Dear Teens and Young Adults,
I’m here to tell you today that there’s an ongoing war, and it’s been going on longer than any war in history. This war affects us every single day -- some more than others. In fact every single one of you is in or has fought in this war. You may be thinking...What? What are you rambling about? What war? You might first think it’s the one happening in Afghanistan, or the Iraq war? But no. As important as they are, that is not the war I am here to talk about today. This war is the one we have with ourselves and over something we may struggle.
Maybe there was a time you really wanted to say or do something. Or you had this amazing idea you wanted to share out or a message you wanted to give. Or perhaps you wanted to participate in something or ask someone something. But you felt afraid. Afraid of what could go wrong. Afraid of what could possibly happen. You didn’t have much confidence in yourself or your capabilities. That is the lack of self-assurance. That is the war we may struggle with time and time again. Sometimes we aren’t aware we are fighting in it. I sure didn’t know until I realized myself.
When I realized I was fighting in this battle it was after I realized I had lost a few friends. These were people I was really close to, and could always depend on. We’d talk about our favorite shows, complain about the amount homework and how our procrastination would refuse to go away, but if any of us were ever feeling low we’d always listen to one another. However arguments arose in the group over time. Most of these arguments tended to link back to how we were all changing as people, we all were busy with our own things going on, and I wasn’t sure how to process or approach it. I usually tried to not get in the middle of these type of things. But my actions -- or more accurately my lack of, caused a ripple of misunderstandings. They assumed I didn’t care about them when I would drop everything to give them a listening ear. They assumed I wasn’t paying attention when I was analyzing the situation, unsure if the ways I wanted to try to resolve things was the right way. They assumed I have moved on from being their friend when all I wanted was for things to be the way they used to. I was okay with all of us doing our own things, and I knew we won’t always act the same necessarily. But I was scared, mostly if my actions would even do anything, and because I was scared of how they would react I lost them instead.
Then I noticed...If I was scared of speaking up in my own group of friends, what else did I miss out on? What opportunities did I lose because I was scared and unsure of the actions I should or shouldn’t take? Many. I lost many opportunities without realizing it. Some I couldn’t have possibly known but some were painfully obvious. It made me realize we have to take risks even if we’re unsure of the outcome. In an article I found by Bonnie Marcus, called “Does a Lack of Confidence affect your Life and Career?”, she talks about how this can some to effect in many ways, “A lack of confidence can have a dramatic effect on your career. It will keep you in your comfort zone because you that’s where you feel safe with little risk of failure.”
How we approach things can have a huge impact and it starts with our self-assurance. Because if we are too scared or have any doubt in the actions we wish to take will we ever take them? Even if things don’t go the way we want we can still be content with having faced the challenge or situation at hand -- no matter how small it is. You could be scared of that job interview. You might be worried you’ll mess up on a question or be unsure what to say, but at worst they can say no thank you, but you’ll still walk out with experience of what to do next time. You could be scared of trying something new just simply because of the thought of failure. You may feel you lack a lot of skill, but you’ll only get better the more you keep trying.
So even though there are days when we feel like we have the worst luck in the world, or feel like everything may rest on our shoulders, how we face those problems head on can completely change the outcome and perspective of what we are going through. Even if it doesn’t solve anything, knowing you have some control of what could happen will give you the confidence to get you where you want to go.
So that idea? Share it. That thing you wanna participate in? Go for it! But also you don’t have to rush yourself either. It’s a process, and no one is expecting you to go all out at once. As long as you feel happy and content in the choices you make...If you have confidence in what you can do you’ll win the war.