on yourself that you should be feeling back to “normal” by now.
    The confidence will come I’m sure – and you have good friends to help you along the way.
    If I can be of any help at all let me know.
    Maybe give this guy a call he’s very nice (oh and my uncle :O) )

  3. Lovely man. You are a human going through a rough time. You re going to have a bevy of emotion, make or female. Don’t judge yourself so much. Th birthday is probably a factor – lo your divorce, um…yeah.
    You will have good day and bad. Remember – feelings aren’t facts. x

    • Thanks. They feel real enough, they feel like fact sometimes, but I understand what you mean.
      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I thought your comment would be something along the lines of ‘Oh for fucks sake Spencer, just sort yourself out!’ πŸ˜‰

  4. I do believe what yo are going through is normal. My husband is turning 30 in just over a year and is starting to panic! Your children love you dearly, as do many of your blog readers! Hell! I love you and have never me you in my life! Chin up πŸ™‚ ((massive twitter love and hugs))

  5. I’m absolutely ace and even I have those moments where I’m convinced I’m the world’s biggest c**t and that can’t be right because if you’ve been reading closely you’ll know that I’m absolutely ace.

    Someone once told me that everyone EVERYONE (and they spoke in capitals so I’m just quoting) is just two really bad days from chaos. The longer I live, the more I believe it.

    When I feel cripplingly unconfident I fake it. It works more often than not. Wishing you good mental health.

    • I’ve never faked anything in my life. Perhaps I should have a chat with some ex-girlfriends as I’m sure they know something about faking it. Ahem.
      Good quote. I totally agree with that feeling.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting. You’re absolutely ace.

  6. Really sorry to hear you are feeling like this. I think most of us go through it at some time. I hope writing it helped – it usually helps me – and I hope you are able to pick yourself up in a few days or weeks, look back and think ‘what was that all about?’. My husband rarely gets down, but when he does it’s to do with ‘man stuff’ – the weight of responsibility of working and providing for your family.

    • I think writing it has helped, but now I’m worrying that it sounded needy and shit. See, confidence?
      Perhaps a sharp blow to the head may help. I’ll try that on the morning of my birthday, or see if anyone else would like to administer the dose. πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for commenting and for reading.

  7. Confidence is a issue with the best of us, just most don’t really ever mention it so your left there thinking is it just me. But be sure it’s not
    and the forty thing well it’s not so bad (just turned 41). Put all you have laernt and gone through so far, even the not so good stuff and turn it into something ppositive. πŸ™‚

  8. Seriously? With THOSE gorgeous blue eyes? You’re doing fine hun, it’s a turning 40 thing. It’ll pass. You are just reaching your prime, trust me. Blue eyes and confidence is all you need. XX

  9. Without wanting to sound patronising I just want to give you a big hug. You’re more fabulous than you realise, but I guess that’s normal I’m sure most of us suffer that, especially during transitional periods in life, I often wish I could feel more self confident rather than be influenced by (or rely upon) others’ opinions of me. Being shy is hard,online I’m not and in person I pretend not to be, but I am, It’s crippling in New situations and I know I’ve missed out on opportunities of all shapes because of it, but then again I think being a bit humble and shy can sometimes be a good thing too, I don’t know, I’m waffling, but really I think it is more common than we realise, sometimes even people who appear confident and self assured really aren’t

    • I understand what you mean and you’re not waffling at all. Inside me is a confident person wanting to come out, and sometimes he pokes his head out and deals with shizzle. Easily and with no fuss. But then there’s that little fucker who comes back and niggles away at the back of your brain, pulling you down and telling you that, despite your best efforts, you’re still shit.
      Perhaps I should ignore him.
      You are fabulous too. I believe this and so confidence will come to you too.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  10. I’m also the 11 year old on the bus! Really I’m 37 but often lie and say I’m 34 as its nearer to 30 than 40. I was going to say I think you’re too hung up on numbers and age but I guess that would be pot calling the kettle!

