I debated with a lovely colleague today our stories about self-belief.
Mine was about not being good at maths. Attending what might now be viewed as a very old fashioned girls’ grammar school, I didn’t have the option of saying “I don’t understand.” My teacher either didn’t believe me or couldn’t deal with it. He saw us only as high achievers, expected not to fail.
My colleague? Her story was about “not being able to sing” based on a choir leader telling her in her childhood that she should stand at the back and mime because she had a sore throat. How cruel – especially as she was smart enough even at a tender age to work out what her elder meant.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about someone close to me and some particular issues that they’re working on, and these stories reminded me how important it is to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t. While your own self-confidence is something to be searched for, having confidence in another person is something else entirely. How important that we support other people when they’re feeling low, down, doubtful, fearful, sad. Whether that’s at home or at work – wouldn’t it be wonderful to take those opportunities when we can to help someone to believe that they can?
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” (E E Cummings).