14 March 2013 ~ Comments Off

the pervasiveness of low self-confidence

It occurred to me today just how much having low self-confidence affects my daily life. And how much I’ve avoided dealing with it by choosing to be isolated from the world.

I had a brainstorming session this afternoon with a good friend/coworker about a multimedia presentation for our company’s upcoming national convention. It’s set to be a 30-minute mix of PowerPoint-led talks and video segments, all tied together neatly with one strong thread of a theme. But I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around how to create it, because, well, I’ve never done anything like this before. So I enlisted the help of the guy who will be making the video segments and who is a screenwriter and a creative mastermind in his spare time too.

But I realized I am the world’s worst brainstormer. Typically meetings like that involve me sitting there quietly, taking notes while other people talk, and nodding enthusiastically when someone has a particularly poignant thought. This time, it was just me and him (and *I* had called the meeting) – clearly I had to say SOMEthing.

What I found was that every thought came out couched in the most absurd of apologetic statements: “This is going to sound stupid, but…,” “…but that’s just an idea; it may not work” or “I have no idea if you can do this, so it’s probably a terrible idea.” I spent exactly 50% more time laying out ideas because I couldn’t stop myself from making sure he knew that I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, nor should he think any of it had value.

I’ve always been this way, and I’ve never had great aspirations of someday becoming a manager or leading any sort of charge professionally. And I’m sometimes pretty good at tricking people into having confidence in me by being really awesome at what I do quietly, in the background, and making sure I’m not invited to too many meetings where they’ll be able to see my true shy, incompetent colors.

Beyond the brainstorm example, there’s the fact that I am too scared to ask my husband to rub my back when I feel sad or suggest sex when I’m feeling sexy. What if I make him feel guilty for not thinking of it first? What if I make him feel like he’s doing things wrong somehow?

Sometimes I feel like, between the problems I have with communication and the even bigger problems I have with self-confidence, I am not really clear on how to be any sort of functioning human being in the world. I can’t get past this plexiglass case I’ve built around myself for protection, and I don’t know how to embrace who I am enough to really want to. It is the surest self-fulfilling prophecy I’ve ever witnessed. And I’m all wrapped up in it.

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