Most people who know me would describe me as being very confident. Even some of my closest friends have commented on how they wish they had my confidence. I have a secret, though. It's all fake. Confidence has never been my strong point. I have always been the shy one. The thing is, though, sometimes I can fake it. If my friends are involved in any way (with me, supporting me, encouraging me) I can fake confidence. For the business, I can fake it. Actually, with most dogs I'm not faking at all. I'm very confident around the dogs. They put me at ease. It's the people who make me nervous.
Over the years, there are several experiences that I've missed out on due to my lack of confidence. I never joined my high school lacrosse team (even though it was new, and there weren't try-outs, just acceptances) because I was afraid of looking stupid. I have a lot of trouble making new friends because I'm nervous about making a fool of myself. I remember one time I was in training for cafe manager at school. We had to meet with Life Safety and learn fire safety, and part of that lesson was using a fire extinguisher and putting out a real fire. This was super-exciting for me. Hopefully this would be the only time I'd have to do this...ever, but I was excited. What did I do? I just hid in the back, avoiding being called, simply because I was afraid I'd do something terribly wrong. Lucky for me, every single person had to do it, and I had an opportunity to put out a fire (without looking like an idiot).
About three years ago I decided to change this. I decided that I wanted to start taking risks. I wanted to be confident, and I was going to make a concerted effort. Things were going wonderfully. I made the decision to go to dog training school, I took control of my life, and I was happy.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for something to shake this new-found confidence. As I graduated from school, and was ready to take on the world, I was not ready to take on losing a friend. I wish I could say that she was lost in some dramatic way, that something had actually taken her from me, but such is not the case. My friend, my best friend of seven years, a bridesmaid at my wedding, simply decided she no longer wanted to be my friend. There was no explanation, no fight. My best friend, the one who had promised me at my wedding to always be there for me whenever I needed, simply walked away from the friendship without a word.
How does one handle something like that? For a while, I tried to convince myself that she had actually passed away. Thinking of her as dead was easier than admitting that she could choose to not be my friend. Still, though, I knew the truth. Every day I was reminded of things we had done around town, and the wonderful memories we had, and I was reminded everyday that I wasn't good enough for my best friend to stay with.
It's been two years since my friend stopped being my friend, and I still tend to look at the memories, but somehow they don't hurt as much. And as the memories hurt less, my confidence grows. I am learning that whatever happened with my friend was not my fault, it was hers. I don't know what happened, but I know that I should have been treated better. I deserve to be treated better. I am worth it. Somehow, something has switched, and that little flicker of confidence I once felt is coming back.
I am grateful to everyone who has stood by me, be it for one year or for 25. It is you who have taught me I am worth it. It is because of you that I can stand up for myself. It is because of you that I can ask for what I want. It is because of you I can grow my business, take care of myself, and learn that I am worth it. With your help, I am developing self-confidence. Thank you.