Tag Archives: confidence

Confidence Knock

For those of you that may not be aware, we have moved out of London and have followed our dream of moving to the country.

It’s been a bit of a scary journey for us two risk averse people but somehow we’ve managed to put one foot in front of the other and have made a decision that we would have normally just put off.  Now we are living the dream and it hasn’t disappointed.

The Monster has also taken the move in his stride (he’s 3, I doubt he’s actually realised we have moved) and Pickle was doing so well.

She started school last Wednesday and went in with a smile on her face.  She went in on Thursday with a slight lip quiver. By Friday morning we had full on tears and clinging.

On Saturday we headed off to try out a performing arts school she’d been keen to go to.  3 dance classes followed by 2 drama classes.  The drama classes she has never done before by all 3 dance classes are the same ones she did in London.

She was fine in Ballet, she sat off to the side in Tap and then refused to go into the Modern class, breaking down and sobbing when I tried to walk her in.  However, she thoroughly enjoyed the drama classes once she’d dried her eyes.

It’s a journey I’m familiar with and to be honest it’s the hardest part of parenting to deal with.  Irritating children who I end up losing my temper with, bored children, over exuberant children who won’t calm down, loud children – I can deal with.  Dealing with confidence issues is something I still haven’t got the knack for and I keep trying new ways each time.  Saturday was so exhausting, not least because it all happened again at the party we went to in the afternoon.

I usually leave it, the party she doesn’t enjoy being at, the tennis lesson that never got off the ground. I accept that I can’t make her do something, even though I know she’d enjoy it.

This performing arts school is different though.  The two classes she didn’t enjoy happen to be the two that she usually REALLY enjoys.  It could have been the fact she wasn’t wearing the right uniform, too many other children, a bossy girl telling her what to do, steps she’d never done before. New New New New.  We don’t like change.

So we’re back there on Saturday.  One foot in front of the other. Attempting to overcome the confidence knock.

Any tips?


I’m an Introvert

Believe it or not, I spent most of my life believing I was an extrovert.  Honestly.  I’m feel incredibly stupid for this, but I don’t know whether it has been the ageing process that has accentuated the traits and made it much more obvious or whether I’m just better educated now.  Maybe both.

The reason I thought I was an extrovert stems from my teens and 20’s.  I had relatively queit friends and I am very talkative. I am a chatterbox. I looooove to talk. My aunt rang my mum once to check up on my throat infection and asked if I had stopped talking. The answer was no.  As well as the talking a lot, filling the empty silences that people insist on putting there (why, why do they do that?) I quite like having the floor with friends.  I have very fond memories of having one too many drinks and practically doing a stand up routine or often a bit of improvised slapstick for the amusement of those around me.  It took me a while, but I started acting in my early 20’s, eventually coming to the UK in the 90’s to study drama, meet my husband and do a bit of professional acting before realising I wasn’t up for the struggle and quitting.

That sounds like an extrovert doesn’t it?  Attention seeker. Drama queen. Actress.

It always confused me when I did quizzes or a Myers Briggs personality test in early 2000 and I didn’t come out as an extrovert. Why do they keep getting it wrong?

So, it’s taken me a while, but in the last 5 years I think it has slowly trickled into my head.  Around the time I had children and found myself in situations where I was meeting new people for the first time at NCT antenatal classes or at children’s birthday parties.  It probably wasn’t until this year that I made the jump to actually realising I was an introvert. To go from being an extrovert, right the way down the scale to the Introvert was a bit of a shock to the system.  It has helped me though.

I’m no longer critical of my inability to make new friends.  I’ve stopped getting annoyed at my anxious disposition about a night out with people I don’t know very well.  Best of all, I’ve started to find like minded people on twitter and in real life who are just like me.  I’ve been able to give advice to my husband, advice that wasn’t obvious even to me (like this picture), to help him understand why I am the way I am.introvert

There are quite a few myths out there about introverts and on my googling, I found this really interesting blog post  by Carl King.  In it, he had the exact same realisation and found a book that helped him to understand it better.  Here are the myths he outlined. I shouted “yes” to everyone:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

These made perfect sense to me.  I often engage with people at my daughter’s school, because we have a common interest and our children are in the same class and I like to be inclusive.  Just because I do that, doesn’t mean I like to chat to strangers.  It depends on the circumstances and my mood.

What has been the biggest realisation this year, along with my understanding of my anxiety, is that not EVERYTHING I do is a result of my anxiety.  Quite a lot of it is just my personality, my introversion.  This blog post about my daughter, helped me realise that. I’ve always encouraged her to be social, so the fact she finds it hard sometimes is another example of our genetic makeup, hers and mine.

We can’t change it, nor should we want to.  I’m planning on using my new found knowledge to be kinder to myself and accept how introversion is part of who I am.




