Over the past few days, I’ve been wondering if this blog challenge was made up by someone fairly young. What with all the crushes on celebrities and whatnot. Now I’m pretty sure that the author was much younger than me. He or she would have to be to ask this kind of question today.
You know what I want to be when I get older? I want to be more comfortable in my own skin. I have made some pretty big strides over the past few years, but I know I have a long way to go before I really have the confidence that I wish I had.
My very first memory of my confidence failing me is when I was 5 years old and in Kindergarten. We were all going outside for recess. I stepped through the door and paused at the top of the steps to go down into the playground. Something made me feel so scared about going out there that I refused to leave the steps. My friends tried to coax me to come play, but I wouldn’t go. I started hating recess after that day.
Another very vivid memory is when I was 17 and in first year university. I generally ate meals with either my house mates or my boyfriend. But, both my boyfriend and my roommate would go home on weekends. I was so afraid of going to the cafeteria and having no one to sit with while eating that I simply wouldn’t eat on the weekends. I wasn’t confident enough in myself to face that unknown.
As I said, I have made progress since those days. Somehow I managed to try going on that first volunteer project in Guyana, and later on to the Philippines and to Vietnam. Somehow I gained enough confidence to try my hand at coaching a contact lens workstation a few years ago, and that led to my current teaching position with the Canadian Association of Optometrists. Through all of that, I wasn’t truly comfortable with myself. It was more that my wanting to do something was greater than my discomfort at having to try doing it. For brief moments, I was abel to put aside all my self doubt. Does that even make sense?
As a general rule, however, I still don’t feel good about myself. A few posts ago I talked about having issues trusting in my friendships. I also always question myself. I’m never good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, or fast enough. I sometimes feel like a child pretending to be an adult because I seem to be so bad at taking care of myself. When someone wants to talk with me, I almost always assume that it’s because I did something bad. And heaven forbid that I hear someone compliment me. I won’t believe it. Or maybe it’s that I won’t let myself believe it. It’s so much easier to believe in the bad rather than in the good.
That’s my profile pic on LinkedIn. The first time I saw the photo I thought, “Who is that person?” Why does that person look so much more confident than I feel? That’s what I want to be when I’m older…someone who knows herself and is happy with the way she is, imperfections and all. I want to be able to look back and think that I overcame all those obstacles that made me hate myself. I’m not sure that I won’t have any regrets; I already know that there are a few regrets that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Yet, if I can be relatively comfortable with those regrets, then they won’t define me.
What do you want to be when YOU get older?
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