Sharing Saturday: How To Be Confident (Part 2)

  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.This is a hard habit to break, but once it is broken, it ends up benefiting you in the end. No one person is perfect. We all have issues we’re dealing with. Some are worse than others. They may look great on the outside, but you have no idea what that person had to go through to get where they are. I’ve heard it this way: “Don’t be jealous of anyone. I guarantee you, if everyone walked into a room, and dumped their problems onto the floor, when they saw what everyone else’s problems were, they’d be scrambling to get their own problems back before someone else got to them first.” (Karen Gruenenfelder, A Total Waste of Makeup) You may have issues, but they are your issues. Even though my issues annoyed me, tripped me up, and made me sick, I thank God for every difficult situation I’ve had to live through because all of them have taught me something. No one is better than you, and no one is worse than you either. We’re all on an equal footing–in spite of what you may have heard.

 

  • Help someone else.Treating people with kindness and generosity are two of the easiest and most mutually beneficial ways to gain confidence. Whether you contribute your time, a hot meal, money, or a word of encouragement, being a good person will make you feel good about yourself, as well as other people.

 

  • Embrace your faults. You are not perfect. You never have been perfect, and you never will be perfect. Your flaws are a part of the unique qualities that make you. I wouldn’t have developed into a confident woman if I didn’t make the decision be accountable for my bad behaviour. I am selfish with my time. I ignore people when I don’t want to deal with them. I am indifferent toward strangers, and I am standoffish with people I don’t like. I make snide remarks because I think they’re funny, and sarcasm is my second language. I give my unsolicited opinions without any regard for peoples’ feelings. I get snappish whenever I sense that someone is trying to intimidate me. I’m a know-it-all. I’m abrupt. I tell the truth, even when it’s mean and unnecessary. I ignore things that aren’t important to me. I am stubborn. That isn’t my entire list of faults, yet I can acknowledge them because I like the person I am in spite of all of my weaknesses. I know I will never be perfect, but as long as I’m alive, I can always keep trying to be better.

 

  • Don’t look to anyone else for validation. I have to admit: I have benefited from the love and affirming words I received from my parents as a kid. However, I eventually had to learn how to get by without someone holding my hand and telling me what a special cupcake I am. Not everyone you meet is going to appreciate you. Some won’t appreciate you at all. If you’re too used to coddling and affirmation, criticism– even when it’s constructive, is seen as a personal attack. Not everyone you meet is out to get you. Then again, they’re not there to validate you either. Since I can’t say it any better, here’s a quote: “Expect nothing for your generosity. Not gratitude, not fanfare. Generosity is not for your comfort… it is to soothe the ache in others.” I don’t know who wrote this, but it is dead on.

 

  • Recognize your strengths. Everyone is good at something. Each person on earth was born with a set of gifts and talents, and whether your talent is leading a team as the CEO of a company, or mopping the floors of a building, you are important. Too many people waste time trying to fit into professions that do not suit them. Once you find what your purpose is, you’ll be so busy trying to attain it that you won’t have time to dwell on weaknesses, either for you or the people around you.
  • Take care of yourself.  The inner dialogue of an insecure person would go something like this: “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not smart enough.” “[He/She is better than me.” “I’m a fool.” “I hate my life.” and on and on. To insist that you’re a confident person when your thoughts of yourself are mostly negative is a lie. In order to be confident, you have to believe you are worth something. You won’t acknowledge your    own worth if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. Whenever I hear one of my friends put themselves down, I say, “Hey! Don’t you talk about my friend like that!”  Be your own friend by respecting whom you are. As a sign of respect to you, take care of your whole self. You only get one body. You would do well not to wreck it.

This list may or may not have been sitting in my drafts folder for almost two months. The reason: halfway through, I decided that I was in no way qualified to tell anyone how to be confident. For me, the road to confidence was a long process that involved rejection, ridicule, and self-doubt. I didn’t have any confidence until it was made clear that my life isn’t about me. I am a Christian, so any certainty I have is because of my relationship with God. I guess, the thing that qualifies me is that, I used to be insecure, and now I’m not. (Thank the Lord)  It took me 20+ years to accept myself for who I am, and I have no choice but to keep going. (Flaws and all!)

You will have to find what gives you courage, whether it is in religion, your family, or something else, make sure your faith is in something that will last.

Peace,

Erie

 

Reasons Why Having A Big Brother Is Awesome

They toughen you up. My big brother does not mince words. When I was little, he teased me about everything, from my pointy forehead (what?) to my razor-sharp mouth. If I wore a ridiculous outfit, he would say, “That outfit looks ridiculous”. As a result, I wasn’t surprised when other kids teased me. I was annoyed, but having to deal with an older brother took the sting out of being picked on.

You don’t have to compete with them. I never felt the need to compete with my brother growing up. He had his place in the family, as the firstborn son, and I had mine: the only girl. My brother was involved in everything from sports to student government, yet I never felt threatened by his success, or felt as though I had to get from behind his shadow. (Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t mind being in the background. I actually prefer it) I was able to carve out my own identity because I had different interests from him.

