Through my childhood and my early teens, I was dreadfully insecure. The major themes of my life were "What will so-and-so think of me?" and "Why didn't I do X instead of Y?" So much time and energy was spent doubting myself. These were, however, not questions I felt I could ever pose to friends or family. I knew that their responses would be exactly how I've been known to respond to others. *cringe* How many times have I said, "Don't worry about what so-and-so thinks." or What do you care what so-and-so thinks?" or "Well, you chose to do Y, and it didn't turn out so bad. I'm sure you've learned from this." In an effort to make someone "feel better", I never addressed the real issue. My responses only dismissed the person's concerns. Ugh! I think I've gotten better.
My personal Go-to eventually became my journal. IF I asked my journal, "What will so-and-so think of me?" It would say, "What do you think so-and-so will think of you?" and would let me respond. I'd write all the things that I thought so-and-so would think: "I'm stupid. I'm ugly. I'm mean. I'm a klutz. I'm useless ...." The list could go on and on. I'd eventually exhaust my list of terrible things I saw in myself. If I was lucky, I'd get angry because I saw how unfair or untrue those statements were. I'd then write about things I'd done that proved I wasn't all those bad things.
It was, to a great degree, my journaling that helped me to see some of my good qualities and talents. At the same time, it also exposed where I wasn't strong and helped me decide whether I wanted to work on strengthening or whether they were things to let go of. (of course, unfortunately, I didn't always listen to the things I supposedly learned.)
Of equal value was my eventual discovery through journaling that I'm not as insecure as people tend to believe I am.
You see, I'm bad at self-promotion and at "putting myself out there". When I try, it's often awkward -- sometimes, even embarrassing (for everyone). It stems from beliefs I grew up with and my cultural background -- things that I value. Some people have interpreted my way as lack of self-confidence or false modesty. For awhile I believed they were right. Through some navel gazing and journaling, I discovered that, in fact, I'm fairly self-aware of the things I'm good at, I know the many things I'm moderately decent at, there are a whole lot of things that I'm still working on, and there are still others that I'm just not capable of doing -- no matter how hard I might try. That, to me, isn't lack of confidence, it's knowing myself and being quite confident in that knowledge.
If any of this resonates (or doesn't) with you, I'd love to hear from you!