Thursday, December 6, 2012

Radvent, Day 2: Self-Worth

love yourself  ... even if you are not very good at pottery

I still struggle with self-worth. Not like I did when I was growing up, of course, when kids were so mean and I went through best friends like they were going out of style (not my fault, of course ... no, really) and I was awkward and different and strange and didn't make headway even when I tried to fit in. But I'm convinced that so few people were "the cool kids" in school. Are you friends with any of those kids? I still don't think I am, and I'm now in my thirties! Thankfully, none of that stuff matters now. Isn't that great?

But my adult life hasn't exactly been a study in confidence, either. In fact, it's the one thing that keeps holding me back from achieving everything I've ever dreamed of professionally. Every boss I've ever had has told me that if I were only more confident, I'd be unstoppable! But I'm not confident. I'm a scared little girl, in so many ways. My twenties were about learning how to work through fear, and my thirties ... well, I'm sure that's what they'll be about, too. And the rest of my life! And fear, for me anyway, is the root of what impedes my confidence.

I may be a shy introvert, but I'm not a shrinking violet. I believe in figuring out how to get what you want, then going for it. I believe that if you never ask, you'll never know, and that is the worst fate of all. And I know now that I am in charge of my own destiny. If I want something? I have to go for it. These are the things that to me define self-worth. With that means not only trying hard, putting myself out there, and taking risks; it means I keep going in spite of the embarrassment of not being perfect (see my mug from my pottery class, above -- 25-year-old Amber would have flogged herself with shame for not being a natural at pottery, making the experience of the class miserable ... and she did; but 30-year-old Amber is having a great time, and not putting that kind of pressure on herself, because the value of life is not being perfect at everything, it's all in the journey, and in the using of hands, and the tactile experience). And it means I am forgiving of myself when the path turns out to be much more winding than I'd anticipated.

That's not to say I'm perfect at that, or even near it. I still could improve on valuing myself more: I could take care of my body more, go back to the dentist, never slip up and start becoming nocturnal again. I could drink less. I could treat my body as more of a temple and less of a pickup truck meant to be put through the elements. I could be kinder to myself, less harsh inside my head (majorly). I could learn how to truly be Zen about life. I could learn to be more in touch with my emotions and with the emotions of those around me, which would undoubtedly make my life a softer, more caring experience.

But I'm working on all of that. Self-worth cannot be built overnight, or even over a decade. For me it's a lifelong process, even if I love the person I've grown up to be. How about you?

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. 
 Stuart Smalley


I'm participating in Radvent this year via the ever-awesome Princess Lasertron, and you should too!

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