I used to have a ton of confidence. It used to ooze out of my pores and fall out of my ears. At one point, I think I would have made an amazing con-artist (or maybe a spy) because I was so friggin’ confident in my abilities to schmooze and network and engage.
I think the key phrase in that paragraph is “used to.”
This is not the case anymore. Life has worn me down and stripped me of the confidence that used to come naturally to me. In many ways, I was probably destined to lose at least a modicum of that confidence because of my natural tendency to seek approval. Even as a little girl, I would look to my parents or grandparents or whoever was nearby to get a clap or a cheer when I did a little dance or told a little tale. That praise just made me glow and gave me the sense that not only did I do well, but I could do even better if I just tried.
I see Pineapple doing this now. I see her throw a ball or put a circle in its proper slot and I see her look at me for that approval. And it just makes me shudder. I can’t always give her the approval I know she deserves. I won’t always be there. And life is a harsh mistress. Someday she will be looking and hoping for approval and it won’t be there – maybe even sometimes when she really needs it and really deserves it.
I think I need to work on helping her understand that she doesn’t need my approval – or anybody else’s for that matter. She needs her OWN approval. She needs to set standards for herself. Standards she can live by but aren’t too high. Standards that challenge her but don’t ask her to sacrifice the important things in life – like family and sanity. She needs standards she can believe in so that NO MATTER WHAT, she can look at what she has done and pat her own tiny back if nobody is around to do it for her.
I just wish I could teach this to myself.