Friday, December 3, 2010

Confidence and Self Esteem

“Once upon a time there was a young girl called Vanessa who was extremely confident in herself, her thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Her self-esteem was pretty high as well”.

Sadly this is no longer the case.

Over the years both my confidence and self-esteem have slowly diminished. To be fair I can attribute some of it to growing from a teenager to an adult and being more aware of things in the world and learning to be a little more reserved. However, there are some other experiences that have not helped.

As I look back over the past 10-15 years I realise there have been things that helped my ‘lack of’ confidence grow and take root. Years ago I made a really bad work decision and in retrospect on the second day of my job I should have left. Unfortunately, my work ethic was very high and I stuck it out for about 9 months until I could not take any more of the abuse and bullying. Please do not think that I cannot take responsibility for my part in the whole situation because I can and for the most part I have made “peace” with myself.

A year or so later I joined an awesome company with good career advancement possibilities and advanced quickly. I then made another (small) career mistake; that eroded more of my confidence again and I began to doubt myself professionally (I was already doubting myself personally). I stuck it out for about 18 months and then moved into another role (same company) and this was the beginning of something that I really enjoyed. I ended up with an amazing female boss and she helped both my professional and personal growth. I also learnt that throwing tantrums at work is not mature, professional or acceptable. Imagine that!?

I then left that company after almost 5 years and joined my current company (which I adore). I have realised that without the good and bad bits that I would not be where I am today. I enjoy what I do. Actually, I LOVE what I do.

I still have a lot of self-confidence issues (both personally and professionally) and I am really, really trying to work on these. There are times that I slip and take things personally when they are not a personal attack and just recently this ended badly. Having low self-confidence and self-esteem are two things that I cannot stand about myself; but they are not easy things to change (short term).

As for my low self-esteem I think that this stems from being overweight and having people stare constantly in malls or perfect strangers making comments or screaming things from their cars. Please do not think that I am being over-sensitive or paranoid about these things as it has happened and it continues to happen to me. What makes people think that they have the right to hurl abuse at me (or others) for the way that they look ? What right?! People look me up and down in malls and it makes me incredibly upset and vulnerable. I know that I am OBESE and I beat myself up every single day of my life and quite frankly I do not need others to do it for me. Perhaps they think I do not realise and want to make me aware.

So here is my statement.

“My name is Vanessa and I am obese. I am currently working on changing the way I look and feel but the extra 60-70 kilos that I am carrying around EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. is not going to come off overnight. Like everyone I have good days and bad days and like many people I emotional eat. There are times when I crave chocolate, or potatoes, or soft drink. I understand that I have not exercised enough and have eaten too much.

I also understand that there is a great deal of emotional baggage tied up with my weight and I need to embark on a massive three-pronged attack on my weight.

1. Making healthier food choices and understanding my cravings.

2. Including more activity in my day whether it is planned or incidental.

3. Delving into my psyche to start unravelling the negative emotional stuff.

It is going to be a day-by-day journey for me and it is my journey and at the end of the day I am the one that has to make those changes. So while I can do most of it myself there are times when I need/want kind words of support. I am Vanessa and I am making the effort to change my life, my health and my well-being.”