Hi, how are you? Are you enjoying nice summer weather right now? Are you feeling more motivated by the lighting? It’s pretty uplifting. Speaking of uplifting, you know what I’ve been noticing? The correlation between independence and confidence. I’d like to include autonomy and self-sufficiency because this seems to be a power trio. I think a great source of low confidence and self-esteem stems from the feeling of incapability or vulnerability. What comes before that? Missing out on chances to prove our worth.
Let’s pause for a second. I wrote at the beginning of this blog about the lovely weather JUST before our worst storm in a really long time. It was a derecho; a new word for me meaning a storm with extremely high winds, flash flooding but in a linear pattern. (In contrast with a tornado or twister though a derecho can become one. It was REALLY bad and caused a lot of destruction.
Being in Ste-Adele, one of the worst hit by the way, we had a TON of fallen trees across powerlines, houses, cars, tempos, etc. There was also a deluge of rain, flooding lanes and causing one landslide that I could see. On our property the driveway was blocked, we lost enormous trees and one fell on the tempo. Thankfully it bent instead of caving in so my dad only has two small scratches and was able to get his car out. I was at work when the storm hit. We were closing the cashes when the lights went crazy and then we lost power- like half a million others in Quebec.
The outside got almost entirely dark and the wind was even rattling the window panes. (And it’s a very modern building.) My mom and dad were texting me warnings, letting me know how dangerous it was and to be careful coming home. My coworker and I left after the peak 10 minutes of the storm. That’s when sh*t got real. Sirens, trees on cars/houses and branches littered everywhere.
I found my way home blocked by trees and that little landslide I mentioned. I turned around and took the backroads to our house only to find my path blocked again. I could have made it under the tree by going onto the shoulder (praise low sedans!) but got out of my car first to see if there were more trees. Good thing because right after the first tree I saw 3 more that would be been impossible to get around. That’s when my anxiety started bordering panic and I smoked 3 cigarettes in a row. I didn’t know how else to get home!
I went back the first way hoping the people who had been trying clear a path with chainsaws had made some headway. Thankfully they had and I squeezed by. On the rest of the way back I maneuvered around more trees and saw powerlines almost touching the ground. I was so grateful to make it home with Mia! So now its been 2 days since the storm and have no power. Thank the Universe for our generator which we can turn on for short periods.
Back to Confidence
I’m not talking about proving our worth to others in order to build confidence, but to prove things for OURSELVES. The only way to achieve this is through doing. It’s not a good thing to be too shielded from the world and have everything done for us; every battle fought by someone else. The help comes from the best intentions but might not be the best for character development. There comes a time where it’s only by fighting our own battles and cleaning up after our mistakes that we can foster a certain faith in our abilities. We have to be tested. We have to mess up and then figure things out.
I’m writing about this today because it’s a bit of a personal discovery. My confidence has been low for a very long time. A key reason as to why I’ve been seeing gradual improvements is my increased autonomy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from independent and my parents are always an enormous help, but the responsibilities of adulthood have started to settle in now that I’m no longer merely in survival mode. I’ve been trying to stay up for the challenges as they arise even if I’m not doing a great job. I think trying carries its own value and significance.
I’ve hoped for near-perfection for so long that I’ve been missing the forest for the trees. We’re all a work in progress and the best thing to do might be to simply BE. As time passes, things can unravel. We just can’t give up on ourselves as I’ve been tempted to do.
If my words are starting to sound flat, its because I feel a little flattened right now. I’ve gotta step back at laugh at my paradoxical mind. And you know what? Just this morning I was in a splendidly optimistic mood. I’ve been struggling to do school but when I got home early (we lost power at work), I managed to write up maybe 70% of one of my assignments. Then the sky came falling down and I didn’t want to do anything. The same drop happened yesterday too. Unless I’m quite engaged, my mental preoccupations are haunting me/making me feel like crap. Alright well enough of this pity party. I’m going to shut off my brain by sleeping now… good night. I’ll get back to you on this…
The trick is to keep putting ourselves out there regardless of what we encounter. That’s a lot easier to say than to apply but it’s good to have goals. It reminds me of the song Try by Pink. Here are some of the lyrics from memory, so it might not be word for word:
“Where there is a fire there is gonna be a flame, Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned, Just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die, you gotta get up and try, try try
Ever worry that it might be ruined? And does it make you wanna cry? When you’re out there doing what you’re doing, Are you just getting by? Tell me, are you just getting by, by, by?
Yes, it’s a love song, but I think it can mean much more than that. When we have any desire, its natural that we fear failure. Sometimes that’s enough to make us afraid to try. It’s always possible that things won’t work out, but it’s better to try and know than to give up before starting. Straying out of our comfort zone is, as the name implies, uncomfortable. But that shouldn’t scare us off because otherwise we can’t grow. When we don’t grow, we don’t increase our abilities. When we don’t increase our abilities, it’s very difficult to build new confidence.
Speaking of confidence I want to tell you about something and then you’ll see the connection. Our planning came to fruition for my Mom’s 60th birthday! She was super happy and surprise d and we had a wonderful time together. I think it did us all so much good and I’m really grateful for that. My Mom looks more relaxed after our secret hotel stay and time away from work. The hotel wasn’t far from home but it was perfect and we had fun-yummy breakfasts and delicious dinners at new places to celebrate. The one hitch was when I arrived after work to check into the hotel and quickly set up the decorations before my Dad would arrive with my Mom blindfolded. At check-in I was given a different room because our little chalet (which was going to be extra fun, special and according to plan!) was given away to members of a group there at the same time as us. They hadn’t said anything to me about it and had even sent a confirmation just two days before. I was NOT happy especially considering how careful I’d been to reserve well in advance. There was no other chalet available so we got a room. Now this is where our discussion about confidence comes back in; I had made the hotel arrangements so I really wanted to be the one to follow up and fix the situation. I couldn’t change our room but I did keep visiting the reception until I saw the manager this morning before checkout. This woman was very kind and apologized for the mistake. The hotel will refund the entire amount! So that’s good news…I know that getting the wrong hotel room isn’t a huge deal. The point here is that I wanted to be assertive especially considering what things were going to cost. It would be good practice – a type of social exposure therapy and it went very well which makes me proud of myself in that respect. I tried… I took my chances… I was determined and went through everything politely but to be taken seriously.
I’ll end this blog with a call to action: Stretch yourself by doing something new, alone, a little scary, etc. You might surprise yourself! Take baby daredevil steps, every single one counts!