I love this quote by Emerson. Isn’t it true?
Just last night in an airport bar I was chatting with a new friend, whom I had made over a spilled beer (hers!) -about the self-confidence that comes with maturity. We were talking about how great it is and laughing, saying, ‘if we ONLY knew then what we knew now!’ Some of this conversation centered around men... dating... and sex, but primarily it was about just about being and feeling confident. You know, confident enough to feel good about yourself inside and out.... confident enough to make sound decisions that weren’t sacrificial of one’s self worth. Confidence to just be ourselves and find happiness in that.
I believe that we women struggle with identity and self confidence more so than men, especially while in our twenties. I think it is fair to say that many of us in our youth were completely oblivious to our self worth, our own beauty and our own abilities.
I still struggle with it some, but thanks to real love and good friends I think it’s less than before and truly less than when I was younger. And a lack of self confidence can really fuck with your life.... I know it did mine! In hind sight I would say that the things I did back then and many of the youthful mistakes that I made were a result of that lack of confidence.
But the resulting mistakes and experiences are now part of the current fabric of me. They are the experiences of the day... they all make up the wisdom that Emerson refers to... it is what makes me, me today... what makes YOU, YOU.
My friend CC had posted her anniversary blog last week and in that blog she recounted those people in her life that had made the greatest impact on who she is today. I really loved that blog... It was the threads of her tapestry. We all have them. And like with influential mentors and guides, our experiences, good and bad, create beautiful facets of wisdom and insight that only come with time. Happy times AND painful times. We all experience them, they chisel at us, form us, mold us, and even painfully force us into our place. And then one day we are able to wake up and say, “Oh. Okay. I think I get it.” At that point we can stop fighting and be confident in ourselves. We are coming into our own. There is relief.
If you have followed my blogs in the last few years you know that I’ve been all over the emotional spectrum. And I have struggled a lot this last year in particular. There have been some blessings, but also lots and lots of struggles.
Honestly, I spent the majority of the last five months locked in my bedroom. I kid you not. I did take a few trips but I literally had to drag my ass out of the house. It was not easy. But it saved me.
When you have been facing the types of obstacles, roadblocks and disappointments that I have, eventually you just kinda break. Even the strongest of the strong just give in... but that can be good, particularly for those of us that might have been just a t-tad too self-confident to begin with... but wrongly so. There is something to be said in an attitude adjustment... you know... Break the spirit, awaken the mind, and rekindle the heart. Discover who you really are... Not who you THOUGHT you were... I think that is pretty much what has happened to me. I was foolin' myself and pretty darn well I might add. There is continuing discovery. And it is good.
The things I have learned about myself in the process have made me incredibly... well... incredibly whole. I have reached a point in my life where I do not feel the need to apologize for myself, my past, or choices. I am human. I will fail, I will succeed, I will disappoint, and I will even get lucky from time to time and please... but I will never be just one of those things and I will never be perfect. And you know what? THAT is okay.
I have also learned that when you let your guard down and show your friends and loved ones that you are only human that you can be blessed. They can help you. They will help you, willingly, without solicitation even.
Prior to this last year I NEVER let my guard down. It didn’t matter what was going on with me I put on a happy face and went on my way... saving my breakdowns for locked doors only. But I reached a point where that was just impossible. In reality, asking for help, support, confidence or encouragement is why we have friends. They aren’t just for beer and barbecues anymore. If they are real friends, they are there to be your friend through thick and thin... to love you when you are up and when you are down. I have learned that they will save you from yourself if you will only let them. But you have to let them.
The experiences of my past now allow me to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and be thankful for each and every day. Even those days when I didn’t really know what I would do or how I would cope. Days when I would literally lock myself in my bedroom and contemplate everything and nothing... I appreciate those days too. I do indeed feel like I’m coming out of the dark forest and back out into the light. Things just kind of prove themselves out I guess. If we are patient, watch for signs, and more importantly, listen to our hearts - things work out if they are meant to be.
I have learned that love will find you when you aren’t looking.
I have also learned that it doesn’t matter what logic you attempt to apply to it. It doesn’t matter what your seven year plan is or how you plan to control your own universe, things will often have their way with you despite your best efforts to thwart them.
I have learned sometimes you need to get out of your own way. And when you do, things only get better.