I have always had an inexplicable sense that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. If I was going to give myself a compliment, it was that I am willing to try new things and learn new skills. Because of that...it is an apprentice of all... master of none situation. But, if I am being honest, for most of my adult life, my confidence has been in the gutter. Despite my willingness to put myself out there - to learn, to try, to practice….if you asked me if I was a confident person, my answer would be no. Yet….everyone has the impression that I am confident because I don’t hold back.
So this got me thinking….why is it that I spend so much time doubting myself? In the study of myself - which is by default, more and more telling over time - I have found that I follow a series of patterns that I allowed to coerce me into believing that I wasn’t smart. I allowed myself to be silenced by people who stand up taller, speak louder and proclaim to know more. Then I would carry on, holding my own, even when I didn’t agree with said person, but with quiet stoicism.
Upon examination - it is’t that I lack confidence or conviction...it’s that I am not utilizing a strong voice and that my self worth is less than stellar. Now...I don’t want to get into the blame the parents game...but it is only a matter of fact that I was raised in a house where talking back was banned. To compensate, I always had (and still have) the perfect comeback in my head….usually superb counter-arguments….and perfected the dramatic eye-roll or judgegy side glance...the silent approach to saying...not only do I disagree, but I also think you are ridiculous...otherwise known as the easy way out!
I did come to believe that in not verbally standing up or confronting others, that I was showing strength of character...but really, what I was doing was communicating that I accept that you are the authority here - or I do not disagree with what you are saying or doing strongly enough to take a stand.
In doing so - I believe that I have been doing myself and my relationships a disservice. I may not always be the expert on a given topic of conversation, but I am the expert in me. This is what I have failed to remember. It is a matter of self-worth.
I strive for all A’s - to do everything I set out to do well - I don’t like to be wrong. It is uncomfortable. If I don’t speak up - I can’t appear to be wrong. If I smile and appear to agree or understand someone - they can’t think ill of me. I want to figure out all the kinks before anyone knows about them - I want the time to problem solve so others see me as competent and capable. But - here’s the thing - I know I am capable - so what I need to do now is harness it and relinquish this fraudulent idea of control and perfectionism that I have deemed so necessary.
New Rituals to Promote Self Worth:
If I don’t know - I say I don’t know! (I used to find shame in the NOT knowing...like I expected myself to have all of the answers!)
After I say I don’t know - I evaluate. Is it mine (stay in your lane) to solve - what is it’s value to me?
If I decide it is mine - I follow through to find answers! Can I solve it myself? Can I research it? Who can I ask?
Perhaps the biggest change has been a shift in my priorities.
Numero Uno: Me!
It has been important for me to make the distinction between worrying about someone's impression of me versus serving myself as an individual. They are not one in the same….although I have mistaken the two historically.
Don't fall into the trap of waiting to practice self-worth, until you feel like you have it all together. Start right now - start with me.
See yourself - see your worth - show yourself loving kindness.