Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Do you ever doubt your abilities and your qualities as they compare to everyone else? I do. I have struggled with self confidence seriously my whole life. How did this start — who knows. Was it based on my childish faith being dashed by the judgement of a dear friend. Did I struggle because of the fact that I learned differently then everyone around me — and by differently I mean — I struggled to spell, learn math facts, read as fast as everyone else. It seemed to take me so much longer then everyone else — always the last to turn in the test — I told myself I must be less then everyone else. Maybe it was judgement. Have you ever faced that? As women we hear what friends say to each other about others and if we are smart, well, we realize others must surely be saying similar things about us. We project judgement that most likely isn’t even there. We continue this behavior into adulthood. So who knows where my low self esteem came from — or when I started to think I was not deserving … but it happened.
So to meet me now you would never believe that I was meek, quiet, and quite the introvert. I have come a long way — a very long way. Today I style others. A decade ago I didn’t trust my own taste. A decade ago I said I have NO friends. Today I feel overwhelmed with love. A decade ago I feared judgement but today — well — to be truthful I still am not a fan of judgement — but I have learned that the judgement of others doesn’t define me and really if I like my choices then maybe their “judgement” isn’t really accurate. That is progress. Funny how life can take a turn and lead you where you would have never imagined.
Where are you on the continuum of confidence. Do you have NONE…. are your growing and doing ok …. or are you pretty confident? Well if you are still journeying like me let me tell you a few things I have learned along the way.
To grow you have to stretch. You need to step out and do the things you are most afraid of and see that you will survive. Action leads to confidence. I know one thing for sure – -if you do nothing — nothing will change. So what are you afraid to do that you could do today. It can be small, but just trying is huge! For me I started a business 10 years ago. I stepped out and did something I didn’t know how to do at ALL. And I didn’t die. In fact, I found my gifts fit right in and helped me to blossom. It wasn’t a straight shot up to confidence. No, I definitely encountered obstacles that I struggled through. But even though it was hard at times, hard to face my fears of judgement, I never gave up. Just not giving up helped me to grow.
I never liked to read — EVER. period. Why? I am dyslexic — I didn’t know this until a few years ago — but regardless — reading was hard. Not because I coudn’t read the words — but becuase it took so much mental energy to concentrate on what I was reading — I would have to read a page over and over sometimes because I just missed the whole point while my mind was elsewhere! Well a few years ago I got an Iphone — and discovered audio books — so now I am addicted. One of my favorite authors is Mark Batterson. In his book, In a pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day he talks about how the cure for our fear is not avoidance but rather small doses of what we fear until we are immune. I love this idea. I know it is true. If you fear rejection — don’t avoid it — go out and embrace it and see that you survived. Once you encounter what you are fearing you realize it doesn’t have the same power over you any longer. Once you realize this you grow in your own confidence.
So, I will encourage you again to stop avoiding what you are afraid of and instead go experience it in small doses and see that it isn’t fatal. Are you afraid to go up to a stranger and chat? Are you fearing trying to lose weight and failing again? Step out in faith and know that you aren’t alone. God is with you every step and in fact — He know what is about to happen and whatever it is He can use it for good. So step out and start your journey to confidence. Where do you want to be 10 years from today? Do you want to be able to look back and say that is the way I USED to be — but not anymore!
The journey starts today!