Last week I wrote about all the things I wish I had known when I entered college a million years ago. It got me thinking about how in the past 5 years since college I have become a different person. Shocker!

Many things about me have changed and most of them were great things. I’m more confident, honest, sarcastic, outgoing and good-looking. (Yes, I would like to believe I finally grew into my face, thank you very much!)

One thing that hasn’t changed about me is how I let the words and opinions of other people affect every part of me and shake my confidence to its very core.

When I was 16 someone told me I wasn’t a very good singer and that (insert name here) was WAY better than me… so I stopped singing for a time.

When I was 20 I had someone tell me that I wasn’t a good leader. So I quit things I loved out of feeling inadequate.

When I was 24 I failed at my first long-term relationship. I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. That still sits with me today.

Now, at 26 I am feeling inadequate because of someone’s opinion all over again.

But that’s just what all of the things that have affected me so deeply are… they are opinions, not fact. They are the thoughts of people who may feel insecure, or challenged by something in me. They are the opinions of my competition, not the people who are on my team.

Today I am finishing off all of my essays to submit for admission to grad school. To be honest, I am feeling more inadequate than I have ever felt before. I have let people’s opinions of my writing, and of my story affect my confidence in something I am very proud of. So perhaps, just this once, I will ignore the opinions and boldly exclaim that I can do all things.
I know who I am, where my failures have scarred me and how to overcome them. I am the hero of this story and it’s time for a new chapter.

(Huzzah!)