A Little Make Believe

My struggles with self-esteem and confidence are no secret, especially since I’m the first one to rat myself out when it comes to feelings of inadequacy. I’ve tried to tackle these issues from the inside out by reading inspiring tales of women who have transformed their lives, subscribing to motivational Instagram feeds, and talking it out with those close to me. I have definitely made strides, but here I am again tonight, writing about the same issue that remains an issue of mine still.

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The other day I bundled the boys up and we took Blue outside. It was a sunny weekend day and my body had been urging me to get some fresh air, no matter how cold. As the boys pretended to forge their way through an unknown land in stiff boots, I played fetch with Blue. Now, I don’t have what people call “good aim”. Oftentimes when I throw a stick or the frisbee for Blue it ends up hitting the power lines that cross our backyard or it lands on the roof with no meteorological assistance. As I was throwing the stick that day I noticed myself expecting each throw to be a bad one. I kept waiting for it to hit the power lines or at least the gutter.

But it didn’t happen. It kept not happening and so I kept anticipating it. After several successful throws my anticipation waned and I began to wonder what it would really feel like if I threw confidently – if I just was confident and that came through in how I did something as simple as throw the stick for Blue. So I did a bit of my own pretending and started to imagine what it would be like if I just was confident. In those moments the air didn’t feel cold and biting on my face as much as it felt refreshing and invigorating. The stick felt lighter and I found myself throwing it more purposefully without being intercepted by the roof or the power lines.

I started to think about how people who truly are confident feel when they’re doing the laundry or loading the dishwasher. Unlike me, they probably don’t worry about choosing the correct wash cycle or second guess themselves about needing to pre-rinse that dirty casserole dish (The malignancy of self-driven second guessing cannot be overstated). I may be exaggerating here, but you get the idea. If all confident people felt the way I felt in those few cold moments of visualization in the back yard, they must feel ’round-the-clock awesome. I’m alive and breathing ’round-the-clock, so feeling awesome during that time would be great!

As an over-thinker, I believe I may have been approaching this issue from a completely wrong angle. Could it be that confidence isn’t a cerebral issue but one of feelings and intuition? Instead of forcing myself to think even more about an issue that has weighed on my mind for years, my best bet may be to fake it till I make it – to stop thinking and to just do. To soften and just be. Yeah, that may be the ticket. Groovy.

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2 thoughts on “A Little Make Believe

  1. In my experience learning how to deal with failure has made all the difference in both self-esteem and confidence. I believe the moment you quit fearing failure and quit subscribing to the feelings of it you quit feeling like one and spare your self-esteem and confidence. Sure failing never feels good but good can come from it if you are determined to get better at whatever it is you failed at. I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours (416 days) to master a skill, based on living until you’re 80 there is only time to master about 70 skills in a life time (walking and talking are 2 skills so really there is only time for about 68) . Do you really want throwing a stick to be one of them? 🙂 Also, just because you spent 10,000 hours honing a skill doesn’t guaranty you will never fail at it again. At best you would only stand a better chance of failing less often, just ask any pro athlete (especially a Detroit Lion). My conclusion is that being mediocre or flat-out sucking at certain things is completely acceptable and we should not beat ourselves up over the “little” things we are not willing to spend the time on to get better at. I’d rather try to spend my precious time on mastering what I’m truly passionate about.

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  2. Thanks for this, Luke. My need for perfection in everything is paralyzing sometimes. As Z has often told me, there are many times when I need to get out of my head to enjoy even some of the smallest (or biggest) moments. I am working to follow my passion, but there are even times I tone down what that passion is for fear of not being able to achieve it. Learning how to deal with failure is a skill in it self that needs mastering. There are parenting books that extoll the need to let your child fail so they can learn to get back up and keep on trying. It is a lesson that I’m still learning and trying to teach myself.

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