Happy Thursday! Today, I’m linking up with Amanda to share some of my thoughts with you all. As of late, I have been thinking about the importance of having confidence in our own strengths and potential. I realize that is infinitely easier said than done, and that it may be obvious how important it is to believe in ourselves. But the obvious significance of such an idea isn’t a reason to cast it aside as impossible. It is a reason to continually work toward it, until we can see our value and know our potential from the inside out.
Earlier this week, a friend of mine sent me a message expressing the frustration she feels toward herself when she says things that undermine compliments given to her, rather than accepting them. I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely been there. When somebody compliments me, I am overcome with ways to explain to them why their compliment is invalid. I think many people, especially women, are raised to deflect compliments. You like my shirt? It used to fit better. You think my writing is good? I just got lucky with this one piece. You think this artwork that I made is nice? I’m not a real artist. Pay me a compliment, and I will immediately have a reason why it is undeserved at the ready.
Ultimately, this results in a tendency to lack confidence in the abilities and talents that we possess, as well as the incredible capacity we have for success. It results in a belief that we don’t deserve the compliments that we receive, and that we are not capable achieving the things we would like to achieve. After our conversation, My friend and I made a joint New Year’s resolution to try to accept compliments graciously, acknowledging our own accomplishments, abilities, and value rather than running to a place of discomfort and insecurity.
This conversation was timely, because I have been feeling fairly incapable lately. For some reason, I have just been ragging on myself hardcore. The challenges of recovery have been getting to me, and I have not been seeing small successes as successful. In addition, as my move to Chicago gets closer, my anxieties about it have increased. What if I don’t find a job? What if I don’t make friends? What if I can’t handle grad school? What if, what if, what if? In times like this, when the what ifs start to take over my thinking space, I have to take a step back. I have to say to myself, “You’ve got this, girl.”
When I decided to go to college where I did not know a single person, 2,000 miles away, I had no guarantee that I would make friends or succeed in school. But I did. When I decided to study abroad in Senegal, I had no guarantee that I would have a life-changing, transformative experience. But I did. When I decided to take a chance on recovery and move home for the sake of my health, I had no guarantee that my life would improve. But, thank God, it has. I have taken these chances with wonderful results, and I can do it again.
It’s easy to lose faith in ourselves through comparison. It’s easy to compare our work to another’s or compare our body to somebody else’s, and assume that we will never be able to achieve the things that we see others achieve. But we will never know unless we try, and we will never learn our value unless we start believing people when they tell us how valuable we are. I’m not saying that we should assume we already know everything and can do anything with the greatest of ease. That would be naive. But, just as we so readily admit our weaknesses and openly display our hesitancy about going into unknown situations, we need to learn to embrace our strengths and have confidence that we will find our way in this world.
So, my resolutions for this year are to accept compliments with grace, focus on my strengths rather than only looking at my weaknesses, and work on feeling confident that I can accomplish what I decide to pursue. I’ve got this, and you do, too.
And, to brighten your day, a picture of a cat that thinks she’s a wifi hotspot: