It’s amazing how one small thing can change the course of – well, other things. One rock in a stream changes the way the water flows, and eventually can impact the bank, the plants on that bank, and the wildlife that rely on those plants. How about the princess and the pea? One grain of sand in your shoe (well, a pretty big grain) can impact the way you walk, which can impact your posture, stance, etc. etc. One small piece of habanero pepper takes a meal from bland to tasty – or unpalatable, if you’re not a hot pepper fan.
Today, it was confidence that changed my day. Funny how an emotion (is confidence an emotion? a feeling? an affect?) – something unseen – can change the whole world – or at least my perception of it. I started my day feeling competent, achieving lots of tasks, plowing through piles of work, soaring through the morning. Then I set off to do something that I don’t really enjoy. And by the time I arrived at my destination, with my task in front of me, I had talked myself into a state. (Yes, I overthink everything. I know I do. Ask anyone.) I worried and fretted about it long enough that I couldn’t convince myself to do it. And, as a result, felt like a failure. My entire day was changed by that one little task – or at least, by not doing it.
I consoled myself with chocolate and coffee, swearing to do better tomorrow. But now it’s going to take a lot to get me back on my feet again, to change the course of my day back in a positive direction. It’s much easier to berate myself for feeling like a failure.
I stumble across this all of the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve paced in front of a bar, too scared to go in. Not submitted a resume because I was afraid of rejection. Not tried a LOT of things because if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all. (Maybe this post should be titled Perfection.)
Maybe that’s what’s at the root of this. I haven’t done this task very often. I haven’t had much success with it (probably because I haven’t done much of it). I haven’t watched someone do it successfully, haven’t been taught how to do it, haven’t been able to practice it on my own, away from the public eye. So, it’s scary for me to try. And so, here I sit, mad at myself for not being brave, for not trying.
I dated a guy whose motto was, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” He was so good at asking for things. And he was usually successful in getting whatever he asked for. Me, I can’t ask for a ride to the airport. (Oops, now we’re back to confidence again.) I don’t want to inconvenience anyone – and I guess I don’t want to hear them say no. So I just take care of things myself – and most likely, miss out on a lot of opportunities to allow someone else to do something for me, and make them feel good.
Anyway, where is this heading, besides in circles? Hopefully in the second half of my life, I’ll get better at asking for things. At trying new things. At being easier on myself. And at thinking a heck of a lot less. Maybe if something goes well in the next hour, it’ll push my day back onto a more positive track. Maybe by writing this post and realizing what’s at the root of all of this, I can overcome it, and be a more confident person – starting tomorrow.
Me and the cowardly lion, wishing for courage.
I promise my next post won’t be quite so introspective. In fact, I had an idea for a great one earlier today, but didn’t write it down…and you know my memory. So when I do remember what it was, I’ll make a note! Stay tuned for something light and cheery next time. And wish me luck tomorrow…