Leaving my insecurities Behind

by Barbara

The expressions 'self confidence', 'being confident' had been baffling me for many years. What did a really mean having no or very little self confidence. Did it ever apply to me?

In going back over my life, starting as a young child, going into early adulthood and the first decade of my working life, I did ultimately realize that I suffered from a lack of self confidence.

During my earlier childhood years, having to deal with an ailment (which I outgrew eventually and the medical profession still seems to able unable to explain), I was withdrawn and had very little contact with other people. Ultimately I hated to be in public.

Once I started 'school', my preferred seat was the last bench at the back of class, not drawing attention to myself by lifting my hand to answer any of the teachers questions. Break time was usually spent first by seeking refuge in the WC and when outside in the yard by quickly making my way to the quietest corner.

Looking back at my teenager experiences, they were not much better. My parents insisted, as was customary at that time, that I took a course in social dancing. Sorry to say, it was not only a waste of money, but I hated the time I had to spend each week waltzing and cha-chaing around the room. My preferred pastime was being at the pool doing laps on my own.

The first big change came with my first job. I had to come out of my shell and deal with people. There were days when I felt absolutely miserable and a failure in all respects.

Vacation time was another difficult issue to deal with. Once at a hotel, in the dining room, at the beach or around the pool, or on an excursion, fellow vacationers wanting to have a friendly nothing conversation or just commenting on the weather, made me nervous and out of my depth.

It ultimately got to the point where I had to seek professional help. The advice was that in order to become more self confident, I needed to start creating a new life for myself. Taking one of my long time acquaintances into confidence and asking her help, I finally and slowly started with turning into a 'different' person.

My contact with colleagues became easier; joining a health club was another helpful solution; enjoying dinner dates or other kinds of outings with people I knew became enjoyable.

Today and several decades later, I can only shake my head that I permitted myself to literally lose a good part of my childhood and early adulthood to my lack of self confidence.

Being in a crowd doesn't frighten me any more; standing before and addressing an audience holds no more terrors. Sometimes I give myself a little pat on the shoulder thinking 'I have made it' and am enjoying my life.

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