Wednesday, November 8

In Care of Confidence

My niece is 6 years old and I love her to pieces. I call her Em. She started kindergarten this year. We all anticipated that at some early point in her academic career there would be "a scene", trips to the school, calls from the principle, possibly even retaliation on the part of classmates or their parents. Thing is, the teacher loves her and she's doing fine in class. Em's outspoken, bossy, and though she barely stands eye-to-hip with me, she has no qualms about setting me straight when I fail to perform to her standards. I love, and struggle with, her spirit.

Her confidence is (to me) mystical. She doesn't believe that she can't do everything and she'll try anything. It reminds me that we are all born with this incredible confidence that inflates our egos and shapes our self-image. It is our, our birthright. So what happens?

How do people lose their confidence? Is it really lost ? Maybe it's not something we misplace. Maybe it's something we have that we're responsible for and it either flourishes or flounders in our care. Kind of like our waistline, except with opposite results -- feed it garbage and it shrinks, feed it well and it grows.

I left my job a few months ago to pursue some personal goals that were long overdue. I completed my first course this summer, started jogging and began writing again. At the end of the summer, holes started to appear. As a natural-born wordpecker, I should not have been surprised to see the holes, but there they were and I wasn't making all of them. I peeked into every hole to discover the secret within and uncovered some pretty ugly things crawling around inside.

My first reaction was to question myself. Did these menacing marauders invade the tree through one of the holes I made? How could I forsake my tree? Why my tree? Why me? I fed my confidence grey, rotting garbage until it withered and wasted. For the last month and a half, I have dedicated every minute of my day to ensuring that my confidence feasts on the rotting scraps of self-loathing and self-pity. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I woke up at 5 a.m. for the first time in a month and a half. I find a lot of power in the dawn. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel disciplined. I read for awhile, made a healthy breakfast and decided that I would put an end to the blame buffet. Time to change the habits -- hence the blog. Let's call it a discovery tool and an accountability measure.

What now? Well, I guess I'll do what I always do -- I rally and rebound. I'll try to sort things out. I'll observe and I'll learn. I'll reflect and I'll learn. I'll live and I'll learn. If I try, I know I'll find the cure for my confidence and restore it to its splendorous self.

As for the tree, I think it can be saved.

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