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Showing posts with label confidence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label confidence. Show all posts

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A confidence game: Self-confidence

This whole election cycle has been draining more than usual.  Every four years we are told that this is the most important election in our nation's history.  Judging by the reaction to this one, however, I wonder if this is true this time?   But, I digress.  We choose our leader based on who we have the most confidence in (or who we have the lesser lack of confidence in).  Speaking of confidence, I was thinking about it this week.

I don't know how everyone else experience's confidence (or lack thereof), but the answer reminded me of my experience skydiving.  


Moments of not feeling confident

  • I measure what I say.  To make sure what I say sounds good/smart/funny/clever...
  • I don't speak a point as assertively as if I hope you will agree.
  • I don't walk as confidently.
  • I tend to frown or be more serious.
  • I speak more haltingly as I analyze what I just said and/or will say next.
  • I hold my emotions in tightly to not let fear overtake me.
  • I dread having to make the move out of the plane.
  • I hold on just a little longer before I jump out.
  • I tend to focus on making sure the bad thing doesn't happen, rather than enjoying the experience.
  • I move a little more cautiously.


Feeling confident
  • I speak more from my gut or soul and don't pause to over-analyze it.
  • I express my point firmly as if I mean it and I expect you to understand (and possibly agree).
  • I walk more confidently.
  • I tend to have more lightness of being.
  • I speak very smoothly and continuously as if it comes naturally.
  • I've falling thought the clouds enjoying the ride smiling and enjoying it.
  • I am glad let go of the plane and I'm trusting my tandem instructor.
  • I confidently talk with my tandem instructor as I we are going through the air.
  • I focus on completing it successfully like a champ.
  • I am deliberate but 'sure-footed' as we land.

The point is when I am confident I focus less on myself and more on the issue or task at hand.  I don't fear being 'exposed' for the 'wrong' choice/decision, but instead am comfortable being observed.  In juggling terms, I feel like I am tossing up the multiple balls smoothly.  When I am not confident, I focus more on myself and how I look or questioning if I am doing it or saying it right.  I don't like an audience as I don't want others to see me make mistakes or screw up.  I 'fear' being seen as not being competent.  I feel like I am tossing multiple balls up in the air and having a hard time keeping in the air for any length of time.

Just just my take on confidence, specifically, self-confidence.  It is a freeing experience like soaring through the air without cord and not worrying if you are going crash or end with a thud.  As always, I hope other who read this can relate or at least get something out it.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Welcome Back: Finding your roots

Recently I stumbled upon the song "Welcome Back" when searching for another show's theme song.  Now I've heard this song literally probably one hundred times, but when I heard it, I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia.  Longing for the memories of times I never had--hat tip to a sarcastic comment to a YouTube commenter about Time In a Bottle.  But I digress.  At that time, as imperfect as it was, my nuclear family was together.  My parents and my second oldest brother were still alive.  I still had my whole future ahead of me, even as troubled, uncertain and not secure as it was at the time.

I had spent so much time trying to escape the shadow of my childhood and my early adulthood.  I don't necessarily blame anyone for it (as dysfunction often or usually has generational roots), but I was raised in a very dysfunctional family.  My dad was an alcoholic and my mom struggled with esteem issues.  With each parent, the issues had a generational root.  This dysfunction hurt my socialization and hindered my ability to fit in.  Furthermore, due to the times and issues my own parents faced, I was subjected to childhood sexual abuse by a "church camp counselor" and someone else whom I similarly held trust for.  Furthermore, my parents divorced when I was 15, leading me to effectively be the second parent in the household.  If that wasn't bad enough, I had a severe generalized anxiety disorder take hold when I was 17.   What could have been a time for me to savor, learn, and thrive was instead mostly a time to 'survive'.  The good times I held on tight to as I know they were a reprieve from the dysfunction.  As the good times came to a close, I dreaded and then mourned their passing.  Though I'd always had a firm set of beliefs, I didn't truly start to find myself until I was in my mid to late 20s and began the process of healing at that point.  It wasn't truly healing so much as effectively covering the wounds from being exposed.  Though I remembered my childhood, in some ways, I pushed it and my early twenties away as a time to forget.  I got married in the middle of this process and completed a process of starting a new life.  Though I remembered my childhood, I continued to push it away.

