There have been a lot of situations I have encountered in my life that I look back on now and realize that I had the ability to make a difference, but I didn’t. Times that I could have been successful, but I didn’t think I had the ability, so I gave up too soon and failed. Things I could have accomplished, but I doubted myself, so I didn’t try. I can be my own worst enemy, and I bet that could be true of you too, at least some of the time.
Why do we shoot ourselves in the foot? Why do we sabotage our own success? We often blame our weakness and our lack of confidence in ourselves on others. “My parents never encouraged me, and they made me feel like a failure. My classmates called me names and made me feel stupid.” I remember a hard lesson I learned a long time ago that made me step back and re-evaluate. I was grousing about what a mess my life was in, but how it certainly wasn’t my fault. It was because of the way “they” made me feel. I couldn’t possibly fix my problems because “they” made me feel worthless, helpless, inadequate, and incapable of change. My friend pointed out the fact that my feelings are my feelings – only I can control them, no one else can. And if I choose to take those feelings on, they will become true. I will become worthless, helpless, and inadequate. Or I can take control and write my own story.
What a lesson! He was right – the way we feel about ourselves makes all the difference and becomes our truth. The little engine that could, could – because he knew how to think – “I think I can, I think I can.” Confidence and trust in ourselves exude strength, and we gain it by learning to understand – and appreciate- ourselves. The old adage, “Fake it till you make it” reminds us that if we act confident and strong, people will look at us differently and treat us differently, and that will cause us to be more confident and stronger. We will become what we try to be.
Another great quote I love is by Brigham Young: “Why should we worry about what others think of us; do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?”
Strength comes from within – from our own decision to BE strong. Own your feelings, write your own story, and do not let others determine what you can accomplish. Be strong!
By Peggy Smith, Executive Director for Leadership Siouxland
“Feeling strong is more important
than being strong.
Because you may be the strongest
in the room:
But if you are not feeling strong,
Then you are gone.”
- Mohit Aggarwal