“Too often, we rate our own capabilities lower than their real value in spite of proof to the contrary, our accumulated know-how, and other people’s praise.” Gwen Tuinman
Gwen Tuinman, author of The Last Hoffman, is a writer fascinated by the landscape of human tenacity, and telling stories about people navigating the social restrictions of their era. Today Gwen talks about something we all struggle with, especially creators—Confidence.
“If you don’t understand how valuable you are, you will always accept what is given to you.” These are the words of Celina Caesar-Chavannes from her book Can You Hear Me Now?
The sky opened up when first I read them. Her next thought aims straight at us. “We (meaning women in particular) are often humble people who find quantifying our skills and experience—our worth–daunting.”
As far back as grade school, I remember side stepping the ball so someone else could have a go. I was too afraid to kick and miss. So many times since, I’ve likewise avoided social situations that may require me to offer an opinion. Admittedly not a newspaper reader, I’m not equipped to weigh in with fact-based commentary about politics or economics.
As I mature, I realize, my wisdom lies in other areas. I have different skills to offer—introspection, imagining, reflection, writing stories that explore our humanity. Even if I did none of these things, I’d still have worth. The story I tell myself has changed. Visit Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences to see your own brand of brilliance if it’s in question.
Too often, we rate our own capabilities lower than their real value in spite of proof to the contrary, our accumulated know-how, and other people’s praise. Confidence is important to seeing our value. Like Louisa Jewell, author of Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt, “I do not pretend to be the most confident person in the world. I believe that achieving confidence is not a one-time thing. As you go after a bigger life, your confidence will be challenged.”
Sometimes when I approach a task, anxiety brings me to a skidding halt. What if I kick and miss? By doing the work of mastering self-doubt on a series of smaller tasks and interactions, the blinders have fallen away and I see my value as a writer and human being more clearly. The little victories do add up.
Gwen Tuinman is the author of The Last Hoffman, a story of family secrets and found courage in a floundering papermill town. Fascinated by the landscape of human tenacity, she tells stories about people navigating the social restrictions of their bygone era. Gwen’s fiction and nonfiction works have been published in Wunderlit Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and online. She writes about Canadian history, introspection, and her writing life at GwenTuinman.com.