    I think lack of confidence isn’t a male/female thing. It happens to us all. I’ve not read it yet but have recently bought Paul Mckenna’s Instant Confidence book. I’m hoping to pick up some tips. I read his I Can Make You Thin book. (would highly recommend it) One thing that stuck in my mind is, how can we expect to feel good about ourselves if we constantly look in the mirror and tell ourselves negative things. ‘My bum looks big, hairs a mess etc’ We need to look in the mirror and pick up on the positives. We all have them.

      • Thanks. Someone else mentioned that so I might take a look. The point about seeing yourself through others eyes is also good. I’ll try that. As long as I don’t try to see myself through the eyes of my ex-wife. That wouldn’t be constructive. πŸ˜‰

  11. glad to say you are perfectly normal dude. As it stands I think most people have a crisis every now and then and though you’re going through one now I have no doubt you’ll come out on top.
    you’re well preserved for a forty year old looking at your pic, have great skill with a keyboard and are basically an excellent fellow. So just keep heading along, try not to let life drag you down and remember that everything takes time.
    A Winston Churchill quote always makes me smile and of course pulls me up when I’m feeling short, skint, uneducated and unpublished. Its simple but very effective. Here it is:
    ‘When you find yourself going THROUGH hell…keep going!’
    Thats it. I come out the otherside and tip my hat to the historical fatman.

    Keep the beard, you look good.

  12. Promise you every bloke goes through this far more than they would like to admit. It’s normal esp at times when you reach a milestone in your life. The thing is, as a great male friend of mine says, what are you going to do about it? You can do nothing but that won’t help. When you do something about something it doesn’t have to be life changing perhaps just life affirming – you are a good Dad don’t knock it. Enjoy your kids and yes, stop thinking too much it’s a thing that afflicts us all male and female!
    PS Happy 40th!

  13. I think you’re giving you a really hard time. Stop telling yourself how you “should” feel or how you “should” be. And for the love of Ogg, don’t let a can of pit spray tell you what a “real man” ought to be & do!

    You’re about halfway through a lifetime that will be full of ups & downs. Right now you’re in a bit of a dip. Allow yourself to feel it but try not to be consumed by it. Does that make sense? Just say, “all this shit has happened & it’s made me feel like this”. And that’s ok. This is temporary. Soon other stuff will happen that will make you feel differently. Your confidence will return. Happiness will return. And it won’t be coz Lynx made it happen. It’ll be your own doing.

    Is that a bit airy fairy psycho-babble? I dunno. Probably. But be kind to yourself. Nurture your battered self-esteem til it recovers. If one of your children came to you & said they were feeling like this, what would you say or do to make it better? That’s what you need to do for yourself.

    • I know. But Lynx is on a two for one offer at the moment and I can’t resist a bargain.
      Thanks for your comment, which makes a fuck of a lot of sense to a dullard like me.

  14. I’m turning 40 next year and have plenty of times in my life when I suffered with low confidence. Unlike you I wasn’t brave enough to talk about it and preferred to keep it all inside. That shit really doesn’t work.

    I eventually turned to a self-help book which sounds wanky but worked for me (not that I am suggesting this for you). The biggest thing I did that helped me was learning to see myself through someone else’s eyes. I would start with your kids cos they think you are ace.

    • You’re a father, and a good one at that. Don’t let that ever make you feel less than amazing. Yes we all feel like this at times. At the beginning of the year I ended a 20 yr relationship and spent the next few months walking around completely lost. Find some time for you, do something you wouldn’t normally do. Find yourself. Dig deep. You will find the amazing person behind the dad x x


  15. It’s a fallacy that men are full of confidence and, trying to live up to this fallacy, drains the poor creatures of any they do have. All men in my family lack it to some degree which is part of their charm. I’ve concluded, through long observation, that even the most extrovert of people are often riddled with self-doubt. From what I know of it you you seem a most appealing person.

