“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
~ Vincent Van Gogh
I was asked today what my three strengths were, I didn’t know. I was asked what other people would say my strengths were – I said I really didn’t know. But also thought that people would just think I didn’t have any. I was then asked what did people say I was good at when I was younger and again, I said I didn’t know.
I mentioned that I wasn’t really praised when I was younger, it was a case of if say I got an A – I was asked why I didn’t get an A*. I could only ever remember being told off and not when I was praised. I believe this is a cultural thing and maybe the way in which my father expected us to excel. When I fell over, he wouldn’t always come and check if we were ok (unless of course it was serious ) but he would tell us off for not paying attention. So then we would learn the lesson. I don’t think this was done out of contempt it was more of an annoyance that I wasn’t more careful of myself and to be self-aware. And ultimately this could have been the way he was brought up. And realistically he didn’t want to see us in pain. But the way these things translate to the other human will always vary and this can impact the wiring of your brain.
I thought about work and how I was promoted but not really praised, I wasn’t one to blow my own trumpet and so I suppose people didn’t feel like they needed to let me know I was doing well….because I was just doing it? But I was told pretty overtly when I had done something wrong.
It seems to be the constant running through my life, to continuously be told when you are doing wrong but your triumphs and good ‘behaviour’ are side-lined. Which is why I suppose I always feel like I am doing wrong and constantly seeking validation from others because being the person I am, I have realised I need to be praised for me to feel fulfilled. This is the ‘yellow’ part of my personality (based on psychological types). We all have many layers….
And now, nearly reaching the ripe old age of 34 these feelings are deeply embedded in the person I am and I cannot seem to shift the way I feel. This has completely affected my confidence in multiple parts of my life.
I always wonder. Is confidence something people naturally have? Or they learn how to have to it? Do those who have it always feel that they are? Or have to try and feel it?
Confidence has always alluded me. I didn’t have any when I was younger and am still fighting to instil it in me as I am growing older. Since learning how to become more confident I have discovered that it needs to come from many places.
Owning yourself and your decisions, you need to be able to believe in what you are, as well and what you do. I spent years doubting the person I was, the things I did and how I behaved. Always wondering if I was doing the right thing and constantly wondering how I was perceived. I felt invisible a large portion of my life, just another number aimlessly walking the streets without any acknowledgement. Trying to determine if I made any difference in this world.
I would say things and try and stand by them but as soon as the words left my mouth I wanted so desperately to claw them back. I had no confidence in me.
Nurture has a part to play in the person you are and I was brought up by the most chilled out, calm woman in the world, my mother. You see she’s not really like my sister’s and I. She was some what timid and this is no surprise as she came from a quiet family of four and was married into a roaring family of six. Being of the arranged marriage generation she was thrust in and expected to do everything. I am sure she felt out of her depth and this situation would unsettle any person, especially one with such a calm, caring and soft natured demeanour. She’s not one to gloat, talk bad about people (most of the time 🙂 ) and without me even realising was the only person I really needed to talk to about anything. I grew up thinking I couldn’t tell my parents anything about me as they wouldn’t approve but she has always been our biggest cheerleader.
But as me, she lacks the confidence which would seep into us, this is not her fault or anything she could control. This is just her being a human being and as I looked around I saw so many mothers which I would say were imposing and overbearing. She just let you be, she was never a mother that would constantly comment on your appearance and the way you look. Or make you feel bad about the person you are. But again I believe this comes as a cultural thing there was also no praise and I want to completely and utterly reiterate that I do not in any way have a problem with the way I was raised but I am just considering how certain personalities then create other personalities.
However we are never going to be carbon copies and other parts of society impacted me as I grew up. I am perceived to be one with loads of confidence and potentially cold. On first impression people will see me with a resting bitch face (rbf) and may be slightly wafting in my initial contact. Only once we have crossed the first barrier, most will find that I am actually not cold or stuck up but actually quite warm, excitable and sociable. But I feel vulnerable all the time, this isn’t seen through the loud, hard exterior. People mistake this for confidence.
I feel vulnerable right now even after all the posts I have written, trying to say a few nice words about me is hard. Saying I am warm is making me cringe, I also imagine people would scoff and be like ‘yea right!’ and I am cringing. But why am I denying what I know I am? I lack the confidence to take this and be ok with it. Also over the years maybe I have also realised that people may have seen this ‘warm’ person and but have the tendency to quickly turn into an aggressive person because I am so incapable of being able to deliver some messages the right way. And the negative traits always outlive the positive. I write this post as I am still on the journey of really trying to peel back the layers that I have just put on myself over the years, mainly out of self-preservation and lack of understanding how to look after myself. You think at points you have reached the top, only to find out the goal has moved.
I say this to myself and to others in this position, you have nothing to loose in continuing, you should be enough of a goal.