Confidence is a funny thing. It can grow over time. It can also apply to many areas of one’s life. It’s defined as, “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
Once I got past High School and my first year or two out in the working world, I’ve never had a problem with my self-assurance or confidence in my abilities on the job. I’m not the type to blow my own horn; I usually just quietly go about my business and get the work done. I do know that I’m good at what I do and places where I’ve worked have been (damned) lucky to have me.
My lack of assertiveness has been more in the social arena, but even that has changed as the years have passed. I simply had to find my comfort zone and the “arena” where I belonged. Once I stopped trying to be what everyone else was saying I “should” be, I figured out where I was most comfortable, and I got a lot better at doing my own thing.
I think a big piece of it is age. I firmly believe that we reach a point in our lives where we stop worrying about what others think. For me, it was at 50. I looked up, realized I liked who I was, and I didn’t give a fig what everyone else thought.
Some people never reach that state. My mother never did. She always said she was a Pollayanna. Huh. I must’ve missed something big with her. I never saw her as excessively cheerful or optimistic. She had a great sense of humor, but she was so intent on hiding from the world, not many ever saw it. When she first married, she couldn’t wait to stay home and raise a family. She hated being out around people, but when she was, her whole demeanor changed. She never saw that about herself. She always told me she couldn’t do what I do. Sure, she could have; she just didn’t want to.
I got to thinking about lack of assertiveness yesterday when a famous person (rock star) I admire greatly was on social media, begging for people to talk to live. I wanted so badly to talk to him, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. He’s on again this morning saying how much he enjoyed talking to people and seeing the videos they’d sent. Why couldn’t I have been one of them? Sigh. I let my fear that I wouldn’t quite measure up get in the way again. Silly, huh?
I met a famous country singer about ten years ago. I did a meet and greet, and I was the very first person in line. When he came in, I got to have my picture taken with him. I remember telling him that I’d seen him live three times that year. I thought maybe he’d say thank you or that he was honored or acknowledge my “contribution” to his wealth and popularity. Instead I got, “man, you must be getting bored”. Maybe he was trying to be funny, but it seemed like he was lacking in confidence as well. For someone who meets so many people, you’d think he would’ve had a smoother response.
As for me, I will continue working on the “me” I see (and like) in the mirror. You’re never too old to step out and be the you that you were really meant to be.