I use to love taking part in my drama productions. The feeling of going on stage and being part of a chorus of people singing was honestly one of the best feelings in the world.
But that was it, the chorus, the team, the crowd. I always looked at my friends in awe - the ones who would speak so confidently with their lines and take the leading lady or man part on stage. When I was much more comfortable being the tree in the background or the dancing flower on the side. That was my comfort zone. Being a part of the team but not leading at the front.
This level of comfort followed me for most of my adolescent life. I had so much confidence within my crowd. I relied on the safety in numbers and that is where I shone. I was one of the loudest in the group but ask me to speak alone in front of anyone I would begin sweating, my throat would seize up and only a croak would come out. It is so weird for me to look back at my younger self in this photo and think how could I be so confident in some senses but so not in others?
(Self) Esteem - Respect and admiration
(Self) Confidence - the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something
(Self) Worth - the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.
(Self) Acceptance - the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.
'Confidence is not a personality trait at all, it is a skill. And a lot of the extroverted people that you know are actually very insecure........ there are a tremendous amount of introverted people that feel uncomfortable putting the attention on themselves but they are very very confident in their ideas.' Mel Robbins
I love this video because once I have started to see confidence as a skill it has changed my whole mindset on how I think of confidence and I believe all the words I listed above are vital for the happiness of ourselves as well as the happiness of our children/ learners.
During my first year of teaching was when the 's*** really hit the fan' for me. It was when I couldn't look to grades for my confidence, I couldn't look to my achievements for validation. I couldn't look to my team for my own worth. I started to feel my confidence take the biggest dip I have ever felt.
I was learning how to stand on my own two feet and teaching is full of uncertainty on a day by day basis, especially in the first year. So I was failing consistently. This led to imposter syndrome to the highest degree.
One of my worst days was at a party for my partner's parent's wedding anniversary. I remember having to take myself to the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror and I didn't know the person looking back at me. I looked like myself on the outside but the person in my head was a completely different person.
I was nervous, I was filled with self doubt, I felt like people were talking about me, I felt ALLLLL of the feels. And I just didn't know why.
I knew I had people around me who I could turn to. But like I said it wasn't them it was me. My own internal voice that was letting me down.
This is what started my journey into neuroscience and understanding what happens when we feel unsafe or unsure or worried or anxious. I am still only at the beginning of this journey but in the past 6 years I have come a long way and I have mentioned this book many times but 'The Chimp Paradox' was a game changer for me in this space.
Fast forward to now, in my 7th year of teaching, one MMA fight under my belt, taught in 3 different countries, met amazing people from all around the world and it is only the past few months where I can say I am starting to feel my confidence levels on the rise again.
I look at the person in the photos above and I am so proud. My goal was to be put in a place where the only person I could rely on was me. I could rely on the crowd, the team and the support in the lead up to the fight but it was me, my own confidence in myself that would be in that cage with me.
Again, I think that goes back to the conversation I had a few weeks ago with Lauren and Kecia where Kecia talked about her son having validation in himself not in the external factors of academics and what other people said.
I think growing up I use to think confidence in yourself meant people were cocky and full of themselves. When I use to look at fighters I thought they were full of themselves and show offs. Some people are some people have an Ego the size of a house and have nothing to back it up. But listening to this video with George Saint Pierre and witnessing first hand, during my MMA training, top athletes it shows confidence and humility are key.
I thought when I started training all I would see would be people knocking the head off each other but instead I saw tactics, I saw people growing themselves inside and out. I saw title belt holder Israel Adesanya walk around with his head high but not higher above the rest. He was in the trenches with them.
That is where I think confidence is key. Having belief in ourselves but the humility to understand we are not above the rest. Having confidence in our abilities but using those abilities to benefit those around us to grow together. Having security in ourselves so that we don't have to tear down those around us in order to feel tall. Having confidence in ourselves by wanting others to succeed instead of letting our own insecurities worry when others go further than us.
Bit of a longer rambling today but I think looking into mental health, anxiety, happiness, neuroscience and psychology. My own journey so far has led me to believe that confidence in self is one of the best presents anyone can give themselves, coming up to Christmas or anytime throughout the year.
Coming to the end of 2020 where many of us have had to adjust, evaluate, perspective take maybe more than other years. I think being kind to our heads and allowing ourselves to feel and accept ourselves for who we are is one important tool I want to continue to work on myself and help others work on too.
This song was a song that our University lectures played on our last day of uni and I think it is such a powerful song for perspectives and reflecting on our choices.
I am not too sure I believe in new year's resolutions, I think I believe in new day resolutions, starting each day with intentions but being flexible to adapt throughout the day sets me up for success but also allows me to be kind to myself when things might not go to plan.
What are your new day resolutions? What are your new year resolutions? How can you make choices to believe in yourself even when times get tough? How can you show kindness to yourself and others when times get challenging?
Well that is the end of a bit of longer ramblings this week.
Last weekend was one of the best weekends I could have ever asked for!! It was the first live session of Empathetic_Educators with a live Q & A with George Couros, Lauren Kaufman and amazing educators from all around the world.
It goes back to confidence. Before saying two words in front of an audience would have been the most painful thing I ever could have done but now an hour and a half session didn't feel long enough!! Could not be more grateful to all involved.
The next three weeks I am taking a break from all plans and I can not wait to reflect and think about what the next steps for me, us and Empathetic Educators could be.
It makes me sad to think that I will not be home for Christmas but we will be sharing the experience one way or another and I am so grateful we had the amazing memories of last year.
I hope you and all reading this have the most amazing well deserved break.