Lately, I've spent a lot of time thinking about things in my life. Things I have done. Things I haven't done. And I've been thinking a lot about how confidence has affected those things.
All my life, I have thought of myself as having very little confidence. I've never known what to do or say in a party situation. I've hated doing things on my own. I always thought that I was lacking in some way, shape, or form. I'd tell myself things like, "I'm not pretty enough to talk to them. They're not into the same things I am. I'm not good enough to do that." There's been a lot of "I can't" happening. One of the things I keep reflecting on is how I didn't do a study abroad. I can tell myself a lot of excuses, but really I was just too scared. I was too scared to go without Hans. I was too frightened that I wouldn't have any friends. I simply couldn't imagine doing something on my own.
Over the past few years, though, that has changed.
The first change came when I decided to go to dog training school. I knew I could do it, because I wasn't actually alone. I had Cody. If I felt lonely or scared or out of place, I had Cody. I was still extremely anti-social (I treasure my alone time), and I often felt like I didn't belong in the group, but I had Cody. I could snuggle with Cody. I could play with Cody. I could take Cody for a walk. I could practice training with Cody. Somehow, Cody let me know I was on the right path. That made starting a business in dog training seem somehow easy.
The next change came when I started running. I couldn't run with a group or at a time or place where others would see me. I mean, I might look stupid and others might laugh. However, I could take Cody out for some exercise 3 times a week, and I could join an online training plan (where my participation was completely optional), and I could set a low goal.
Somehow, those two things really helped to set things in motion. Going to dog training school turned into running a successful business, which turned into opening a successful kennel. Yes, there are times when I get nervous or I'm uncertain, but I know I'm doing OK.
Training for a 5k turned into training for a marathon, which turned into meeting some great running buddies.
And now I'm a mom. You know, maybe it's because of my experience with the dogs, and maybe it's because I simply have such great support, but I've never been uncertain of my abilities as a mom. I know my methods and my style and my choices might not be the same as other moms, but that doesn't seem to matter. Somehow I know I'm OK.
There is one other thing I noticed, though. Cody has helped a lot. Cody has been a bit of a life raft for me. He has given me the strength and the courage to do things I never would have done on my own. It's true that I've had tons of support from Hans and my family, but they couldn't always be right there with me. Cody often was. For that, I'm forever grateful.
There's probably a lot more I could say about all this. I could probably type for hours, but it's hard to truly organize my thoughts on this. It's hard to explain the anxiety I sometimes feel, and it's even harder to explain those few shining moments when I've overcome my anxiety and just done something. Maybe someday I'll be able to eloquently express those emotions, but for now I can only say I'm grateful that things are a little different than they were a few years ago. That's all I can ask for.