Experiencing Confidence

It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s not something that’s here to stay. Confidence. Getting Secure in yourself.

We spend over half our life just trying to figure out “who” we are. At the young age of 18, we’re expected to know enough about ourselves to actually choose an education path for a career. Most of us don’t even know what our true hobbies are, what our likes and dislikes are, and the most important question of “What makes you tick?”

Finding out what makes you tick requires a lot of trial and error. The only way to know if you truly love something or finding a passion is to try it. Finding something that didn’t make you tick is seen as a failure, when it should be seen simply as a “check-off” on the list of things to try and move on from.

How will you know if you never try? How can you equate failing and moving on if you tried? We’re so quick to say “fail” instead of just saying “it wasn’t what I expected, so I moved on”. How many situations can you say this about? How many people do you know that could benefit from this different frame of mind–including yourself? Often we turn out to be our own worst critics.

It’s a monumental task that sets a lot of us up for failure and disappointment. Many of us change majors and jobs or careers several times well into our 30s, and only now are people realizing that this is perfectly fine, and even something desirable.

Everyone has their own career story to tell. I know people that graduated with their BA only to go work at UPS because of the awesome benefits and great paycheck. I know people who graduated with a BA they didn’t even want just to apply for their commission. I know women who got their Master’s and walked away from their job to stay home with their kids. I know moms that returned to school to go after a better job to support their families.  Everyone’s story is vastly different from others, but there is one common thread–and that is that there is no “right” way to do this.

A short ten years ago, right at the start of the changing college scene, everyone was in such a hurry to graduate to get the best job possible. We were motivated, energetic, and worked like mad people. We quickly learned that the job market wasn’t what was promised. We would have a much harder time finding a job, let alone one we were passionate about, let alone with all the daydream aspirations of paid benefits, full pension, ect. We were basically on our own.

For some of us, this was a huge blow to our egos. We had strong, clear goals, and didn’t want anything to stand in that way. Our ego. Our confidence. Our young ages. Our educations that we wore like badges of honor. To look back and tell my 20 year old self that this isn’t all bad, that things will work out, and that you’d be so incredibly surprised, and that new things will always come your way.

You are so much more than your job, your career. You are a friend to your co-workers. You’re the person who others look forward to talking to you in the break room. You are a person, not a machine.

We try new hobbies, and make new friends. We lose interest, or have a falling out. No one ever sees it coming. No one ever sets out to make a new friend and keep in mind that they could end in a blowout and not speak anymore. People have an inherent good, and naturally seek out other like-minded people to share their time with. Friendships and relationships can be messy, we are flawed humans that have feelings that are delicate, no matter how tough of a facade you can build. Even though you may have been hurt in the past, your heart keeps you pushing forward and trying, because you know deep down you are capable of being a wonderful friend and are worthy of friendship in return.

It may have taken you a long time to get to where you are. You may have had to start over multiple times. Obstacles like job loss or malicious people could have stood in your way, but you persevered. Each small win adds another facet to your personality, and bolsters your confidence.

In my early 20s I was massively confident, remember being joyful and energetic, and through life’s changes and punches, flowing along with the tides of pregnancies, weight gain, weight loss, depression, anxiety, relief, success, achieving independence, job changes, career changes, income loss and gain, seemingly innumerable events that shaped my personality to who I am right now. I only say “right now” because I have no idea what the future holds. The only thing I can be certain of is that this will change many times over throughout the course of my life. I’ll have highs and lows, and now I can realize that confidence isn’t something that you have–it’s something that you experience.

Confidence ebbs and flows with time, with your life lessons, your situations and surroundings, and the experiences you travel through.

Baby steps. You will get there.

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Resurrecting Routine

Look back and think…”what was your favorite part of the day?
Not: “what is your favorite memory?” Because those don’t usually come as planned.
Not: “what brings you joy?” Because there can be too many to choose from.