They protect you. I believe that every girl needs a strong male role model in her life. I’m blessed to have two of them. (I have an equally strong-willed father) My brother was (and still is) very protective of me. According to him, no man is good enough for his baby sister though, a few have been deemed “passable”. (That’s the highest praise any man will get from my brother. Passable.) The neighbourhood thugs wouldn’t even approach me out of respect for my brother. And while my brother can make fun of me for being a bookish weirdo, he’ll beat the snot out of anyone who tries to do the same.

They give great advice. Who was the first person to tell me I didn’t belong in art college? My brother. Who was the one who advised me to invest in RRSPs early? My brother. And Who told me that I should do my own taxes instead of paying someone to do them for me? My brother. Basically, when my brother tells me to do something, I’m inclined to listen. Unless, I think his idea is stupid.

They’re fun. My brother inherited the storytelling gene, so he can take a seemingly mundane event and make it sound exciting. (Whereas, I’ve inherited the opposing gene that takes interesting topics and somehow makes them boring)  He’s also witty and has the same snide sense of humour as me–only he’s less of a diplomat. That fact alone automatically makes him fun to be around.

They’re really smart. My brother is a smart guy. Like, 3 degrees smart. He knows a lot about a variety of different topics that he is enthusiastic about sharing. Plus he’s kind of a know-it all. Then again, so am I. I think it’s genetic.

They have cool stuff. My brother used to have a big metal Tonka truck that I quickly commandeered, painted with pink nail polish, and began using it for my Barbies. This was not the last time I borrowed something of his. Through the years, I’ve listened to all of his cassette tapes, read a good portion of his mandatory reads for university, and even repossessed his leather bomber jacket, which was too small for him anyway.

They don’t allow you to feel sorry for yourself. I love women, and I love being a woman, but sometimes we can enable each other to wallow in self-pity, when we should be encouraging each other to move on. My brother didn’t give me the space to wallow.  (Or the time) Instead, he encouraged me to do something other than think about everything that was wrong with my life. Since he was well-versed in the history of our ancestors, he reminded me that a lot of people would love to have the opportunities that I take for granted, so I may as well enjoy my life. And he should know. In spite of his status as a pessimist realist, he is able to see the good in the most awful situations.

They’re brave.  When I was six, my brother jumped off the roof of our house onto the ground. A few years later, he jumped from the ground, over my (very tall) uncle’s head, and onto a tree branch. He also carried a burning frying pan outside–with his bare hands. (And with a giant flame blowing in his face. It was a sight to behold) I was timid for a long time, but watching my brother face down a lot of tough situations with boldness let me know that I was capable of being as courageous as he was. (We do have the same DNA, after all)

I always wanted a sister when I was little, but I wouldn’t trade my big brother for anything. Growing up with him as my third parent/antagonist/confidante/friend/protector helped form me into the person I am today. Without him, I wouldn’t be nearly as tough, snarky, patient, and smart. (Hey, I read all of his books. I’d better be smart!) Instead of two princes or princesses, duking it out for household supremacy, my brother and I were the prince and princess of a well-run kingdom. We knew our roles, without trying to overrule each other. (We’re both too stubborn, so it’s pointless to try to make us do something we don’t want to do. Pointless.) Also, we were independent leaders, rather than followers because our parents encouraged us to think for ourselves. I don’t think they knew what they were in for.

Because of my brother I learned the importance of sharing. (Mostly because, he wouldn’t share with me, so I just took what I wanted) I learned how to study. (By watching him do it) He was the first person who taught me how to drive. (Which is why I still don’t have my licence at 32. Ha.) He also made sure that I kept writing–even when I didn’t feel like doing it. Basically, my brother is great.

If you have a sister, God bless you. For me, brothers are where it’s at.

Peace,

Erie

“He’s Ruining My Heart!”

My lovely niece, Baby-Doll, has a boyfriend.

Well…technically he’s just a boy who is her friend, but in the world of 5 year-olds this means that they’re getting married. The boy, whom I have decided to refer to as ‘Kitten’, reacted to Baby-Doll’s announcement of their couple status like a lot of boys twice his age; he freaked out and started pushing her away. Yesterday, their tumultuous relationship reached its breaking point. Baby-Doll was sitting in her front yard with her friends, when Kitten walks up to her and declares,”I want to go in the pool.” Baby-Doll told him to go ahead, but Kitten didn’t want to go unless Baby-Doll went with him. When she refused to leave her friends, Kitten got upset and called her a name. Exasperated, Baby-Doll ran into the house screaming, “I hate [Kitten]! HE’S RUINING MY HEART!” and told me all the other rotten things he did.

I explained to Baby-Doll that if Kitten wasn’t nice to her, he’s not a good friend—or boyfriend, and that she shouldn’t play with him anymore. Real friends, I told her, understand when you’re busy, they won’t try to make you do things you don’t want to do, and they don’t call you names. 

Baby-Doll then decided that Kitten was a big stupid-face, so not only is he NOT her boyfriend, he’s not her friend either. 

You’re never too young (or too old) to learn that lesson.

Blessings 🙂

Erie