Learning to Believe in Myself

photo 11 500x500 Learning to Believe in Myself

I saw this quote on the Instagrams a few week ago, and it seriously resonated with me.

I was always slightly shy but relatively confident growing up. I did well in school, I was at least nominally athletic, I had friends and a supportive family. I had a bunch going for me, I thought.

Going away to college, I gained the Freshman 15. And then some. And then some more. Being the chubby girl around a bunch of skinny friends started eroding my confidence.

Only you can choose how you feel, but I didn’t choose to change my mindset, and I slipped further and further down that path.

I moved to NYC in 2008, started this blog, and lost 50 pounds. I got a job I loved, and in mid-2010, I felt absolutely on top of the world. Unstoppable.

I lost that job in mid-2011 and so set a chain of a few years of further confidence eroding, for various professional reasons that trickled far too much into my personal life, and that I wish I’d been able to cut off earlier.

It sounds so silly to keep saying that a press event for some pretty and fancy spandex pants gave me the kick in the butt I needed…but it did. Lorna Jane Clarkson and her brand truly embody the Never Give Up motto, and that became my mantra for everything in my life.

To not give up on any of my dreams. That I was worth it.

I wish I could say it was as easy as flicking that switch and deciding that. It took some therapy, but more importantly, it was listening to the people in my life who believed in me so much. I finally stopped telling them they were full of it, and accepting their compliments and letting myself believe that if someone was unsolicitedly saying something nice to me, they probably meant it. (Let’s be real, we’ve all done a little fishing for compliments now and then, no?)

There’s several new friends I’ve met in the past year who’ve truly embodied this quote above. These new friends are the ones that both know when to give me the pep talk I need to give myself and when to give me the tough love that helps me cut the crap that holds me back from being the best me I can. The manager-turned-friend who believes in me as an employee and a friend. They’ve also helped me see the stuff that old friends and family have been telling me for years. If you’re reading this, you know who you are.

When I wrote that Cosmo article last year, I thought the headline was so sensationalized. I still think it was a little bit much, but I think the editor was more prescient than she realized. I wouldn’t say I’ve been unhappy at all since I lost weight, but there was definitely some baggage I had to work through…and I have. With a little help from my friends. And family, of course.

Maybe I’ve faked some confidence on this blog in the past few years in a fake-it-until-you-make-it kind of way, but this? This is the real deal, and I consider myself so lucky to have people in my life to help me get here.

How did you start believing in yourself?

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12 comments on “Learning to Believe in Myself

  1. Amanda - RunToTheFinish

    AHHH it’s interesting the twists and turns we take. I feel like my own confidence waxes and wanes with the years depending on new situations and things that are happening. I tend to know what I’m capable of, but it sure helps to have that person in your corner cheering you on and reminding you that you can

    Reply
  2. Katie

    Hm. I’m not sure about when I started “believing in myself” or if I do. I completely relate to trying to keep my blog positive, even if I’m not happy happy happy 24/7. I’m not trying to show a fake world, I’m just trying to show that there are good moments.

    Reply
  3. meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    I have always been really confident in myself, even when I was on the chubbier side as a kid. I would say that my divorce was definitely a test of my self-esteem and confidence and thankfully, I passed with flying colors and even learned to believe in myself even more and realized just how strong I really could be as a single mother starting all over again. Sometimes we need life events to make us realize our abilities and strengths.

    Reply
  4. Lauren @ Beautiful Plant-Based Life

    Thank you for your honesty. It is one of the many things that make you and your blog so special. Personally, I gained confidence when I began to enjoy an active lifestyle. When I prepared for my wedding 8 years ago, I wanted to be the best version of myself- healthy and fit! I continue to push myself to have new experiences, simply to prove to myself that I can. Backpacking in Yosemite, traveling solo for a yoga retreat, running a full marathon… With each new experience, I believe in myself a little bit more!

    Reply
  5. Melissa Burton

    I’m not sure that “believing in myself” applies even now but I can say that I’m comfortable with who I am. I’m not sure if there has been an a-ha moment or anything but it’s just a feeling.

    If I compare myself to others (which we all do), I’m not as harsh as I used to be. I may not be everything I want to be but I realize that if I want to be different, I have to put the effort in. I’m not as pressured as I used to be to be the picture of what I thought was successful/fit/supermom/blogger/businessperson/megafriend etc.. I realize that I make the choice to put the effort forth or I don’t and I’ve become a lot more OK with whatever I decide.

    I haven’t “given up” but I think I’ve “given in” to letting me be just who I want to be in the right now.

    PS – I love that you hit publish on this post. I’ve watched the blogosphere change a lot and I’m glad to see that you let you come through the page not just what you do but really who you are. Thank you for continuing to do that.

    Reply
    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Thanks <3 The blogosphere sure has changed a lot in the past few years…and that’s definitely made it harder to blog sometimes, for sure. And I really enjoy writing these kind of posts because I really like reading them on other blogs.

      Agreed on the being comfortable with oneself thing. It’s definitely something that’s come for me with age and a series of ah-ha moments this year, in particular. Also, turning 30 and abandoning “but I should have been x by now” was helpful :)

      ALSO I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU HAVE I MENTIONED THAT?

      Reply
  6. Shawna

    love that quote, and the fact that you wrote this post. i can relate to the ‘fake it til you make it’ sense of believing in ourselves that we often want to portray to others, and the fine line between real confidence and a facade can be hard to walk sometimes. i’ve been blessed with an amazing set of parents who have always tried to instill the art of believing in myself in me, and i definitely had that genuine confidence and sense of self when i was younger. it’s taken a beating now and then throughout the years, as i believe is the “normal” for adolescent/young adult girls, but i believe the journey to self-discovery and a consistent, integrated identity is a lifelong process that we’re blessed to embark upon with the help of some amazing people in our lives. i love that about blogging, too — the sense of community and empathy.
    thanks for sharing this. and PS — still love to meet up with you sometime. ;)

    Reply
  7. Mish @ Lose Weight Sharp

    That’s a lovely quote. Unfortunately there are only a few who motivate you or even be happy at your success. Because most of them are there to enjoy themselves. So whatever few are there must be really loving you.

    I’m so glad you shared this post.

    Reply

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