Today for a change, I felt like just writing. Often my fingers end up saying more than I can ever bring myself to speak out loud. I have always been more articulate when writing than when speaking. I guess when you speak to people you are facing their expectations and judgements directly and risk being criticised, ridiculed or rejected – and not many people are good at taking that on the chin! I will openly admit that accepting criticism is one thing I struggle with, even to this day. In fact, I also struggle with compliments – I never know what to say and end up feeling very uncomfortable, deep down I actually hate being the centre of attention – even though I seem to be there more and more … go figure!
As a result of these fears and the underlying “shyness” in my bones, I have often felt unsure of myself, self-conscious and totally terrified of speaking to a crowd of people – it just isn’t natural for me.
Now, at this point a lot of you might be thinking why on earth I became a nurse, why did I learn to teach fitness and why in the world would I ever start a blog where I broadcast myself for the world to see??
A huge reason behind all of these things was to fight against my natural instinct to hide in the shadows. Deep down I know I CAN DO loads of things. In fact I could probably make a decent stab and anything once, and I am usually determined to be the best at it (but that’s another story about my competitive nature). My problem was always the fear of what people would think of me, I could never just let go and be myself! As I have got older, this has improved but, I still feel that fear and I probably always will. What matters is, how you deal with that fear … do you let it control you, or do you take the bull by the horns?!
When I was 19, I started a Biomedical Engineering Degree, thinking that my creative mind could one day make me millions by designing some ingenious medical device to help people across the world. Soon I realised this path would lead me to the comfort of either a lab or office where I would happy work in my own environment and rarely interact with another human-being for the most of my working life. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but it certainly differs hugely when comparing it to what I do now. Sick of the always choosing the “comfort zone”, I left this course in favor of nursing 🙂
In doing nursing I made a choice to try and conquer my fears and use my quiet confidence to help bring comfort and support to others. I remember the first day I spent on a hospital ward as a student nurse, crapping myself that a patient would even talk to me! Or the first day I spent as a fully qualified Staff Nurse – I was like a beacon for all to see and direct questions, concerns and demands at – there was no hiding behind the “I’m only a student, let me get the Staff Nurse” line then – I WAS the staff nurse!! Then, the first day I was the senior nurse in charge of the ward during the shift – when I became an even brighter beacon for the managers, the junior staff members and all the rest … everything was directed at me. Running to hide was (and still is) an ever present urge but, NEVER an option. My mum used to say to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (think that is a name of a book actually) which I think is great advice!
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I know that people tend to see me as a confident person and they may assume this comes easy to me or that I have always been this way. But like most people, I have grown into the person I am now and, it was a long bumpy road. I can safely say that I could have so easily ended up a polar opposite to who I am today, but I am so glad I chose the road I did. What made the difference was my ability to understand my weaknesses and strive to overcome them. My weakness has now become my strength!
With everything that has happened in my life and the lives of my family and friends, I have come to truly believe that strength, of every kind, is born within us. And I say “born” for a very good reason, in that we do not naturally possess this type of strength from a young age nor can it be taught. Instead, it grows and develops inside us as we mature. We need to nurture it by acknowledging our vulnerabilities and our weaknesses to really let our inner strength shine through. Throughout our lives, this strength turns to wisdom as it ages with us. It is almost like our best friend or, some may even call it God. Whatever it is, I am glad to be facing my fears, or I would never have done nursing, started myomytv or, even done this:
Sorry about the cameraman-ship :/
If we let fear or uncertainty rule our lives or dictate our decisions then how can we ever achieve our dreams? For me, I always want to have hope and faith that things will pan out. Hope is an amazing feeling as it means anything possible. Even if it doesn’t happen, I can always say “I tried”. Some may say there is a fine line between hope and denial, but I opt for seeing beyond the “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, “that will never work”, “let’s give up” cop-outs of this world – why can’t something work if you put in the effort, or at least give it a fair go!
In life, fitness, relationships and faith there will always be fear, challenges and, there will be disappointments and set-backs. Whether we progress and overcome these obstacles is down to (among other things) inner strength, determination and hope. All of us need to conquer, grow and LIVE – let nothing hold you back in life and, if you want something … feel the fear and, do it anyway!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
Have any of you had similar experiences with finding your inner strength?Feel free to share your stories here!