Note from a fellow bariatric patient…
How I Build Confidence
Are you in awe of people who have lots of confidence and do things effortlessly? I am!
Because of my life-long battle with obesity, I have little confidence in my physical ability. I am envious of people who are athletic. How do they get the strength and courage to just do things without thinking?
Clearly their skills and confidence have been built over time; they have earned it.
Now that I am much healthier, I want the same courage for myself. So, I came up with a confidence-building plan. Let me share my plan and what I did in one specific situation in the hopes that it might help you do the same.
Recently, I was walking with my son through a housing development that was under construction. We came upon a three-foot drop between two properties that was connected by a piece of lumber. My son sprinted down the board while I stood there in fear pondering how I would navigate it. My brain said, “the board isn’t strong enough to hold my weight, what if I fall?”
My son reminded me that he was heavier than me and the board hadn’t broken. Besides, it was only three feet high and 6 feet long. It would not require a high wire act, and a fall would likely not result in injury. He was confident of the outcome, knowing that I could do it. I, on the other hand, assumed the exact opposite: the board would break and I would be injured and humiliated.
I was paralyzed by fear, but I was determined, so I implemented my plan to face the situation and build my confidence:
- Identify your fear. Simple, I was scared that I might get hurt and feel embarrassed if I fell.
- Determine why you want to overcome the fear. I was sick of sitting on the “outside” watching others have fun. I want to start acting like a “normal” person who isn't scared of simple activities.
- Set a specific and achievable goal. I had to walk down a short, low board. Easy to define and, for most people, easy to do.
- Ask for help. I just needed a “helping hand.” I asked for assistance and it was graciously extended. I could not have done it otherwise. What’s funny is I actually didn’t need his hand for balance….it was just knowing help was there IF I needed it that made a difference.
- Step out of your comfort zone in spite of your fear. The first step was the most difficult...but then I just kept going.
- Do it before you have time to chicken out. I didn't read a book on mountain climbing or buy any special gear. I just did it.
- Succeed. Start “rewriting” the lies in your head that tell you that you can’t do things. Even if you aren’t successful, you can learn a lot for the next try.
- Celebrate! This is where having positive people around you helps. My son was affirming and congratulatory while at the same time telling me he always knew that I could do it. Most of all, I was proud of myself.
Am I still scared when facing physical challenges? You bet; I probably always will be. But I’m a little more confident and know that my fears can be overcome. Each time I have a victory it gets easier!
Why don’t you give it a try...you have nothing to lose except fear...and think what you might do!
Your friend and fellow bariatric patient