Believing in Myself: 3 Moments I Knew I Had my Confidence Back

Moving on, on, 'round twists and turns by Tangent~Artifact, away, here sometimes :).

Photo by Jean Goff; creative commons license

I’m a big fan of looking over your shoulder every now and then to know how far you’ve come.  I can point to three different events in recent months that have been solid proof to me that I have my self-confidence back, and really, maybe even to a point that I have never before had in my life.  These are really in ascending order of importance and probably won’t mean anything to anyone else but me, but they are definitely flags for me to notice on my journey and to celebrate for what they represent.

If you can say, for certain, that you believe in yourself, then you probably have moments like this, too.  And if you don’t?  Start looking for them because just being aware will help to make them happen.

1.   This used to happen ALL THE FREAKING TIME and I spent so many nights questioning myself–I suppose because I’d been raised to believe that everyone else’s opinion was worthier than mine, whether they were friends, family, or other experts on how I should live:

An “expert” who doesn’t know me or anything about me walked into the room at the tail-end of a conversation, heard my description of something that’s working very well in my life, and interrupted to tell me, “You need to grow up and get a life or you’ve got a hard road ahead of you, little girl!”

There was a time when I would have  worried over his opinions (whether he’d caught my comments in context or not) and would have doubted my path, even when it’s working wonderfully for me.  This time, I just frowned and burst into laughter…because I am grown up, I do have a life, and it’s easier now than it’s ever been because I absolutely believe in myself.

2.  Because my ideas are so plentiful and I’m extremely good at brainstorming new ideas for others, I’ve never placed a value on that talent.  In the economics of my own brain, ideas were plentiful and therefore cheap, so I gave them away.  That’s changed now, and I have to remind myself sometimes, “What am I getting out of this–other than just feeling good by helping someone else?”  That helped me place a value on both my talents and my time.  The difference came when I heard from a man I used to have long, long phone conversations with.  In fact, I burned up my prime time minutes in many such conversations with him.

The defining moment came when I demanded the exchange between us give something back to me.  I already knew the things I was helping him with, but I wasn’t seeing any return on my investment in time.  We’d spent many months in long conversations, had taken a break in our friendship, and were about to go right back to many more longer conversations that were becoming more and more one-sided.  I was spending all my time, honestly, coaching him on a situation.   And what was I getting back anymore?  So I demanded I get something out of our friendship as well.  It took him all of one day to decide that he didn’t want to reciprocate, so I ended the relationship.Flying By Night novel

One of my coaching clients recently asked if I could help him with the same issues that I’d coached my friend on so successfully.  So I do…at a rate of $125 per hour.  If I’d charged my “friend” for all the time I’d spent coaching him, I would have invoiced him for about $10,000.  This is why I’m happy to give my personal opinion/advice but I never offer my professional advice to friends or acquaintances any more.  My time and energy must receive a fair exchange.  I owe myself that because I value myself.

3.  This one’s rather personal, but it probably represents the greatest change in my mindset.  Women over 40 will definitely understand what I mean, and probably a lot of younger women, too:

My very talented and passionate lover had been entertaining me for about three hours (yes, truly) when we suddenly switched gears and found ourselves in a very intense conversation about metaphysics for about ten minutes.   I reached for my drink and we both realized at that moment that my lover had lost his erection.

Like many women, I’ve always had doubts about my sexuality, my body, my attractiveness.  I’ve had my idea of womanhood squashed a few times over  the years, and by the end of my marriage and then early in the dating process, I felt completely unappealing around middle-aged men who had waaaaaaay too many issues of their own.  I think it’s too difficult for men  to accept their own aging process and that occasional impotence is something that just happens, and it’s far too easy to blame it on their partners or for their partners to blame themselves.  A few years ago, I would have been devastated and probably contemplating elective surgeries (oh, wait….I did contemplate that a few years ago).  This time was differerent though.  This time, I didn’t even THINK in those terms but rather that I probably shouldn’t initiate stimulating intellectual discussions  that would shift our focus away from play.

My very hot young lover, however,  WAS startled by his sudden lack of, um, ardor.  I saw his gaze lock on mine and saw the horror in his eyes of how I might take this indelicate moment.  He was sweetly embarrassed, not blaming, but he sat up quickly, apologizing again and again.  “It’s not you,” he swore.  “What you were saying was just so interesting and–it’s….it’s not YOU.”

And me, I just smiled like a woman who’s never been hurt before and shrugged and said, “Oh, I know.”