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What was your confidence like as a child compared to now?

Mine has always been really low. I was thinking about this because I notice how during lectures, I can never keep eye contact w/ my profs for longer than a couple seconds because I feel intimidated or something, like they're gonna see in my eyes that I don't understand and am stupid even though I DO understand and am smart.
And it reminded me of how in kindergarten I'd cry every time my teacher came by my desk while we were doing work because I was afraid she'd criticize me (even though she was super nice). I remember when I was 8 bursting into tears and running out of both my 3rd grade class and my ballet class to hide in the bathrooms because I was unsure of the quality of my poem (couldn't deal w/ reading it out loud for fear of rejection) and because I took my ballet instructor's lack of corrections as criticism, and I couldn't handle it. I had to hide. (By the way, I was always the top of both classes, so it makes no sense).

Were you guys similar at all to this as kids? Or if you tend to lean towards low self-confidence, when did that start?
 
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Yeah, I was kind of like that as a kid. I don't think I was very shy until maybe 10 or 11 years old though... around the age I and other people started getting more interested in girls, something I guess I found really intimidating from the beginning. Also, those were the ages when I started to distance my self more of everyone because of feeling different. Ending up alone completely at late 12 (but it was pretty gradual). I was extremely shy, thought I had social phobia, until 16 or so.

Well, I had been watching a lot of movies and series the past year, you tube videos, etc that gave me a lot more confidence. Sometimes I just pretended I was some character from a movie or that I should be like them... Helped me be less shy. I also would think about how stupid it was to be shy and the eye contact thing you mention also, and many other things... so I gradually fought my way out of shyness for the most part at 16...
The summer it was the biggest change, I had crohn's disease... was ill the whole summer, had no friends at all and I kind of said fuck it. This shyness is ridiculous... I went on a kind of elitist /misanthropic mode for a while, when I started high school (it was in a different place too) ; definitely not nearly as shy.

From then I've become much more humble but even though I've been through some emotionally devastating things lately I remain able to be more or less confident, or at least look like it, when I talk with strangers...
 

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I remember being a very exuberant child, if rather soft-spoken/soft-hearted up until I was about 8. Then my body started changing and that seemed to tumble into a landslide of insecurities, physical or otherwise. My perfectionist nature reared its head VERRRry early on. I questioned whether anything I did was up to the standards I felt compelled to meet. But, I think I mostly kept these things to myself... which is easy to do when you rarely speak. Looking back now, I am... actually rather surprised at the amount of time I remember NOT speaking. I suppose it was a protection method, to keep my thoughts safe.

details:
 

So I kept to the sidelines, which I suppose is something I still do now. I would do anything on my own, but put me in front of people, and suddenly nothing seemed good enough. Nobody was even telling me it wasn't good enough. hmmm. Now I wonder if anybody was telling me things WERE good enough... But no, I think they were. I remember people being very impressed with my "talent", my behavior, my intelligence.

But I guess I felt like they weren't really seeing what I was seeing. They weren't seeing all the splotches on the wall because they weren't looking AT the splotches, and they didn't know my own capabilities like I did (how could they when I never showed them?). Everything I did was to seek both the approval of others and the approval of myself, but it was primarily my own point of view that I was chasing. The moment where you do something and everything in you is satisfied, and you say, "yes. THAT is good", but really you meant YOU are good, by extension. I don't think I was aware of much of this at the time. I was too busy trying to find whatever needed to be found, gain whatever needed gaining, or improve whatever needed improving.

Anywho, this sort of mindset infected everything. All of my interactions with people, I was constantly evaluating myself and the situation. Away from people, it was easier, because i could just explore whatever endeavors or interests I wanted. Alone, there was a much greater absence of stress. Pure exploration and letting the wind guide me.

It was painful, and honestly, my interactions still go the same way, only nowadays I focus more than before on just learning and observing, rather than evaluating standards. Before, It's almost as if I evaluated, fell miserably short, and so it continued to consume my being, but now, I've evaluated, and only minimally fall short. Sometimes I even meet or surpass whatever this standard is that i use to evaluate myself in my head.


I believe the next shift in my confidence began at about age 16, progressed minimally until 19, and skyrocketed suddenly in the past year, right as my 20th birthday whizzed by me. What caused it? I think I had it figured out as it was happening. Now I am less sure. My energy for obsessive analysis of the progress of my own self-doubt has been rewired to bigger and greater things, just as it should be -_^

thank god

I will say, though, that lately I've noticed having this awareness of my own behavior, and being just as mindful of where adjustments can be made as ever...but the "you're not good enough" judgement that used to always go with it is gone. This seems the biggest indicator so far that the change is real.
 
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