It has taken me months to write these few paragraphs. I have typed and deleted more times than I can count. While the kids are in the bath, while I am stuffing my face with way too many Christmas cookies, while I am listening to podcasts and walking the dog, I have mulled over this topic and what, if anything, I can contribute to it. It has taken a hold of my thoughts, yet I struggle to find the right words to say, the ones that encompass everything the word “confidence” evokes in me.

Why is it so hard for me to string a cohesive set of sentences together on this subject? I mean, it really can’t be that difficult… but it so IS.

I know why. Deep down, this voice inside me says, “Your words don’t matter, someone else has already said it, done it, made it, painted it, all of it… BETTER.”

Confidence does not come easy to me, obviously. But that’s exactly why I think my story, my words and my experiences are important to share. I can contribute something special and unique because it’s from my heart. If you struggle with this like I do, I encourage you to bravely do whatever you love to do ANYWAY.

“You are confined only by the walls you build around yourself.” – Andrew Murphy

If I waited until I felt confident or “ready,” I would never accomplish anything. Ever. I’m standing in my own way most of the time. Excuses, justifications, self-doubt, and comparisons are the walls I have built around myself. Those big, sturdy walls kept me from even starting to paint for so long. I actually painted a canvas solid green and then stared at it off and on for years before I could bring myself to do any more. I just couldn’t get past the start. At the time, I didn’t have the courage to believe in myself. Starting something new can be really hard. I experience a brief moment of panic everytime I start a new painting, but then I remember that feeling is not final and it does not need to hold me back. So I choose to do it anyway.

This voice in my head tends to be very negative, loud and rude. It seems, at every opportunity, to tell me I’m not good enough, that there’s no point, that I will fail. Sometimes it sidelines me for weeks, months, or years – like with the green canvas. As I learn, grow, and practice, my heart overrides my head, and I am soaring above it all.

Several authors I admire greatly – Danielle Krysa, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Brene Brown – speak to this fear, this voice, this lack of confidence. The takeaway for me has been: name your inner critic and invite it to ride alongside you, and vulnerability is a good thing.

In other words, Do It Anyway.

“Tear off the mask. Your face is glorious.” – Rumi

Written by Jill Paddock