I am, ninety-nine percent* of the time, a pretty confident person overall.
Though I am not good at everything, of course (who is?), I recognize that I have talent in certain areas and choose to emphasize those rather than showcase the set of personal skills which I consider to be lackluster.
Some of my best talents are listed here in no particular order:
2. Organizing and executing theme parties/events.
3. Making paper notecards.
4. Finding the perfect gift.
5. Arranging flowers.
6. Baking (and decorating) cakes.
7. Giving advice.
9. Planning vacations.
10. Being a good friend.
11. Building things out of cardboard.
Ah yes, writing.
Yesterday, for the first time since I sat in my high school English class**, someone made me question my ability as a writer. Without going into specifics here, I can tell you that a small combination of events mixed together to provide a kind of faulty chemistry experiment that subsequently exploded all over me, leaving me sobbing, upset, and with only one desire: to get under the covers and curl up into the fetal position for about a week. I was shaken to the core, and it didn’t feel good. In fact, it felt downright awful.
Though the speed with which my personal downward spiral accelerated shouldn’t surprise anyone–especially me, what with the “Go big or go home” attitude I carry in my pocket–I was curled up in a ball well within the speed of light.
At the risk of sounding overly conceited (please don’t take it that way), questioning my own writing ability is foreign territory for me. Sure, many of the posts in my archives here would never be mistaken for masterpieces, but some (the ones I really spend time with, simmering and stirring before presenting them for your consumption) are quite good. When I write my six- to eight-per-year feature magazine articles—for which I am paid well–I am happy with the end results, as are my editors. I can write a mean letter (and by “mean”, I mean “excellent”), whether it’s for business or personal reasons. I write material for work consistently. I am proud of the spectrum of my writing as a whole, and I am blessed to receive great feedback from those who read it.
Yesterday, after the walls closed in, I spoke with four great ladies, one of whom had to talk me “off the ledge” as I cried into her ear (Sorry, Carol!). I not only felt better afterwards because they pulled me up***, but also started thinking about how unfortunate it was that I allowed one person to knock me down and shake me to my core.
The fact of the matter is this: no matter what I–or any of us–do, pleasing everyone just isn’t an option. Having enough confidence in our own abilities, whatever they may be, is the first step in getting others to have confidence in us as well, but accepting that not everybody will follow along is the key to sanity and survival.
That’s what will have to work for me, anyway, and I’m on it.
*Okay, maybe ninety-six percent.
**A long, long time ago.
***That’s what good friends do, you know.
©2011 Suburban Scrawl