You can only escape your past and roots for so long before you have to come to terms or peace with them.  As long as I had my 'new life' up and running, it was easy to just ignore my roots.  But, just like lunch and recess end in grade school and you have to get back to class, life has a way forcing you to 'get back to class'.  For me, my 'get back to class' moment started in 2011 with my divorce & all that went with it, my job loss and my brother's suicide.  I started to really process backwards at that point, but was I was still fighting to survive until 2013.  In 2013, my divorce was finalized and my job situation stabilized.  This allowed me to shift more towards process mode.  I had my "Welcome Back" moment on flight out to Salt Lake City for training.  I was all alone heading towards a city I didn't know anyone in with only my iPod to keep me company.  I had started to listen to the music of my childhood and my early adulthood leading up to my marriage.  As I was listening I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia and sadness.  I was literally remembering where I was and what I was doing during at the time that I embraced each song.  I had built a new life starting in my mid-twenties and had largely pushed aside my old life, without having effectively processed it.  I wasn't that my new life was a fraud so much as it was a new chapter in a story, where the old chapters were not completed or built up properly (processed).  But, it was just me, a plane full of strangers and my music.  This was a very bittersweet moment.  I could have put away the music, but I knew that wasn't the answer.  So, I continued the search.  I realized that the 'old days' though not perfect had their moments too and that they shouldn't be shunned.   Really, it was like another turning point.   I was in the beginning the long road to learning to embrace the past without the weight of the hurt.  I had been able to move forward much earlier with some level of healing, but some or much of deep healing wasn't there yet.

After my divorce, I'd moved back to my hometown and though it had changed a lot, the memories were still there.  Shortly afterwards, it became clear that dad was no longer in a position to take stay  at home, even with help.  He kept falling and no one could be there 24/7 to help him.  After his final fall at home, the staff a the hospital and I encouraged him to move to a nursing home.  But what to do with his place, my birth home?  He would pass away within the next two years, but in the meantime, it need a caretaker.  I eventually moved back there to watch over it, manage it and his affairs in the last year of his life.  I had literally moved in the room of my teens.  As a teen, my education was my 'ticket out', but 25-30 years later I can come face to face with the place of childhood and specifically.  Once again, bittersweet, but it gave my time to see the place (and maybe my childhood and teens) in a different way.

In Welcome Back, Kotter, the man character, Kotter, was a remedial student in a group called the "Sweathogs".  Life had brought him full circle and now he was a teacher at his high school.  Ironically enough, he was teaching a new group of "Sweathogs".   But, instead of being a troubled teen, he was now a man who had learned from and could now impart knowledge and hope from experience to the same type of kids he used to be.   Just like Kotter, I saw the old 'hangout' from a different perspective.  I didn't 100% embrace it like Kotter, but I was able to look at it more objectively.  It's been 5 years since my dad passed away and since that moment ended.  But, I still look at it as learning experience.

So, what can we learn?

Embracing the Past, finding your inner Kotter
  • Realizing that the 'old days', even as rough as they may have been, still had there moments.  (Jewels in the Darkness).
  • Realizing that you can push back on processing the hard times, but eventually it is healthiest if you face them.  You don't have to face them on their terms.  As an adult, with life experiences, we don't have to see things as we used to.   The bully of your childhood might have been a jerk, but he may have been dealing with his own inner demons at home, for example.  Time and wisdom can grant you that clarity.  
  • Realize that that was a different time and place and you faced hard times as best as you knew how at the time.  Sure we can look back and think, I should have reacted differently, protected myself better, etc.  But, that's looking at things from an 'adult' perspective.
  • Realizing hard experiences you faced early on have
    • Given you the confidence or strength to face adversity throughout life. 
    • Given you the ability to pass on hard-earned wisdom.  

Aspects of the past or your roots may not be pleasant to face.  But, instead of avoiding them or pretending them it is best if you are able to welcome them back and consider them part of who you are.  You don't have to live in that place, but you it is best if you are able to mentally able to 'visit' it without living in the hurt.  Just because the roots were imperfect doesn't mean they can or should be ignored.  Just as with a tree, treating or addressing damaged roots, can improve our long term health (physical, emotional and spiritual).  So, just like Kotter, welcome your roots back.

- Rich