Yes, I know he’s a fictional TV character from Boston Legal…and a man… but bear with me on this. He has, in spades, the thing that I’ve always craved and never really been able to muster: self-confidence. Like or hate him, you have to admit that Alan Shore is completely himself and he makes absolutely no apologies for it; how do you get to be like that, can anyone explain it to me?
He is totally self-aware and accepts all his flaws; is that it? Is that what gives us self-confidence:
“You’ll recall I once advised you fleeing the practice of law because it’s an ugly occupation which calls opponents participants to do ugly things. I’m very accomplished to the practice of law, Jerry”
This comment acknowledges that he does ugly things sometimes. The words are not an apology by any means but they are, in their own way, humble when you read between the lines. Yes, he says ‘I am very accomplished’ but, in the same breath, admits that he is massively flawed because he is capable of being cruel to others in the course of his work.
He is extremely attractive to the opposite sex, not because of his looks but because he is utterly determined in his pursuit of them. Is that self-confidence? To talk completely openly to someone you’ve never met, to lay yourself on the line risking all kinds of rejection but not fearing it? He is also brutally honest about what he expects from a relationship:
” I demand only one thing in a relationship, Christine, that I remain utterly alone.”
That may sound nonsensical at first glance until you realise that, in most relationships, people are absorbed into a ‘couple’, often losing something of themselves in the spirit of ‘compromise’. Is it self-confidence or arrogance when someone refuses to change to meet the whims or desires of another person?
Alan is supremely intelligent, is that what gives him his self-assurance? He has the ability to make a witty comeback to any criticism or verbal attack but without getting overly emotional. Is it that he doesn’t fear confrontation because he knows that his verbal dexterity cannot be bested? Is he unemotional because he doesn’t care or because he realises that, when you lose control, you lose the argument?
He admits his fears: he suffers from night terrors and a fear of clowns and, what’s more, he asks for help, from his friends, in over-coming them. Is that self-confidence? To disclose your fears in all their dark glory and acknowledge that you can’t conquer them alone?
Whilst Alan can cut others to the quick with his retorts he is, at the same time, a great humanitarian who sees the injustices in the World and wants to do something about them. Could there be a connection between self-confidence and compassion?
Alan: You know what I miss most about our country, Denny? Not the loss of our civil rights so much as our compassion, our soul, our humanity.
Denny Crane: Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Soul, that’s a religious thing. State… church… it’s unconstitutional for the United States to have a soul.
Alan: Apparently. We seem to be becoming a mean people. Learned Hand once said, “Liberty lies in our hearts, and once it dies there, no constitution can save it.”
Denny Crane: Just once, I wish you’d quote a Republican.
Alan Shore: “I want a kinder and gentler nation.”
Finally, the man is a romantic at heart. He has endless affairs and dalliances but admits that he is desperate for love and is open to it, what’s more, he understands it. Does self-confidence stem from our ability to love and allowing ourselves to be loved?
Denny Crane: Do you believe married people can stay in love?
Alan Shore: Oh, I believe they can know even more profound joys be it with children, the depth of the relationship itself can evolve into something they can’t possibly live without. And yet, it’s something that doesn’t quite so resemble love. It’s not the romance of love.
Denny Crane: I never knew you to be such a romantic.
Alan Shore: My problem is I’m too romantic. No woman can possibly live up to the promise of tomorrow that love holds for me.
I don’t really understand where Alan’s self-confidence stems from but I wish I had it so, there you are, I wish I was Alan Shore……..
If you have any thoughts on this I’d really love to hear from you :O)
Ps, If you’ve never seen Boston Legal and don’t know Alan Shore, here’s a perfect example of his eloquence in court…