How Self Confidence Impacts Our Self Worth
Do you sometimes feel like you are surrounded by people who are better than you? Are you sometimes afraid to participate because you don't think you will be good enough?
It may surprise you to find out that this is a common feeling and most people experience it at one time or another. Many people will try to fake it and attempt to hide it from others, but I suspect if you did an anonymous survey, you would probably have a high percentage of people saying it is true.
Believe in yourself
Sometimes when you are surrounded by others who excel, it is hard to put yourself out there. You feel like you don't measure up and you might get criticized or ridiculed by others. I get it. I have a high achieving, talented family and I often feel like I am the "weakest link". The funny thing is, others feel that way when they are around me because they look at me as being the high achiever and talented one.
What I have learned along the way, is you sometimes need to put yourself out there and try, even when it is hard. Asking for help is difficult for us as adults, but we are always encouraging our students to do so. I guess we should take our own advice and do the same.
A Personal Example
In school, I found writing difficult, particularly poetry. This feeling carried over to my teaching, and I found it difficult at first to embrace teaching poetry. I could do the basics and I could help my students get started, but I found it challenging because sometimes I didn't feel that I could do it well myself. I needed to remind myself that I could do it and focus on this.
When I was in school, we would have to do many different types of writing, including poetry, and sometimes I was successful, but often I felt that I wasn't doing a great job. I got varying reactions from my teachers which made me start to doubt myself. It wasn't until I was in Grade 11 that I felt I could even write well.
That year was a changing point for me because I had a teacher who believed in me and encouraged me to keep writing. My short stories improved and my confidence started to build. Poetry was still a challenge, but I felt that I was able to at least meet the criteria.
I realized that writing is subjective and what some people like, others don't. It wasn't always a case of my writing being "bad", it was a case of my not being able to convey my feelings in a way that connected with some individuals. Once I learned that, I attempted to write more and use more variety and description. I started to get more positive feedback and this helped me to get through the assignments. I continued to keep trying and I started to feel like I could write well.
How it made a difference
Fast forward to my classroom and my students throughout the years of my teaching career. I was able to see this struggle with my kids in different subject areas and I was able to be the teacher that encouraged them. Sometimes it took a while, but in most cases, I was able to see growth and even a love of reading and writing develop in them.
Math was a bigger challenge, but that even began to take on a different effort as kids started to see themselves as capable. Confidence began to flourish and successes became more evident.
I used the following posters as our classroom themes. I believe these sayings and I tried to help my students to take them to heart and believe them too.
How teachers make a difference
As teachers, we have a huge influence on our students, whether we want to admit it or not. It is important to help them to become strong, confident, and valued people that are able to go out into the world and be successful. We don't know what they will choose to do in their lives, but we can give them the tools to strive for their goals.
If we encourage them to continue to keep trying when things get tough, they will learn perseverance and determination. If we acknowledge their progress, they will start to gain confidence and realize that they are capable of more.
If we treat them as valuable, we will help them to see their own self worth. In this time of mental health struggles with young people, this is very important. We need to be our students' cheerleaders and guides.
Teachers need encouragers too
We also need to be encouragers to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling to feel like they are worthy and valued. Especially now with the struggles of teaching during a pandemic. Our confidence has been shaken and we are sometimes beginning to doubt ourselves.
If you are feeling uncertain or wondering if you are doing a good job, I want to assure you that you are not alone. You should be proud of yourself for hanging in there during difficult circumstances. If you are feeling like you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. There are many people out there who would be happy to help and provide support and encouragement.
I can tell you from experience, that you can get through tough times with support. Who knows, down the road you may be the one providing support to others as they struggle through tough times. It happened to me, so I know if can happen to others.
You've got this. You are valued, appreciated, and worthy. Believe in yourself.
Here are some posters I made that may help remind you and your students that you are valuable and worthy. Click on the image to check them out.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.