ASSUMPTIONSI read an article a while ago that said "people with a high level of confidence have just as many weaknesses as those without confidence, but they focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses."
As I've gotten older I find that I've tended to sit back and assume that I had achieved all that I was going to in this life, and basically there was nothing left to do now, other than accept where I was at. A friend of mine once said that she could be anything she wanted to be.....she just didn't know what she wanted to be (and that was the problem). I can certainly relate to that thought. I assumed I was limited in my potential now and stuck where I was until the end of time.
WORKBeing a woman of my generation, I had tended to slip into the path of least resistance when it came to choosing a career (my parents thought it would be a waste over-educating a daughter) and I settled for a job that helped pay the bills and keep the family finances in the black when my husband was changing jobs on a fairly regular basis (this was pretty much the norm throughout our married life).
I don't think I ever reached my full potential in the area of employment, but I found a niche I was good at and settled for that being good enough. For a long time I chose to stay put in a field of employment where I felt safe, but not challenged and certainly not fulfilled. I wasn't appreciated by my boss and I felt like I was treading water and going nowhere.
It would have been easy to stay put and wait out the next decade or so until retirement. It was easy to see what I didn't have and to assume that the skills I did possess wouldn't be of use in a new position. But....once I chose to step up and step out of that mindset, I found out my skills were very much in demand and I ended up in a new job that is interesting and where I'm appreciated and paid what I'm worth - it's amazing what can happen when you take a risk and trust in your abilities.
FAMILY LIFEFor as long as I can remember when it came to my family, I was the Queen of Great Expectations - only to watch them come crashing down around my ears at every turn. Now days I am doing my best to refuse to allow unreal expectations to control my emotions (this is a work in progress). The trouble with expectations is they highlight your failures in technicolour brilliance. No marriage and no children could ever hope to live up to my Brady Bunch ideals - so all I saw was where I'd failed. I focused in on all the things I did wrong, rather than celebrating all the small victories along the way.
Today I am choosing to look at what I have achieved in my marriage, and in the lives of my children, and in my friendships, and at work rather than zeroing in on the little nit-picking bits that I'm not happy with. By doing this, I've gained confidence in myself while trying to remain true to who I am. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'm not my own worst critic anymore.