Eleanor Roosevelt: Strength, Courage, Confidence

Eleanor RooseveltOne of my favourite quotes is “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience which you must stop and look fear in the face. You must do this thing you think you cannot do” It’s from Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who served her best in very troubled times.

I have a little book someone bought me as a gift a long time ago. It has lots of quotations from women and it is one of my treasures. I know that if I open a page randomly I will find something to inspire me. I was thinking today about inspirational women, Eleanor Roosevelt amongst them, because I met up with two more of my great friends. In fact this week has been full of wonderful women who inspire me to keep a positive focus. I love that I have around me so many strong, courageous and confident women. Of course I know they may say they are not. But I can see the Light they shine so brightly into the world.

I know that these women, like Eleanor Roosevelt, take each day of their lives as a gift in which to make a difference. They don’t shout it from the rooftops. Because they are too busy doing what feels like the best they can do. When I wobble I take heart from these friends. If my confidence in what I am or what I am doing has dipped I look at the example all the women around me are setting. And I find that although we may be wobbling gently together we are also all looking fear in the face. And chasing out of our lives. This evening someone asked me how I stay so positive. My secret is all of these vibrant, compassionate women. I know they will lift me when I falter. And I also know that I will do everything I can to be there to lift them in their moment of doubt too.

Cherish all of the Eleanor’s in your life. And the Paulas, Sues, Jans, Lindas, Sarahs, Claires, Natalies, Isabels, Fionas, Gwennes, Beverlys, Cathies, Dellas, Mauras, Mindies, Brendas, Lizs, Lynns, Julies and Deserts. Cherish every strong, courageous and confident woman of any name if she is in your life. Tell her that you see her Light too. Especially when she can’t see it for herself.

Day 793 of my blogging challenge

Discovering Confidence

confidence-is-the-only-keyA theme that has cropped up several times today is confidence. How do I know that I’m doing accurate readings if I don’t have trust in myself? Will I be able to get to a new venue if I don’t agree with my Sat Nav? When it’s time to make changes in my life how will I know what to do if I don’t have self-confidence?

These are all good reasons to think about confidence. It is a mix of what I think backed up by what I feel. So it can be wobbly at times. I wanted to share with you a piece I wrote for a lovely magazine that we have locally. It was written just before I went on holiday and I was aware that lots more changes were coming through for me. I’m not always the best at coping with change. So thinking about how I could help myself to stay confident was important. I hope you find what I wrote of use for you.

Many of us present a confident face to the world. We smile and say everything is fine while we are really trembling inside. What we are feeling is a lack of confidence.

It can be hard to admit that you don’t feel capable or able to handle your life. Yet a lack of confidence in yourself is a very common thing. I’m used to people saying they don’t feel confident about exams, job interviews or driving tests. But it’s much less said that we don’t feel confident about being a parent, a team member, a provider or a person.

Somewhere inside our mind we carry a description of the ‘perfect’ person. That description has been built over the years by the things people have criticised us for. Or our own beliefs about what is good or bad behaviour. That ‘personality’ can trip us up any time we get into a testing situation. Or any time we test ourselves against it. When stressful situations arise we want to handle them like the perfect personality would . When that’s not possible it nibbles away at our confidence. Some times we feel so lacking in confidence that we don’t want to deal with the world at all.

The first step in discovering, or re-discovering, your confidence is to admit that you feel wobbly about what you are doing.

I remember as a new mum a sense of panic every time my baby cried. Somehow, despite my lack of confidence my baby survived and thrived. And I found as I got better at looking after her my own confidence grew. So it’s ok to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Keep trying and it will get better. Before long you will wonder why you felt worried in the first place. That’s the same for a new job, a new course of study or a new hobby.

If the wobbly feeling stays with you perhaps it’s time to have a talk with yourself. Ask yourself why the anxiety is there. Are you expecting too much of yourself? It’s like learning to play golf. No one would expect you to be able to get a hole in one so why would you expect to do so on your first, second or seventy fifth go. If you don’t seem to be able to find the reason for the wobble think about talking to someone else. Having a ‘second opinion’ so to speak can often get to what is causing the lack of confidence. Pick someone who has listening ears and give it a go.

Finally, confidence is something we can build so long as we give ourselves time to do so.

Getting your confidence back may take a little while. Especially if there have been big life changes happening to you. So take it steady. Set yourself little goals and praise yourself when you have achieved them. Ask your family and friends to give you feedback and encouragement. Notice the times when you have done something you thought you never could. Celebrate each step forward and you may surprise yourself at how quickly you can boost your confidence.

Day 319 of my blogging challenge.

This article also appears in Valley Life Magazine October 2016