I could never be a surgeon. For a myriad of reasons, I would keep undertakers and funeral parlors in business if I was any kind of surgeon. Even if I was a foot surgeon I would have that hearse ready to roll out after I was done.
Grim, I know.
But I have this problem and I have had it forever:
I question nearly every decision I make.
Now, I’m not talking JUST Afghanistan. Trust me, I wonder if I made the decision about that all the time (but yesterday was a breakthrough. Stay tuned for that!)
Let me give you a fresh example. When I’m sitting in the DFAC, I will load up my tray. I’m doing my best to throw some healthy stuff up there, keep away from the bad stuff and sit down. (They have red, yellow and green cards that signify what’s good for you. SOLDIER! EAT FOUR GREENS EACH MEAL!) And I’ll of course have my earbuds in listening to a podcast. I have my Kindle in my pocket (I have BIG pockets.)
Then some guy will sit down with even a healthier meal and I’ll think I should have gotten that. Then another person will have a meal and I’ll think about all the bad decisions I made.
If I’m in a gym and I’m running, I’ll think I should be at the guy’s pace next to me whether it be slower or faster.
I’ll see someone lift weights and think I should do that instead of my kettlebell swings.
I should read that book, write that novel, own that shirt, learn that instrument, and it just goes on and on—it’s an endless chorus of “Not Good Enough”.
I wind up shoulding all over myself.
I will have a constant tape in my head that communicates that I just do not measure up, that I should be doing something different.
I did not grow up with the confidence that the decisions I make FOR me are the best decisions FOR me. I was taught that everyone else was an expert and I simply had to ask for advice and take it, regardless of what I thought. They knew better.
And by they, it meant everyone not me.
When I’m working with someone who has an overpowering confidence, I tend to crumble, I tend to default into the “they know more than I do”. I become quiet, my voice is soft, and I don’t challenge anyone—I don’t speak up.
But I think I as I approach 40, this has to somehow end. I have to work on having the confidence to move forward and be able to let criticism happen, not letting it cripple me.
I’m just not sure where to find it.
I’m not sure how to unwind the damage and repair it. How do you step forward? How do I keep my emotional side, the “feeler” in me and also have that confidence when people try to shut this little guy down.
No idea. But I’m going to take it as a matter of prayer and as I work through the Psalms, I’m going to focus on that for awhile.
Since you’ve made it thus far, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I was talking to the chaplain about my experience helping parents get their students ready for college. He wants me to put on a presentation about it and not only that, but wants me to build a curriculum and perhaps the military will buy it. What. Up.
(Spoiler: the military has money to spend.)
So I’m going to spend the next two months putting that together and helping military get their kids ready for college. I’m putting together a little booklet, some training materials and we’ll see where that goes. Maybe my career will be going from base to base to train military back home.
But it was the way the chaplain said it to me, how he encouraged me. It’s like he imbued this confidence in me, this willingness to jump into this project that I know nothing about producing (content: all night, production: not much.)
I just don’t want to get to the end of my days, or even 50 for that matter and still be this scared 11 year old who doesn’t want to play kickball cause of what happened last time. I don’t want to question every decision I make, the small ones or big ones. I want to walk with a stride not a hunch, speak with authority, not with a whimper.
If I don’t learn that here in Afghanistan, where it’s harsh every day, where will I learn it?