Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cultivating Confidence-Jill's story

When I was a teenager, I ran long distance races and qualified to run in State contest. I was actually pretty good and had a chance to place. When the gun went off and the pack started around the track, I got caught up in the crowd. My foot was stepped on, tripping me up and causing me to fall onto the track. The pack moved on without me and I had a choice . . . get up or quit? I got up and can still remember the crowd cheering me on, even in last place.

Growing up I thought of myself as a confident person. It was actually one of the traits I would immediately put down if asked to describe myself. Confident, Aspiring, Kind, Considerate, Devoted, Forgiving . . . As I got older and had things that didn’t quite go the way I planned, I began to question my own abilities, traits, and value. I began to realize that I had based my self-worth on what others thought of me. Being approved or accepted was more important to me than doing what I really wanted to. I even made concessions for my dreams and desires in attempt to be a person I thought others would like better.

I am not sure whether its age or life experience or both, but I feel more confident in my own opinions and decisions about my future. I wouldn’t necessarily change anything about my past, but I do appreciate that I worry less about how others see me and focus on how I feel about a situation. I am not always successful though! As with many personality traits, you can work on them, but they do not go away entirely. I find myself leaning on those that mean the most to me when I feel down on myself or stuck in a bad place.

If asked today how I describe myself I would make the same list, but for different reasons. I have learned acceptance in myself and a faith in God’s love for me. I am who I am and I am very important to many people in my life. There are people that count on me to be there just the way I am.

I don’t run races any more, but I do still trip at times and fall down. It happens to all of us, young and old, but the important thing is not that we fall. It’s how we handle ourselves after the fall that truly matters. Get up, dust yourself off and go on holding your head high. Sounds cheesy, but that’s what works for me!