It’s no secret that confidence is key in this world. Without it, people will often run right over you. But gaining confidence is far easier said than done, and sometimes, at least for me, it seems more like a winding road of hills rather than a straight path.
Confidence comes from a variety of sources. It really isn’t a one size fits all kind of situation, but I would argue that the seeds are sown by our parents when we are young, and one of the first things that has to be done when instilling confidence is to eliminate fear. Now, I am by no means fearless. However, I have been thinking about one lesson, in particular, my father taught me years ago.
Growing up we spent a lot of time with family friends. We weren’t related by blood, but I had known them since birth, and they were a huge part of my childhood socialization. The only problem was a man named Bob. He was around these get-togethers more often than I would have liked. I tend to know whether or not I like someone pretty quickly, and this has been the case ever since I was a baby (seriously, I started holding grudges before I could talk). I knew that I absolutely hated Bob in every sense of the word, but he was an adult, and I was a kid, you have to fall in line in those kinds of situations, right? Wrong.
Bob had a habit of terrorizing us kids; he would be rough and grab us in a way that kind of hurt and made me insanely uncomfortable. I would tell him I didn’t like it and made it clear to him that I wanted it to stop, but he was the adult, and I was the kid, so I kept my mouth shut…until I didn’t.
One day when I finally had enough, I worked up the courage to tell on him. Of course, tattling on adults was something that seemed like a forbidden concept, so it definitely took some gumption. I went to my dad at one of these parties and told him what was going on with Bob just a few feet away.
I was nervous that I would be scolded, that somehow speaking out against an adult would be frowned upon, but I should of known better. My dad told me that the next time he did anything like that, I was to punch him in the nose. “But I’ll get in trouble,” I responded somewhat sheepishly, at which point my dad gave Bob one of his most frightening death glares. He simply reassured me that; “No, you won’t” and that he would take care of it. Hearing all of this, Bob remarked, “Guess I’ve been told”… Yes, yes you have.
A primary barrier to standing up for yourself is the fear of what will happen when facing your demons with no one by your side. It’s incredible what can happen with a little guidance and the courage born from knowing we are not alone in all of this.
Now, this might have slightly backfired when a cousin tried some roughhousing and got bopped in the nose … but that’s a story for another time