February 17, 2005

It's An On-going Process

I recently had a conversation that centered on confidence and well being. I think it's always enlightening to hear how others develop and nurture their self confidence.

I have to be honest. In many ways I am very confident. Not arrogant - confident, dare I say in some areas I'm actually cocky. I know what I am capable of professionally; I am comfortable talking with anyone on that subject and know that I can contribute to the conversation.

I'm confident in my cooking and housekeeping skills. Am I perfect? Nope, but again, I can hold my own.

I know my talents. I'm musical. I had a full ride scholarship for music. I sing, dance and play a lot of different instruments. I used to be really good. Now, not so much - but that's the direct result of decisions made and age. Shit happens.

I know my strengths and admit my weaknesses. That's crucial. I know what I can't do. And that's ok. Actually it's a good thing. That means I need people. I would hate it if I were so good at everything that I never needed anyone.

I'm confident in my value as a person - and this is where the conversation in my memory focused on.

I spent a lot of my late teens and early adulthood trying to find that confidence. It was a long battle. Kids are not kind, and I was different. I had none of the normal experiences most teens have - no first date (I was 22) no prom (I got stood up, and I asked him). I was very tall, all about classical music, reading, history, government, econ. Not exactly "cool". Also - I was very sarcastic. Hurtfully sarcastic. The majority of friends I had stopped coming around because I was just so "sharp" - and not in a good way!

My self esteem spiraled out of control, down to the point where I couldn't even stand to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn't look myself in the eye.

Finally I realized this was just not a good place to be. I won't bore you with the long, dark details but suffice to say it wasn't pretty. SOMETHING had to change.

I started out by asking questions. Oh, not easy questions, those questions that are hard to ask and even harder to answer. I wanted to know WHY some people were my friends. What was it they saw in me that they liked, and wanted to be around. What was it about me that made it difficult to spend time with me?

Then I made a list. Not of what was good, but what I needed to change to make it better. A long, bullet point list that I tackled on item at a time.

I would pick up traits that I admired in books I read, people I knew, people I observed. Then item by item I started to incorporate that into my behavior. It's been 20 years since I started this project. It will never end.

But I'm happy with the results. I enjoy my own company - hell, I crack myself up sometimes. I like the type of friend I am - I'd want me for a friend. I can look myself in the mirror every morning, and while not thrilled with the image I see, I'm proud of the woman I'm becoming.

And that's all that matters. If you can look yourself in the eye, at the end of the day - running the events that occurred through your mind, and HONESTLY come away feeling that you've done all you can to be WHO YOU WANT TO BE you've done good.

Now, the tricky part is that some people just don't care. You'll have that everyday - the people that actually think it's alright to dole out insults and actually take pleasure in hurting people and causing conflict. I'd love to say they don't bother me, but they do....they still have that ability to prick under the skin and hurt me. But not for long. It passes, because I know I'm doing my very best to be the kind of person I WANT TO BE.

Because you see - it is all about ME. I'm the one that has to be satisfied. I'm the one who has to live with the choices I make and the way I treat people.

Posted by Tammi at February 17, 2005 08:41 AM | TrackBack

Well said!!

Good for you.

AND, I so needed that pep talk this morning.

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Christina at February 17, 2005 08:45 AM

Hmmm, I wonder who you could have been talking with about self-confidence.

It's hard to imagine that you could have been someone who is less than great to be around.
You are such a good person, I can't fathom this person you write about. Really.

Posted by: _Jon at February 17, 2005 10:03 AM

You know, we are more alike then you can imagine.

Self-confidence is a hard thing to achieve and even when have achieved it one must keep working at it.

Posted by: Machelle at February 17, 2005 10:19 AM

Agreeing with _Jon a bit. It's hard to imagine you being the person you were when you were having your "bad time".

I'm just glad you made it through.

By the way, about that "while not thrilled with the image I see"...

You've got REALLY nice legs. Great shape, and SOOOOO long.

Just sayin'

Posted by: Harvey at February 17, 2005 11:54 AM


I'm not sure why, but after reading those two posts in order, I'm for some reason picturing you singing and dancing...in melted cheese...

Posted by: Ogre at February 17, 2005 02:10 PM

So did you break the legs of the guy who stood you up?

Also, I have decided the "magic of Tammi World" was truly just the "magic of Tammi". It doesn't matter where you are, I know you carry that magic of making everyone happy inside of you. (But your condo is awfully nice too!:)

Posted by: Beloved Wife at February 19, 2005 12:42 PM