As a child (and young adult), I was a quitter. I was the biggest damn quitter you ever did see. In 6th grade, I thought playing the violin looked cool. I quit after a year. Then I tried the cello. Quit. Girl Scouts. Spanish. Quit. It was too hard, I wasn’t smart enough. I simply assumed I wasn’t good enough to accomplish the things my peers could. I was the last or second to last in all the Gym athletic tests. I couldn’t do a push up, a pull up, or a sit up (still can’t, let’s be honest), climbing the rope? fogettaboutit. “I’m just not competitive,” I said. (If you’ve played Catch Phrase with me you know that’s a dirty lie). I told myself that it didn’t matter to make myself believe I didn’t really care. Y’all, I’ve had about 30 jobs. Retail, waitressing (all of the restaurants), bartending (beer and wine only, back in the dark ages when Dahlonega didn’t have liquor), Mary-Kay Consultant, Nanny, receptionist…I honestly don’t even remember all the jobs I’ve had. I have no trophies, no awards, no relics from my childhood to prove my exceptional abilities at anything. Nothing. Nada. Except for quitting, of course. I was a champion quitter.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to believe in myself. How to trust myself. How to believe I was capable of doing things I never thought I could do. How to believe I am strong.
The answer is probably so simple for many of you. In fact, you may be on the other end of the spectrum. Overcommitted, afraid to quit anything. You hear your parent’s voices in your head, “We finish what we start!” and the like about family pride. I’m not knocking quitting. There are times when quitting is the absolute best and right thing to do.
I’m simply knocking not trying. Giving up. Believing you can’t.
A pivotal and corrective experience for me was discovering my intelligence. This happened in high school. My dear friend, Bridget became my first cheerleader. “You can make an A in math!” “Did you do your homework?” “Let’s study!” She’s my hero, that girl. And she was right, she usually is.
“I am smart”.
In college, I busted my ass to make a B in Neuroscience. Never been so proud of a B in my life. I failed the first 2 exams and I didn’t give up. I kept working. I didn’t quit.
“I am not a quitter.”
In grad school, I went on a month long mission trip to a city in Costa Rica by myself. I flew to another country by myself. I do not speak Spanish (due to my quitting habits, of course), I stayed with a family whom did not speak English. I worked with traumatized, addicted women who did not speak English. Yet, I didn’t need to speak Spanish to love them. I danced, cried, and laughed with them. For a month, I did this. I navigated this city mostly on my own. All things I never thought I was strong enough, or brave enough to do. I was scared, but I did it. (Plus, it did amazing things for my relationship with God, I’ll tell you that).
“I am brave.”
I birthed 2 babies. From my body. Me. I always wondered if I would be capable of it, and I did.
“I am powerful.”
And now, (seriously, I still can’t even believe this myself) now I’m running. Like, 3-5x a week. For longer periods than I ever have in my life. I am on my 7th week, and i have no intention of quitting. I won’t as long as it’s healthy for me to continue. I am challenging myself physically harder than I ever have, EVER. Every day I go out to run I keep going even after it gets hard. And every day I do this, I get to add more strength. More truth.
“I am strong.” “I am capable.” “I am athletic.” ” I CAN.” “I DID IT.”
What about you? What have you always longed to do, but never thought you could? Today is a good day to prove yourself wrong. Join me, friends!
2 thoughts on “How to believe in yourself”
I love this article! I feel like a quitter too, but it’s almost like I get distracted and tranced into other things that causes the “quit”. I didn’t realize until I was in college that I could learn, and that I was intelligent. I grew up thinking I was incapable it, but luckily my super smart husband was my cheerleader, and he saw the potential. Love hearing from you, and looking forward to your next entry 🙂
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You are so intelligent! Thank you for your kind words, April!