When I was a girl (both little and big) I had very little confidence.  There were a lot of incidences where I was dumstruck in social situations and had no idea how to handle them.  On one occasion me and my sister arrived at my brother’s fancy dress competition at school with our multi coloured ponchos on (it was the 70’s!) and were handed a ticket to take part.  We were so embarrassed and didn’t know what to do so we attempted to shove the ticket into our mum’s handbag.  She caught us out and did a great big embarrassing snorty laugh before giving it back to the ladies at the desk.  I was always a bit angry about that, like my lack of confidence was my mum’s fault.

I did ballet, but my sister did no extra currilcular activities. I stopped ballet 2 years in, once I was in a class of 3 and the other 2 girls were older than me and wouldn’t speak to me.  My sister did no activities at all.

I have always been a bit unimpressed my mother didn’t have us do lots of activities or that she didn’t try and encourage us to be more outgoing, but having witnessed my daughter today, I may have figured out why.

Pickle has always been a bit of an emotional girl.  She’s 5 now but very unsure in circumstances she’s not familiar with (not unlike me), however since her operation 4 weeks ago it has really got bad.  The first birthday party she attended about 8 days after her operation, she clung to me like a limpet and refused to take part.  This isn’t massively unusual for her, if I’m there, she does hang on to us for about 10 minutes, until a friend puts their hand out or an entertainer gets her doing something.  This time it took over an hour (the party was only 1.5 hours long) before I could leave her and then she got hit by another child accidently and ended up back with me for 10 minutes.

Yesterday I took her to her first tennis lesson.  We HAD talked about it.  She had initially had to be convinced to try it out. Once she had agreed I did discuss with her what she will be like when she gets there.  We weren’t pushy, but we told her why we thought she’d enjoy it and encouraged her by reminding her how good at swing ball she is.  I then reminded her, that her friend would be there and there will be children of lots of different ages and abilities. I said I know she’ll want me nearby and I would be staying with her the whole time and she needn’t be clingy. I tried to mitigate her lack of confidence.

A few days beforehand at bedtime I told her I was taking time off work to take her and that I hoped she wouldn’t getting worried about going or change her mind when we got there.  She told me that she would be brave and wouldn’t get clingy or cry.

Well, the promises of a 5 year old hold little weight I’m afraid.  She was fine when we first arrived but the minute we got on the court she clung to my leg and cried and cried and cried.  Nothing could convince her to let go or take part in any of the activities.  She kept crying and eventually after 20 very LONG minutes, I took her back to the car and drove her home.

I was fuming!!!  I was so cross I could barely put my thoughts into words.  We drove back in silence.

Now, before you start thinking I’m the cruellest mother ever, it’s one thing for me to have a few hours of contemplation of events and quite another when it’s happening right there in front of you.  An hysterical girl, a trainer who is trying his best to get her to play, a woman in high heels (me) attempting to “join in” to convince her child, all the other mums OUTSIDE the court sitting down watching their children follow instructions, the £27 cheque, the time off work.  I was massively embarrassed and I am positive that any one else in my position would have been as well.  It’s hard not to be cross.  Irrationally I wanted her to be just like the other children and just get on with it.  The trouble is she isn’t one of the other children, she’s my child and she’s different. The sensible adult in me knows you should “feel the fear and do it anyway” but that’s a big old jump for a 5 year old who just wants “to go home”.

I was still angry when I got her back to the house and left her with her grandma and brother and got back into the car to go to work.  Being left alone for 45 minutes for my journey to work I dwelled on what had just happened.

Is she just lacking confidence? Is it just that she’s taken a bit of a knock since the accident?  Will this sit with her for the rest of her life so she’s always a bystander and never taking part?  Is there anything I can do now that can boost that confidence?

Then I thought about what I was like and realised I was no different. I don’t think there was any coincidence that my lack of out of school activities was probably linked to my general nervouseness in groups.  I’ve never been one to “muck in” and I have no idea why I thought my daughter would be any different.  I think I partly blamed my parents for not building my confidence and partly blamed the fact that I had a sister 18 months younger than me an therefore I never needed to find a playmate.  That is not the same for Pickle. Her brother is 3 years younger than her and it’s likely they’ll have less in common as they get older.

I’m not sure if there is something I should be doing here?  Do I gently and slowly find a way to encourage her to take part more often or do I accept that she is a bit of a wall flower and watch as she misses out on some wonderful experiences because of it?  I know I missed out on so many things because I couldn’t even speak to an adult and I really don’t want her to have the same issues.  Do I stop trying to book her into activities?  Do I decline party invites before she even knows about it because I can’t be dealing with the leg clinging and crying? Because even if she said she won’t I know there is an 80% chance she will.

Anyone with any advice on what I can do?