So many of us are trying so hard to find “happy ” that we are actually working backwards. We’re giving ourselves decision fatigue in “what brings you joy?”
We try to plan out things we think will make us happy, and can end up disappointment.

Happiness is a habit which comes out of….routine.

Look back on parts of your day, and see which part makes you feel the most peaceful, the most relaxed, the most satisfied. This can be any part of your day where you personally feel at your mental and spiritual best. Simple, short, energy boosting, mood lifting things.

If I’m totally honest, it’s taken me 8 tries to get to this paragraph. EIGHT TIMES. Why? Because I’m trying to practice what I preach, and still find myself having to live at the same time. We’ve got the weirdest lifestyle of anyone I’ve met (in person). My husband and I both work from home, and we have two young handsome boys that we homeschool. We are together all the time. I bet the last two sentences have perfectly illustrated that it’s an understatement to say “It’s hard to find alone time”.

I’m kind of a night owl, but that doesn’t really work for my household. Sure, I can sleep in until 7:00 if I want, but that doesn’t equal a smooth morning at all. Last night I resolved to fix this by getting to bed “early” at 10:30. This morning I thought that getting up at 6:15 would be early enough, but quickly found out I was mistaken as my husband also jumped off the bed and into the shower, and the little guys got up and immediately started throwing legos at each other. This usually happens around 8am, not 6am. Coffee, please.

For some people this might be normal, but for people with the choice and ability to sleep in…whyyyyyy aaaaarrreeennnn’t yoouuuuu? I guess you could just say that we are incredibly in sync with each others rhythms. Which now that I think about it…is pretty heartwarming. Aww ❤

In the process of writing this blog post (yes, just ONE post) I’ve:
* Made oatmeal for the boys, complete with bananas
* Found the egg roll wrappers that were “hiding” on top of the case of Yuingling
* Made the coffee (extra grounds today)
* Made the bed and tidied up the bathroom
* Diffused a fight (over the all-important legos, duh)
* Talked with my husband about friends who’ve ditched us (hurtie)
* Set the ricotta to drain for the cannelloni he’s making
* Finally finished a cold cup of coffee (try to laugh ok)

Which…brings me back to what was to be the original point of this post! WHEW!

You need a little quiet time at some point in your day to reset and recharge your batteries.

For me, that was always the time when way back in the day, my husband would leave for base at 5am, and I’d get up with him, have coffee, and write. The house was quiet and dark, and it was just me alone with my thoughts and a keyboard. I’d collect my thoughts while jotting down feelings, dreams, and things I learned. At one point, I even had a weekly post on Fridays. When I was done, I did really feel peaceful, like I’d done something that served my brain and spirit, my mind was clearer, and I was ready to greet the boys when they woke up.

Why did I stop? Life happened. Wedding photography took over. The boys both started a brick-and-mortar school (the best private school in the area, but that’s not important). My husband’s job became super stressful. Let’s not even talk about deployments. Well, we can, just not right this second. The point is–I put the one small thing I liked to do for personal enjoyment on the back burner, and my emotional/spiritual self fell by the wayside along with it.

So many things changed. So much can happen in a frighteningly short amount of time. I lost myself, and I lost something that grounded me and kept me from having thoughts mull around in my head hundreds of times, which isn’t good for anyone. Repetitive thoughts can quickly downward spiral. For me, getting them “down and out” helped stop the negativity and just made a better day. Down on paper, and out of my head.

Today’s lesson has been long (approx. 3 hours long, honestly) it has been wordy, and it has been in pieces over the course of this morning. It’s almost 9am now. I’ve learned that Maybe a little earlier would help out my cause–early enough that the little wolves are still in REM and won’t wake up at the sound of one footstep. A little earlier would have my husband check the time on his phone and say “faaaah that” and pull the covers closer.

Routines are an evolving and changing thing. They, like habits, take time to build and form. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Things didn’t go today like I thought they would, but there’s always tomorrow. The important thing is: I tried. It’s a start, and a step. Baby steps. Any step is better than no step at all.

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