I never had confidence – never. The hardest thing to know is your own worth, and it took me years and years to find out what mine is.– Peggy Lipton
The quote above could’ve been my own words. It has taken me years to find and understand my own worth, and build my confidence. Even so, I still have my moments where I doubt myself, where my self-confidence falter and I am returned to be that scared teenager, standing against the wall and hoping no one noticed me.
Confidence in my school years
In all my school years, I have never been part of the popular group, and never wanted to be, because I didn’t have the confidence the members of those group radiated. I have also never been part of the group that became the targets of the popular group, and neither have I been part of the nerds, or the high achievers, or any group for that matter. I didn’t want to belong. I preferred to keep to myself, and always had only one or two friends I spent time with during breaks or after school.
I had to learn real hard to get good grades, which meant I mostly had my nose buried in the books. Books were as much my friends as those one or two school friends. Looking back on it now, I think studying hard and doing what was expected of me, somehow made me feel in control, and in turn that must’ve made me feel confident in some or other way, even though I still shied away from being the center of attention.
One place where I had all the confidence in myself and my abilities, was when I was doing gymnastics. Whether it was during hours of training, or a competition, I absolutely love going though my routines. I spent many afternoons after school practicing some of my floor and beam routines on the grass in our back garden. Over and over again.
Together with two other girls in school, I was selected to attend the national competition. We trained even more than before, and my confidence grew. Somehow this must’ve shone through, because one day the three of us found ourselves in the headmaster’s office because complaints were made that we were arrogant. I surely knew I wasn’t, and the reprimand by the headmaster did shatter some of my new-found confidence. After the national competition, I returned to being the child not wanting to stand out.
My confidence nowadays
I am a hard worker, and I have always worked hard to master the things I do.
In my work I have gone from being ‘just a worker’ to managing a department of 6 people. When I was appointed manager, I took up a bachelor study to have the skills to properly do my job. I had been manager until August 2018, when I chose to step back, because of my mental health. This was one of the best decisions for me, the same as when I decided to go from working 5 days a week to only 4 days. Somehow I think that it’s because of self-confidence and self-knowledge that I was able to make these decisions. I have learned what I needed, and made the decisions. Years before, I wouldn’t have been able to make those decisions, because I lacked the confidence and knowledge.
Nowadays — I have been working for the same company for 16 years now — I am very confident in my abilities. I know my job, know the things I can and can’t do (re knowledge), know my priorities, and know when to ask for help.
The other big thing in my life is my online persona. I have worked hard to build this website into what it is, and have gained a lot of (technical) knowledge over the past ten years. What’s on my blog is all me, no pretense, but just who I am. I am the same person here as I am offline. This blog is part of what has helped to build my self-confidence, through sharing not only my words, but also my images.
I am in a point in my life where I am content with who I am. I know my self-worth, know what drives me, know my intentions, my view on life, know what I can talk about, and know what not, know what I need to study more to get a better understanding, and know what subjects don’t interest me at all. I know what I need, know how I learn, know what I can handle and what not.
I know all these things, and still sometimes I… forget?
Back to the basics
One thing I have also learned over the years, is that returning to the basics, to get back to my core values, grounds me. I tend to get all excited about new things and run with it, or push myself too hard for things I have to do. No one says I have to, but still I push and push and push myself, until… it blows up. And when it blows, I know I have done it again: got over-confident. That’s when I also know I need to get back to the basics, to remind myself of why I am doing things, what I want to achieve by doing it, and what makes me happy.
Currently I am in the process of getting back to the basics, back to my core, re-evaluating what is important, where I want to go, what my goals are and what makes me happy. And I know by doing this, I will get back the self-confidence I have lost.
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay