I can honestly say that I am a more confident person because of surfing.
I have anxiety. I've had it since my late teens, and it mostly stems from a place of knowing I can't control things. My social anxiety has to do with the fact that humans are wild and unpredictable, and often being a woman, that can mean danger. So I get really uncomfortable in big crowds, and in situations where people are drinking.
My anxieties will shred my confidence, make me question, and can feed off all my insecurities. It can be debilitating. I am an extroverted introvert, but there comes a point where all the sounds, sights, emotions, all of it, are just too much and I need to leave. And I would find myself getting angry at myself for not just "dealing" with it.
But since I started surfing, slowly I have been able to embrace the lack of control. It doesn't quite freak me out so much anymore. I don't pick myself a part to figure out why something happened, or someone did whatever they did. I've learned to embrace the things I can control.
I've learned to "ride the wave" of just being alive. I can't control the ocean, but I make the choice to paddle out. I make the choice to go for a wave. I make decisions every second that have to do with understanding my own skills, goals, and effort I need to give. I make calls about when to get out of the water. I also get hurt. No one goes out for a session wanting to get a pile drive from a wave. No one wants to hurt their shoulders. But it's kind of a part of the game.
In life we are constantly surrounded by wild variables. I cannot read the minds of those around me, or see into the future. I don't know what will happen beyond the moment I currently live in. I cannot re-write history. But I can choose everyday to embrace the wave. To define my goals. To go for what I want. And I know somedays I will get a pile drive from life, and it's going to suck. But If I can get held under the water by a 12 foot wave, I now know I can handle feeling rejected, hurt, embarrassed, confused, and untethered.
Sometimes I feel like I'm better at surfing than I am at just being a human, so I don't think I'm completely perfect, and some days are really hard. But I know that with every great day, just like with great waves, there is always another one even better about to come along.