The importance of self-belief in me and you

I always get little spurts of inspiration from my driving instructor funnily enough because he talks some sense! He should but he’s rather philosophical too. What he says makes sense but I was telling him how I have 3 weeks till my theory ends and I am unsure about time and whether I’ll be able to take the test. He said to me that he could give me a million lessons but if I don’t have self-belief then I won’t be able to do it. He’s right off course, I’ve been through 2 tests already and I could do it, but my confidence and self-belief was shattered second time round. This is true in anything in life though self-belief is very important. If my doctor doubted his skills and doubted himself then I would probably not have much faith in him to carry out my operation. I would reject his help. We take risks in people who are worth taking the risks in because they believe what they can do and they believe they will do it. We put so much of our faith in people who persuade us who can fix the world.

When a person believes in themselves, anything becomes possible. So what stops us from believing in ourselves? What stops us from doing the things we want? Well its simple really, it’s a mix of fear and self-belief and sometimes these have such a powerful affect on us, we don’t even know we are affected. When they are coupled together they make the greatest force and also the greatest enemies.

A little thought I had was that:

If you ain’t got self-belief you’re playing a lost man’s game

This is the truth, because how can you go in the game to win, if you have no confidence or trust in yourself? You won’t win, not because you can’t but because you don’t believe that you can. It’s all in the power of positive thinking, or so I’ve been told, and it’s true, but sometimes we don’t want to accept the truth. We just want to find reasons not to, reasons to run or reasons not to do something again. I hate public speaking, so when I was at school I used to run to the back of the line whenever I came to the front, just so that I wouldn’t have to speak. Or I used to stay quiet when the teacher said who hasn’t delivered their presentation? She forgot about me because a) teacher wants to move on to the next task, and b) there’s more than 30 pupils in a class and I was very quiet and easy to miss which worked very well in my favour. However, this fear stopped me from developing on my skills, and it also stopped me from facing my fears. But this isn’t the only thing which stopped me, because fear does not work alone. It is founded on an irrational pre-existing belief and coupled together makes the worst form of hate. Lack of self-worth or lack of trust in the self damages self-esteem. Just like years of trust can be broken in minutes. It takes years to build relationships which can be destroyed so very easily in a matter of seconds. We build things up but we crumble beneath the weight of consequences. Why did I have a fear of standing up in front of people and talking? It’s not just because I was afraid, it was also because I had the stupid notion that I would be rejected, that I would somehow fail and people would laugh. I had the crazy idea that what I said was not ‘right’ or of any significance and I wonder how a person can get to such a low ebb at such a young age? Maybe because I never had a voice, I don’t know. It’s complex but the reasons are there.

To succeed in life, is to think I can do something, but it is also to believe that you can do it.

So this is the answer then, this is what stops me. It’s not just fear but it is self-belief. So why do I keep fighting myself? Why is everyday a battle in the mind? Where did this self-destructive mentality come from? Years of bitterness and feelings of self-worth, of being walked all over, trashed and stepped on and it time to get up, dust myself off and walk away.

I can understand where it comes from and I can understand how subtly it develops and affects me in everyday life. I can see it now and I can understand how its roots take shape and develop and grow as you grow so when you’re older you can feel constricted when you try to spread your branches. The tree of my life and how seeds take root and develop. Tiny seeds of doubt, tiny seeds of hate and self-loathing. Years of torment from cruel children, put downs by loved ones and rules by society. They say seeing is believing and I suppose that is true to an extent because it is only now I see. These all inhibit progress and you can’t progress till you let go of the past. Why do we hold on tight to the past? to the hurtful things people say? I realised that we keep the negative things that people say rather than the positive. We take it in and it cuts us a little bit, only a small cut, but after a while the cut deepens. It’s a vicious cycle and now it’s time to break from it. I admit it’s hard to break from a habit and it’s hard to break from such a long held mentality. It’s hard to break free, but it has to be done if I want to succeed and if I want to live. It can be done but it takes time and effort and perseverance and I’ve got all the time in the world.

So I leave you with my parting thoughts:

To not believe is to reject the self and who I truly am. It is ultimately self-denial and this must no longer win in my life because I need to accept me. It’s my turn to win in this game and to succeed and fight till the battle is finally won.

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When will I get it right?

