The Me that I see ain’t the Me that I be.
Who I see – how I consciously picture myself doing some particular thing – belies the facts of who I may really be. In October, I did a presentation at an area college and spent the hours, no days, before the event terrified; wondering why I had again put myself on the line. I seem to have a knack for putting myself in positions that force me to continually stretch well beyond anything I am comfortable with to do the things that just make sense to do for where I want to end up. These situations force me to BECOME equal to my circumstances, and time and time again I find a way to rise to the occasion. After the presentation, one of the ladies from the audience with whom I had shared how nervous I was asked me, “What were you so afraid of? You did great.” To that question, after a few days of deep thought, my answer to myself was, “The Me that I see ain’t the Me that I be.”
All of my soul searching and confidence-building take a short respite just before I must live up to new situations and I see only terror and failure in front of me. I do all the self-talk that the life coaches are so fond of teaching, but the reaction is so ingrained in my thinking that it is irrepressible. I know I can (or that I must) and I know that it will be fine once I begin, but until the curtain goes up I am all-a-twitter-and-a-twit with panic. I listened to a speaker a few days after my presentation that said that when she is most afraid she remembers being a 4-year old little girl. She said that she does this because little 4-year old girls are intrepid and joyful; everything is possible for them. Regrettably, I have no memory of 4 and I am always afraid in my earliest memories.
I began October at a women’s conference surrounded by incredible women. As I listened to their stories of resilience and persistence, I figured something out. They learned at a very early age what I am just learning – it is not about being afraid; it is about doing it anyway – knowing you are not what you do – you do what you are. This means that confident, committed, courageous people take risks, stay the course and stand tall in the face of chaos. This is what these tenacious ladies had done during their lives. It was this positive self image that had naturally shaped their sense of who they were and had allowed them to thrive, even as young adults. It is that self-image – the Me that each achievement tells me that I am – that I must remind myself to see on purpose daily. I should not have been surprised that my presentation went well. I worked hard on it. But, it was not the work that I doubted, it was me.
If your biggest bogie man is the shadow of can’t and uncertainty, stare him down with confidence in the knowledge that ordinary everyday women have faced and defeated him and so can you. At another meeting that I attended later in October, the speaker also said that for her confidence was about losing the fear of letting people know who you are. That is a wonderful new perspective for me and I am going to embrace it.