  16. Mate, you’re on a bit of a downer is all. Next week the sun will be out, you would’ve spent some time with your kids, the Paralympics is just round the corner and someone, some stranger, would’ve said, “ooo, you smell nice”.
    It’s not just you, it’s all of us, all the time, just not at the same time, so everyone else looks strong and interesting and sorted and you feel like shit (but only fleetingly). Next week some poor Joe Sop will be looking at you thinking, look at him and his nice clothes and his designer beard and his lovely kids and his smiles and laughter, wish I had his life. You’re not on your own, it’s all of us, all the time.
    There’s no doubt that 40 is a milestone, I had that 10 years ago and now qualify for Saga Holidays (50), OMFG !! and much to my other half’s amusement.
    I’ve had my down days (and weeks), I’ve cried like a 12 year old girl for no reason and then I’ve cried because I was a MAN who was crying. I also looked over my shoulder to make sure no-one saw.
    I’ve been reading your tweets and blogs for a short while now, always interesting, always funny or thought provoking and absolutely always well written. Seems to me like you’ve got loads to smile about and so much to get up for in the morning. Should you maybe just sit back, take stock and maybe grin to yourself about all the good stuff. Fuck the shit stuff, it’ll sort itself or you’ll sort it when it needs sorting.

  17. Hey Spencer, I don’t know what to say, except, I don’t believe it’s a male issue or a female one, it’s just what it is and I hope that it passes for you in time. Love x

  18. My hubby just turned 35 and seems to be struggling with the same sorts of feelings. Doesn’t help him that I’m 9yrs younger. Men are entitled to emotions too, it doesn’t make you any less of a man. In fact I think it makes you more of a man if you are able to voice it. I hope you find some therapy in posting this and will find your confidence again soon. X

  19. I’m 40 soon and had a bit of a rough time of it recently. I have to keep telling myself, I’m only human, I’m not perfect and that’s ok, don’t be so hard on myself, have a bit of compassion and forgive yourself.

    After reading through all your comments, there are a lot of people who care about you and I really hope that you come through this bad patch soon x

    • Good point. We’re not all perfect despite our efforts to try to be. Which usually end in failure.
      I guess it’s about accepting yourself. Something I sometimes find very hard as I know that I can do better than I sometimes do. If that makes any sense.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  20. Can’t speak for men, but you’ve put into words how I feel a lot of the time. I turned 40 this year and it didn’t other me at all. Thought it would but can’t change my age so what the heck, just gotta go with it…
    I have no confidence whatsoever though. I walk down a street and picture myself as a huge lumbering rhino (I’m 85kg) I won’t throw a party in case noone comes and I KNOW the laughter is at me, totally convinced!
    But I stop and look around at everyone laughing and pointing at me and you know what? They aren’t… And I smile and carry on because I know that a lot of people feel the same πŸ™‚

    • That’s a good way to look at life. Thanks for the comment and some of these comments I know will keep me going when life is tough. Or when I’m simply having a bad hair day. πŸ˜‰

  21. Low self esteem? yes I know that feeling,
    divorce? yes from a child’s point of view not an adults.
    Hitting 40 and wondering what the hell have I achieved? Yup ticked that box too.
    I agree with lots of the people on here, who say that you are not alone in thinking that everyone is laughing at you and that they aren’t. They are possibly laughing at a joke that they have heard, or what their child has done. Ever done that? laughed at what your children have done or said while out in public? Bet someone thought you were laughing at them! Oo-err boot on other foot now. You made some-one feel bad! You are a great person, everyone (murderers etc excepted) is a great person. We all have days where we don’t think we are top dog. We all have days where we think people are laughing at us. We all have days where we laugh at other people (be honest now!). That’s life. Life is sometimes shite, life is sometimes great. It’s a bag of allsorts.
    Cheer up, and listen to some monty python, watch the Paralympics and be grateful for small mercies, like the sun coming up each day, and your children who smile when they see you!
    Lots of love and hugs x

  22. I know my husband feels like this sometimes, hes like a rollercoaster with his emotions, so believe me you really are not the only man who suffers like this. Its taken me a long time to get him to talk about stuff and i think this helps! Keep talking about it all spencer as it really will help! Hugs xx

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