For someone who enjoys learning, it’s easy to think someone naturally smart when the truth is it just requires hard work and practice. Firstly it involves understanding the principle/concept and then putting it into practice is the difficult part trying to work on that concept. I have always enjoyed learning whatever the subject may be but I have also equally found it very difficult to grasp certain subjects while others came naturally. Science, French, languages and maths based subjects I struggled because it took me time to understand and time requires patience in teaching which most people don’t have time for. Other subjects such as art, history, cooking, Design and Technology all flowed so easily to me. I remember my year 7 end of year results where I got Ds and Es in Maths, Science etc. and the only consolation was my As and Bs in Art, History and DT. I was put in the lowest class in year 8. That was the year I decided I didn’t want to be stuck with the rest of the ‘idiots’ in my class who thought 32% in Biology was “bloody marvellous” while I looked on in scorn at the low mark I received which happened to be the highest mark in the class. It took a lot of time, hard work and late nights to rectify these marks and try harder to achieve better. I don’t think I’ve always handled pressure and stress very well, but I managed it. In the end I came out shining with As and Bs and no Ds or Es in sight.

Now two years ago I put my mind to learning to drive and I really enjoyed it to begin with, but a year later after my failed first test I decided to try again and work hard to pass but the cookie crumbed and I came out of the second test utterly defeated and devastated. My confidence fell to the floor and I realised how utterly useless I was at the practical, even though I managed to soar and do very well in the theoretical. Driving for some people comes very easily, while it takes less than 20 lessons it takes someone else more than 80. I started off confident, happy and optimistic and I am slowly burning out after 2 years of learning and 2 failed tests later. My hearts not in it anymore, my resolve is slowly dying and I get angry at the gears by trying to jam them into their rightful place. Slow down, calm down, be relaxed, enjoy it are some of the phrases thrown at me, but you can’t understand me and what I’m feeling when I drive now. I am nervous, I am tired and I am close to giving up, but simultaneously so desperate not to give up because of the amount of time, money and effort spent on trying to become a better driver. My theory runs out in January and I set my target to take my test by early December, but as time goes by, day by day I start to lose hope that I can actually achieve that target because I am so bloody scared. I am so scared of failing again and messing it all up and not being able to do it anymore. I am so scared of the actions of others and what may happen on the road. I am so scared driving in London because it is so tough. I am so scared I’ll never be able to do this. With so many people urging me on I am tempted to forgo this and repeat my theory and do the practical next year when I am ready. I mean let’s be honest you can’t take a test unless you are ready right? Unless you are forced to and time constraints leave you no choice, but at that point you either pass or you fail. I just haven’t felt that feeling of being ready and I am scared I will never feel ready, never get that feeling. Maybe I am relying too much on feeling here and not enough on reason and fact but sometimes its important to feel ready and right before acting upon reason, before going further. Maybe I am getting caught up by everyone else’ standards and demands and not facing up to what I really want and maybe need to do.

I wish time was on my side, but its never on my side really and its never really on anyone’s side. My driving instructor said its all about priorities. What are my priorities? Why am I always racing in life? What am I in a rush for? I think I just need some space from my life but how funny I don’t think it’s even possible to get space from yourself and your life? Don’t think you can run far enough because those problems will still be there at the back of your mind to haunt you. The mind will never let you forget and you will always have to go back to face them in the end. It’s a bit like an elastic band when you stretch it to such a point and finally it needs to recoil back to its original form. Life is a constant struggle and I keep wondering with my head in a book when it will all be over? The book being my escape but after a while knowing that I can’t hide forever and I can’t keep escaping because the story always ends. A book cannot solve my problems, simply help me avoid them for a while. When will the struggle be over? But this is all a 1st world struggle. Despite that it’s still a struggle. A struggle to be heard in a loud crowd, the struggle to be seen and noticed in work, the struggle to overcome your fears, the struggle to fight your depressive thoughts and the struggle against succumbing to the easier path. Nothing in life is ever easy. The struggle not to become like others but be your own person independent of all constraints, others and solely reliant on the self. The self is fragmented though and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about this and seeing my reflection in the mirror when I was studying philosophy. Nothing is indestructible but I do not renounce all hope. It just hurts no that’s not the right word, its just pure frustration with the self and not being able to get it right. When will I get it right consistently? When will I be ready to face life properly?