I don’t know why, but when I was growing up, I felt that I ‘should already know how to do things’ before doing them out in public. If my class at school announced that we would have a roller skating party, I would beg my mom to take me to the rink so that I could practice before the party, in a panic about the idea of embarrassing myself in front of other people.

Gradually, over the years, I gave myself ‘permission’ to admit that I had no clue about certain things, that I had never tried something, etc. It still bothers me a bit, but I’ve FINALLY learned to try the new thing to see if I enjoy it, rather than ‘standing back in my own mind’ seeing myself falling in a heap when everyone else seems to be able to do it with no problem.

I don’t know if others share my lack of confidence, but it caused me to miss out on several things when I was young. I still admire people who seem to be fearless, who throw themselves headlong into whatever it the situation is, with a ‘can do’ attitude, or the idea that it will be fun.

One thing I did that helped me deal with this was when I was teaching swimming each summer from the time I was 14 through college. We taught beginning swimming to young children, but we also taught older, experienced swimmers who wanted to work on their technique, stamina, or just wanted the workout.

My favorite thing was our “Mothers Classes.” These ladies sat on the benches in the hot, steamy, indoor pool area so that their kids could learn to swim. What we discovered was that the reason for this many times was that THEY were scared of the water, had never learned to swim, and wished they could. I ended up with some impressive scratches sometimes from women who were petrified, but I felt that the time we spent getting them over their fear was priceless for all of us. We taught them to relax and let the water hold them up. We showed them that they could actually float! Helping women find the confidence to try to overcome years of fear and avoidance helped ME, too. Seeing them learn to swim across the deep end on their own, laughing with joy, made me see my own problems in a different, more healthy light.

Are you with me? Got your T-shirt?

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, empowerment, Encouragement

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