How I Build Confidence and Live the Life I Want

How I Build Confidence and Live the Life I Want

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:

  1. Identify your fear. Simple, I was scared that I might get hurt and feel embarrassed if I fell.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone in spite of your fear. The first step was the most difficult...but then I just kept going.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 have nothing to lose except fear...and think what you might do!


Your friend and fellow bariatric patient

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